How the Net works

Business networking in Tunbridge Wells redefined

The Net is different. From this website to the way we run our networking meetings, we have challenged the accepted form of business networking and turned it into something more appropriate, accessible and cost-effective for the average small to medium sized business in Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding areas.

The whole ethos of the Net is to make business networking easier and simpler - with a focus on connecting people and businesses in a friendly non-formal environment.

Business networking for business - simple

The Net's focus is on providing a forum for businesses to network with each other. Whilst we have some structure, we have tried to keep the Net as simple as possible to allow our members to use our meetings to network with one another and build strong long lasting business relationships.

To become a member, all you have to do is setup a standing order - to cover the cost of our meetings. That's it, there's no registration fee, no form filling, nothing else.

Business networking - our meetings:

A typical business networking meeting of the Net will generally follow this structure:

  • 06.45 - coffee and networking. Members use the time before breakfast to catch up with each other and network amongst the group
  • 07:30 - breakfast and introductions. Over breakfast, each member takes it in turn to speak to the group for a minute. This is their time, and they can speak about anything they want, from what leads / referrals they're after, about their business, or their latest news
  • 08:00 – 10 minute speaker slot. One member from the group has the opportunity to talk more about themselves and/or their business
  • 08:15 – referrals and recommendations.

It's as simple as that.

Whilst we encourage members to provide referrals to each other (we even provide referral slips), there is no pressure to do so.

The Net Online...

Signed up members also get the benefit of a biweekly eNewsletter, and the opportunity to have a full listing page dedicated to them on this website.

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.