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EVOLVE: Network or Bust Workshop - APR 2015

Greetings all, welcome to my blog on Inspirational and Motivational Business events aimed at entrepreneurs, start ups and small businesses. My name's Tendai and here at Quest4Success I will be sharing some inspirational and motivational blogs on the many events I attend throughout London.

Another great event, this time it was the EVOLVE: Network or Bust Business Booster Workshop which took place at The Royal Bank of Scotland in Bishopsgate on Monday 22nd April, 2015.

The event was hosted by Sonia Brown MBE (Founder of the NBWN, Let’s Talk Business Networking Forum and Sista talk; the UK’s leading online forum for women looking to connect with leading companies, decision makers and industry peers) and Nick Howe, Regional Enterprise Manager at NatWest.

Evolve run a series of workshops ranging from Social Media sessions to Networking sessions to bring together a diverse range of business owners to share their knowledge, skills and aspirations to bring mutual benefit. This EVOLVE Network or Bust business booster session provided a one stop solution for the time strapped micropreneur, homeworker, consultant and business owner looking to effectively communicate, negotiate and open up new ideas and approaches to expand their marketing, sales and digital knowledge.

The event started promptly at 6pm and we were ushered up to the networking room, already set out in typical networking style (ie forward facing chairs side by side to facilitate network speed dating) and welcomed by Sonia Brown MBE.

She introduced the EVOLVE concept to us – The Network or Bust workshop is a taster session aimed at boosting the network skills of business owners, professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs. She highlighted some obvious and not so obvious do’s and don’ts, teaching us simple tips and strategies to overcome the fears and doubts that arise whilst in a networking situation.

Sonia reminded us to always adopt a giving attitude.

  • What can I do for you?

  • How can I help you?

  • Respond to people (email/phone call) after meeting them

  • Follow up!

And also to network with a purpose! All to often we can attend these events, networking or otherwise, without a clear purpose of why we are even there. Some people see the words FREE and run from event to event with no true vision on why they are attending. Maybe it’s the host, the venue location, the food & drink? Time is money so it’s important to invest in your time and the activities you partake in wisely wouldn’t you agree? Sonia drilled home the message to network for 1 of 3 reasons:

  • For an idea

  • For your business

  • For your/a brand

She then provided us with a Networking Architecture to use as a guideline ahead of our Speed Networking sessions. I was swift enough to note these all down. If you’re keen on obtaining a copy of the Networking Architecture Guideline, then please contact Sonia direct and she MAY just provide you with them….

We were then introduced to Nick Howe, the Regional Enterprise Manager at Natwest Business Banking, who talked us through a typical day in his role – which was far from typical.

Nick reiterated the purpose of networking and provided us with stats for networking, namely, it can take a typical 7 touches (form of contact) before a sale/business is made!! All too often we go in to conversation and upon discovering we can help someone ie make a sale, we assume it will be done immediately! In some cases it is as easy as that, but on average, it can take 7 forms of contact before this happens.

Nick talked us through a simple flow chart from business to customer, emphasising how important it was to have a typical profile of your ideal customer – Major companies have their ideal customers and they market themselves according to that customers wants and needs so it’s important we do the same.

This provided us with the necessary tools speed network as Sonia and Nick announced Ready, Set, GO!

We were left to our devices to then Network or Bust! The rules were simple. We moved methodically from one business prospect to the next, pitching our business and getting acquainted for just 3 minutes at a time. At the end or during the interaction, we were to exchange business cards (for those of us that had them – thank God for MOO and their swift delivery of my cards) to ensure the magic continues well after the event.

I’ve never been Speed Dating but I’m guessing it is pretty similar to what I experienced here at Evolve It was pretty full on, we were face:face with one another and space was pretty limited but the buzz throughout the room was electrifying and we could barely hear each other talk as USPs and Elevator Pitches were thrown around the room by all attendees wooing our listeners and potential customers with our ‘story’. It was a bad case of musical chairs initially as row B forgot their left to their right but we soon got the swing of it all and the more people we spoke to, the more you honed your conversations and the more people you wanted to speak too.

I networked with a range of people including a Tax Consultant, Corporate Events Photographer, IT Consultant, Skincare Consultant, Accountant, Public speaker Trainer and a Sales Trainer and received several invites for yet more networking events which I look forward to attending in the upcoming weeks.

I had the fortunate opportunity to speed network with the host Sonia and I got some fantastic and invaluable tips from her during our brief liaison.

60 minutes flew by and before we knew it, it was 8pm and time to end the speed networking and feedback our discoveries amongst one another. We each delivered one significant finding whilst networking with one another and for me it was “To be the solution…..”

The evening went by so quickly – as they say “Time flies when you’re having fun!” and before we knew it, it was over. My 2nd speed networking event in the past few days and certainly not my last.

So having done 1 of 7 EVOLVE sessions, I am looking forward to the upcoming ones – 1 down 6 to go….. Perhaps I’ll see you there?

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