Business networking is a key activity for many successful businesses, be it online or face to face.  By dedicating some regular time to networking with the local business community, it gives you the chance to build contacts, share experiences and ideas as well as learn something new to help your business and boost your own business profile.

At Venture House we understand the benefits of networking … which is why we’ve created a list of all the local groups we can find. Please let us know if you have any information that can help us keep this list up-to-date.

If you’re looking for Donut Time, our own free networking event designed especially for small and new businesses, we have sadly had to temporarily suspended these monthly meetups until the Centre fully reopens. To stay informed about future Donut Time events, sign up to our monthly e-updates at

…New to networking?

If the idea of walking into a room full of strangers fills you with horror, don’t worry – we’ve all been in that position at some point and you can’t generally meet much friendlier folk than at a networking event! Here’s a few tips to get you started:

  1. Smile, use a nice firm handshake, be genuine and enthusiastic. Look people in the eye and use their name, it might help you remember it!
  2. If you find yourself on your own or when you first arrive, you might like to join a group of three people, as there’s always one in the group who will be less engaged in their  conversation and will welcome you in.
  3. Ask easy questions to get to know people and make sure you listen to their replies.
  4. Ditch the sales pitch and try to build relationships instead. Be fun, light and informal. People are more likely to do business with people whose company they enjoy.
  5. Sometimes it can help to wear something memorable e.g a bright colour to help people remember you.
  6. If a potential customer does ask you about your product/service then be ready with an easy description of what you do and how you may be able to help them. Don’t forget to ask them questions so that you can tailor your answer accordingly. If you’ve been in business a while, it may be useful to create a mental list beforehand of accomplishments, projects and clients that you have worked with. If you’re new in business, be honest and convey your skills and experience to date.
  7. Have some business cards or leaflets available to hand out if appropriate.
  8. Make notes during the event if you can to remind yourself of the conversations you’ve had and ways in which you might be able to help people. Scribble on their business card so you don’t get people muddled up.
  9. After the event follow up any contacts you have made, either by phone, email or social media. Use it to continue the conversation or try to start a new one. Get in touch within 48 hours to show you’re interested and reference something you spoke of so that the contact remembers you.
  10. Even if it didn’t appear useful, go back to the same event again. Visiting a networking group as a one-off is as waste of time as you cannot expect to build a rapport with people based on one meeting.
  11. Experiment with new events and networks, try new pitches and branding, and offer new products/services. Use networking events to test new ideas and gather useful feedback. Don’t be afraid of criticism.