Frequently Asked Questions

Business networking in Tunbridge Wells redefined

Welcome to our FAQ page. We're assuming that as you are visiting this page you are interested in joining the Net, and therefore we have compiled the following list of the most common (and some uncommon) questions that we have been asked.

If you can't find the answer to what you are looking for, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us, we would be delighted to hear from you.

What is the Net?

The Net is a business networking group based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. We provide a forum for businesses to network cost-effectively with each other without any of the hassle and cost associated with many other "business networking groups".

We have no registration fees, no ongoing memberships costs and the minimum of administration. The only thing we ask of our members is to cover the cost of our meetings.

Please see our "How it Works" page for further information on how the net works

When does the Net meet?

The Net meets twice a month on Friday for Breakfast from 06:45 to 8:30 in Tunbridge Wells.

Many of our members stay behind after the meeting to follow up leads and network more.

Upcoming meeting dates are:

  • 14 October 2016
  • 28 October 2016
  • 11 November 2016
  • 25 November 2016
  • 9 December 2016
  • 23 December 2016
  • 13 January 2017
  • 27 January 2017
  • 10 February 2017
  • 24 February 2017
  • 7 April 2017
  • 28 April 2017
  • 12 May 2017
  • 26 May 2017
  • 9 June 2017
  • 23 June 2017
  • 14 July 2017
  • 28 July 2017
  • 11 August 2017
  • 25 August 2017
  • 8 September 2017
  • 22 September 2017
  • 13 October 2017
  • 27 October 2017
  • 10 November 2017
  • 24 November 2017
  • 8 December 2017
  • 22 December 2017

How much does it cost to join?

Unlike other business networking groups, the Net has a very simple membership fee structure.

Basically, we don't charge anything for membership. There is no joining fee and no ongoing membership fees. All we ask of our members is that they cover the costs of our biweekly networking meetings in Tunbridge Wells.

We ask our members to set this up via Standing Order, in order to simplify administration and reduce costs, and by doing so, they also make their business sector exclusive to them and they get listed on the Net's website as a member.

Our current fees are:

  • Standing Order: £30:00 per month (£15 per meeting)
  • Cash or cheque: £20.00 per meeting

How do I join the Net?

Joining the Net, like everything about the Net, is simple.

Firstly, we suggest you come along to one of our meetings as a guest so you can get a feel of whether the Net is for you (we think it will be). Then it's simply a case of setting up a standing order to confirm your membership.

Unfortunately, we will have to charge you for breakfast though.

The only restrictions on membership that we have are that we only accept one member from each business sector, and that member's businesses must target the Tunbridge Wells area.

Who can join the Net?

In a word, anyone.

Well almost, we only place two restrictions on membership of the Net. Firstly, the Net's membership will only have one member per distinct business sector, if your business sector is already represented - unfortunately we cannot accept your membership. And, secondly, member's businesses must target the Tunbridge Wells area - after all we are a Tunbridge Wells based networking group.

Find out more about joining the Net and our current list of members using the links below:

Do I have to bring a lead or referral to each meeting?

Some other business networking groups insist that each member bring referrals and leads to each meeting.

We don't.

We don't place any requirements on our members to produce leads or referrals and we don't put any pressure on any of our members to do so. Our emphasis is on creating a great environment for businesses to network together without any undue pressure of whatever sort.

We don't keep lists of who has referred business or not. We are simply here to help businesses in Tunbridge Wells network with each other.

What do I have to do in each meeting?

All we ask our members to do is a one minute presentation (informally whilst we are having our breakfast), detailing who and what they are and what they are after in terms of leads or referrals from other members (other members need to know what you do and what you're after in order to help you).

It's a maximum of a minute - not a minimum. So if you only want to do a quick ten seconds, that alright with us.

Off course, standing up in front of a room full of strangers can seem daunting to some - especially those who haven't done public speaking before. In which case, one of the organisers will more than happily help you out.

What preparation do I have to do before each meeting?

In a word - none.

This is very much up to the members themselves to decide on. Some of our members do prepare presentations beforehand. But there is absolutely no pressure from the Net for you to do so.

However, we would say that business networking is all about effort in - results out. So if you do take the time to prepare for a meeting, then that meeting is likely to be more successful for you and your business.

What do I need to bring to a meeting?

The minimum requirement would be yourself.

However, we would also suggest that you bring a plentiful supply of business cards / flyers and any other promotional material that you may have - so you can distribute them to members.

Other than that, it's up to you.

How do I get listed on the Net's website?

Once you have set up a Standing Order for your membership (which covers the cost of venue hire and breakfast) your business name, business sector and contact details are listed on the members page.

If you would like a dedicated profile page for your business - which can go into a lot more detail promoting your business, your services, your target market as well as pictures, downloads and multiple links then this is an additional cost starting from £80 (in order to cover our costs).

The profile pages on our website are Search Engine Optimised for specific business sectors in Tunbridge Wells, and despite representing good value in their own right, they also represent a lot of value for businesses for their SEO value alone.

I love the website - how can I get one like it?

Easily.

Just get in touch with Hot Lemon - who designed and built this site - and they will be more than happy to help you get a website that both stands out from the crowd and can be an asset to your business.

Networking tips:

  • Try before you buy...

    Not all business networking groups are the same. Some are more formal than others, some are more structured.

    It’s important that you find the right style of networking that suits you the best, and also a networking group that can relate to and get along with. So before you jump in the deep-end, try a couple of groups out to see which one suits you.

    The Net - more networking - less formality

    For example, the Net is relatively informal. The organisers felt that many other business networking events placed too great an emphasis on structure and not enough on the actual networking side itself –hence the Net was born.

  • Don’t sell

    Business networking isn’t about selling – that’s what you do with customers and clients. Networking is all about building and developing relationships with people that can potentially benefit your business by recommending you to their contacts and customers.

    Marketing your business

    Word of mouth advertising – being recommended – is the most powerful and cost-effective form of marketing there is. Use networking events to build a network of people that will be happy to recommend you in this way.

    Use networking events to teach people about who and what you are, as a person as well as a business, build relationships and be clear and consistent on what you are looking for in terms of leads.

    Remember, people buy people first.

  • Be genuine, be yourself

    Networking is all about building trust with other, similar like minded business people. In order to build trust, be genuine.

    Trying to be something you’re not won’t last forever, and when people find out, in quite simple terms, they won’t trust you as much. Use networking to build your own personal brand of trust and integrity – so that your fellow networkers can come to trust you.

    Build trust - build value

    If you’re a person they can trust personally, then they will trust you professionally.

  • Be a giver – not a taker

    Remember, networking is all about developing long term relationships. Trying to reap the rewards of networking in the initial stages will make you seem like a taker – and no one like a taker.

    Instead, give

    Give people leads, or introductions. Help people at events, give testimonials, give advice freely (if it’s wanted that is).

    By giving, you will build your own personal brand as someone who is trustworthy and integral – someone people can do business with.

    By giving you build your social capital within the network, which longer term, will reap rewards.

  • Follow up

    After networking, spend some time following up the contacts you have made at the event.

    This benefits you in two ways. Firstly, it help builds the relationship you have initiated (by following up on subjects discussed or just to say thanks for something, you are more likely to be remembered), and secondly, it demonstrates your professionalism and your intent on networking effectively.

    Stand out from the crowd

    The actual attending of a networking event is arguably the easy part. It’s the following up that many people find hard. By following up your contacts you can stand out from the crowd as being someone who goes the extra mile.

  • Failing to plan, is planning to fail

    Before you attend any networking event, develop a series of objectives and a plan to attain those objectives.

    Set goals and objectives

    Know before you go to the event what you want out of it, for example; Do you want to get to know two or three people really well? Do you want to talk to one person in particular? What type of leads or introductions are you after.

    If you have an objective and a plan for your networking, it’s easier to stay focussed.