Q. How beneficial is networking?

A. Networking varies from useful to vital, depending on the type of business you run.

For many small businesses it is often the case that business introduced through networking and referrals makes up the majority of their income.

But the word ‘networking’ means different things to different people.

At its simplest level, networking is about using the relationships you have built as a vital source of business. For many small businesses this happens all the time.

In fact, many businesses would admit that the majority of their leads and income comes from referrals. Of course, this is often the best type of business because it is seen to be something of a recommendation. Most people when ‘shopping around’ for products and services of which they have little knowledge are more inclined to follow a recommendation.

For many people, ‘networking’ conjures images of groups of business people meeting at inconvenient times of the day and delivering presentations about their business.

Of course, networking groups do exist, but it would be wrong to tar them all with the same brush.

There are many networking groups around.

Some have very prescriptive processes and structure, whilst others are incredibly relaxed. Of course, there are more that fall somewhere in between.

The truth is that any networking group is only as good as its members.

Irrespective of prescription the key to an effective networking group is the willingness of its members to help one another – the name above the door is of far less importance.

If you are looking to join a group to improve your referral marketing, take the time to attend a few and find the one who’s members want to help your business.

Paul Heath, Ethical Business Mentoring Ltd


07496 833803