Sussex Business Networking – Does it work for Mike Flannery at Foresight Risk Management?
Date: 5 February 2015
Emma Pearce interviews Mike Flannery from Foresight Risk Management (www.frm.co.uk) about the advantages of networking in Sussex and how it has helped in his area of business.
(This is part 3 of a series of 4 interviews in Emma’s monthly networking column in the Platinum Business Magazine).
Emma: What networks do you attend?
Mike: I used to do a lot of networking events. Now I’m much more choosy. I want to know what sort of people and what organisations are going to be attending. I also like to know how long it has been going for. I regularly attend the Sussex Enterprise Construction forum. This is sector specific and attracts attendees from all over the South of England. I also like Business Cornerstones because it is all B2B and the members are from a wider area across Sussex.
Emma: How important is networking in your marketing? What are your objectives for networking?
Mike: It is my primary method of marketing. I have not yet got a website up and don’t advertise elsewhere. It does work remarkably well.
Emma: Do you utilise other marketing opportunities via the networks you attend?
Mike: I do give presentations to a wide variety of groups. My specialism is industry wide in its application so I do get asked to present to a fairly wide variety of bodies. I’m happy to present or speak ad-hoc on my subject and that can be useful. I have done some very low level sponsorship.
Emma: Do you prefer a particular format of networking event? (eg lock-outs and structured meetings vs mingling and chatting?)
Mike: I like the lock-out format since you can build strong relationships, but I still get great value from industry-specific events where I am a speaker or do more open networking with people in that sector.
Emma: What success do you have with networking? How long did it take to get benefits from it? Any top tips?
Mike: Almost all of my business derives from network-based contacts. The benefits can take time as mine is a big-ticket purchase. A recommendation of any value only comes when some level of respect and relationship has been achieved. So it’s an investment in planting and tending an orchard rather than picking ripe fruit. Timescales are similar.
Emma: Any other bonus benefits of networking?
Mike: I have established a terrific network of experts I can call on for advice or to recommend someone onto. This is tremendously valuable.
Has networking worked for you? I’d love to hear via the comments box below or please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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