Here at Get Ahead VA we have experts in a huge variety of fields. From Accounting to Admin, Hootsuite to Holiday cover, Email Marketing to Excel, our experts can add value to many aspects of your business.
In a new series our VAs are delivering some of this expertise to you, with a series of ‘How to’ guides to help you get the best ‘bang for your buck’ in your business.
In this first guide our Networking expert (and Get Ahead VA founder) Rebecca Newenham talks about how to evaluate your investment in Business Networking to ensure it is delivering value for your business.
“Networking is fundamentally a sales prospecting tool for your business. You usually attend networking events to meet prospective new customers, although networking can deliver a lot more than that. Meeting new suppliers as well as building up a support network (and even friendships) for your business are also all important aspects of networking. However Networking does take an investment of your time – and time costs money. Networking events or clubs can also be quite expensive to attend or become members of and as with any investment in your business you need to ensure you regularly review whether that investment is paying off or not.
If you haven’t evaluated your networking for a while then I recommend following the following 5 steps:
- Complete an audit. Write a list of every single networking event you have attended in the past 3 months, including the location and costs for attending (be it mileage, parking or attendance fees) and how long on average you spend attending the meeting (including travelling time). Expand the timeframe to 6 or 12 months if it is more appropriate for your business. You might be surprised just how the cost and time of networking can add up.
- Consider your objectives for attending networking events. Is it to gain new customers? If so how many and by when? All objectives should be SMART where possible.
- Compare your performance to your objectives. How many new clients have you gained over the time period and from which networking meetings? What was the value of that business? Sometimes a networking event may only yield one client, but it may be of greater value than many other smaller customers added together.
- Consider the merits of each networking event. Do you attend regularly? How long have you been attending for? If you haven’t made any successful sales from it yet, are the attendees the kind of people that are likely to becomes sales in the future? Do you enjoy attending the event or not? It can be ok to attend an event just because you enjoy it, as long as you recognise that! Ensuring that you understand how and why you are using your resources of time and money will ensure you don’t waste either.
- Compare against alternatives. Are there other networking meetings that you don’t currently attend that may be more beneficial? Are there other sales and marketing initiatives such as a PR campaign, customer discount or mail shot which may be just as effective? Networking might seem like something you have just always done, but you shouldn’t take that investment for granted.
Once you have completed this analysis you will have a clear view of whether your business networking is paying off or not, and what you need to do in the future to ensure you really get the best ‘bang for your buck’ from Business Networking.
If you are still unsure about where to start with developing and evaluating your business then Rebecca and the rest of our highly experienced VAs are here to help.
Please get in touch on 01483 332220 or email us at email@example.com. We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.