On the first day of Freshmas, my networking group gave to me….
At this time of year our thoughts turn to gifts – choosing them, giving them, receiving them. Some of us are great at picking the perfect present, whilst others just buy boring socks – again!
At Fresh, our number one value is generosity, and we love to give gifts all year round. But this festive season, let’s remind ourselves of the 12 fantastic gifts that networking gives us over the ’12 days of Freshmas’ – and throughout the year.
1. Affordable and trackable marketing
Referral marketing is a key strategy for any small business. Not only is it one of the most affordable forms of marketing, but it also offers a very visible ROI – each time you win a piece of business from a Fresh referral, you can see that you are getting value from networking. What a gift!
Networking is all about relationships. Relationships are truly the gift that keeps on giving – once you have built that connection with someone, it can lead to business, mutual support, friendship, even love!
3. Becoming a go-to person
One of the best ways you can add more value to your clients is by being ‘someone who knows someone’. If you can help clients find the help they need, it builds your reputation and credibility, and makes your relationship with them very ‘sticky’.
Networking encourages you to develop new skills, sometimes you need to step outside your comfort zone and see that you can do more than you ever thought possible. We’ve had people who were super nervous about opening their mouths in public, now confidently running meetings or delivering a presentation. Confidence is the antidote to imposter syndrome, and is an awesome gift.
5. Professional development
There’s always something new to learn in business. Through the Fresh Academy and Fresh Bursts, Fresh helps you develop and hone skills that make you a better business person.
6. Community of business people
I love my friends, but they’re not all business owners. When I talk about business issues, I see their eyes glaze over. So that’s why it’s so valuable to have a community of people who understand your pain points and can offer support and advice. They also understand your successes, and are there to celebrate the wins with you.
7. Energy and fun
So many people tell me that they always walk away from a meeting with a buzz, and that Fresh peps up their day. We love giving the gift of positive vibes!
Referrals are gold in business. They are ‘warmer’ leads and have a much higher rate of conversion. When a fellow Freshie makes a referral to you, they are giving you a truly great gift.
9. Event management
Imagine having to run an event every fortnight. Sending out invitations, creating structured agendas, running special events like speed networking. Fresh does all this for you – we provide the platform and technology for meetings designed to get results. Being part of Fresh is like having your own events manager.
Networking is all about meeting new people, and at Fresh we invest in marketing that attracts 4000 visitors a year. Yes, 4000 people, and they all come along to meet you!
The opportunity to talk, the opportunity to network as widely as possible. Unlike some networking groups, guests have the same chance to speak as members, and fully participate in meetings. Our members can visit other hubs, giving them the gift of access to over 200 businesses.
Not everyone is a good candidate for networking, so we have a strict interview process to make sure that the people who join are going to be a great fit with our existing members. The fact that we turn down around 15% of all applications means that we give our members the gift of high quality networking connections.
There may be no gold rings, calling birds or partridges in pear trees at Fresh (not that I know of anyway), but you have to admit that our gifts are pretty spectacular. And unlike the gifts in the Christmas song, ours last all year.
So this Freshmas, do think about what networking gifts you can give – no bad socks please, just thoughtful, valued gifts, like bringing a guest, introducing someone to a great new connection, making a referral?
I wish you all a very happy and relaxing holiday and look forward to a 2023 full of the gifts of networking.