You’ll know if you’re an entrepreneur carving a path for themselves through the increasingly congested professional landscape that no man/woman is an island. You can’t simply rely on gusto and an abundant resource of product to get you to where you want to go. Networking groups can be that catalyst from taking your business from local storefront to successful chain. We earlier discussed The Secrets to Networking for Your Business here.
In this article, we’ll list some of the groups you may want to consider being a part of one of these networks as being an active member can lead to new business opportunities, sales, and investment. (Links to each – please click headings.)
Institute of Directors
We thought we’d start with the big one. The Institute of Directors or IOC is one of the most prestigious business networks in the UK. You must be a director to join the part (hence the name) and also have to pay £385 a year as well as a £220 joining fee. Obviously, you have to be accepted and it isn’t an organisation you can simply join, much like many of the older networking organisations in the United Kingdom.
This is a networking organisation which is mainly events-based and as such the pricing can vary because some events are more exclusive and valuable to members than others. Plenty of the events are free, though. The name comes because every event that they host is on the first Tuesday of every month. You can contact them on their website.
British Chambers of Commerce
Perhaps the oldest of all the networking groups within the UK, The British Chamber of Commerce is also arguably one of the most respected. The ‘chambers’ themselves as they are known are dotted around the UK and you would apply to join one individually. The fees to join vary as each chamber is accredited a certain degree of autonomy and so can set its own prices according to its leadership.
If you are accepted here you might feel as if you have been accepted into the secret upper echelons of society, or perhaps you have made enough money that you already feel you are there already. Either way with membership only granted to those with a £1 million turnover or higher, it’s sure that this is Britain’s most vetted networking group.
Students make up an increasingly large part of the population. A credit to how innovative our young people are is Enactus, a networking body dedicated to student entrepreneurs. Dubbed the largest student campus on earth and free to join, it’s definitely the first step for anyone currently in high education who also has a business brain on their shoulders.
Not all young people are press-ganged into going to university; in fact some would say that it’s better not to go in order to get a head start in your entrepreneurial career. The Elevation Network was originally set up as a charity to work with people aged 11-25 and they run events and educational programs for those who feel unrepresented in the labour market.