How to network to boost your business in 2023
The New Year brings new networking opportunities and we can’t wait to get out there again. Georgina’s first event of the year will be the Costa Women’s “Back to Business” networking at the Food Room in Guadalmina on the 25th of January. These are always excellent events, and she is looking forward to catching up with old friends and making new contacts there.
We know that networking is a fantastic promotional tool and would definitely encourage you to add it into your promotional mix this year. However, some people can feel shy, or worried about it, and can make mistakes so it doesn’t work for them as much as it should.
If you’re new to networking, but want to get out there in 2023, here are some of our tips for making it work for your business –
- Start Strong & Be Everywhere
When you first move to a new area or start a new business, do some research and find the highest profile networking organizations, express your interest to the organizers and go to a wide variety of events. You can always go to one meeting without joining, so we advise you to try them all and find out what groups, formats, times and locations best suit you. If you can go to one meeting per week for the first few months, you will build a strong presence quickly, meet people several times (which inspires trust) and feel more confident about networking. It will give people the impression you are serious and committed and they can learn about your business several times in a short period and get many people talking about you right away.
- Be Consistent
Once you’ve established yourself, make a commitment to network regularly, even if you’re getting busy. Networking is a slow burn activity and each time you attend a meeting, you receive more trust and credibility, so don’t give up or take a long break, certainly not for at least a year!
- Supplement online with offline networking
No matter how regularly you actually attend meetings, you can grow your presence and support any face-to-face networking with online networking via Facebook, LinkedIn and sites such as Costa Women. You can learn about people, join groups of people with similar interests, reach out to good prospects and create a relationship online which can then be reinforced in person, so it’s a great tool.
- Don’t forget your cards
This is a cardinal sin (pun intended) and a real waste of an opportunity! You must have something with you; a flyer, info sheet or card to give them to people, this is a mainstay of networking and vital. Business cards can be made and printed cheaply via online providers such as Vistaprint, or local printers like Digiprint in Estepona and must be considered as an essential marketing tool for all business people.
- Listen, help and make true connections
Good networkers are generous with their time, advice and support and listen to what their connections are saying. When you find out what people need and offer suggestions or agree to put them in touch with someone who can help them you really stand out from the crowd and will make positive and strong long term connections that will benefit everyone. Networking is not the place for the hard sell!
One of the most important but most neglected aspects of networking is the follow-up. After you have met someone at a meeting, log their details into your database and send them an email (personal if possible) to say hello, remind them what you do, offer help and say you look forward to meeting them again. If they were a particularly interesting lead, arrange a follow up meeting with them, and add everyone to your database to be mailed regularly so they are not lost.
Networking is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your business, so get out there and make new contacts, meet new clients and find out how you can collaborate with other businesses.
Costa del Sol Networking and Business Groups
Here are some of the great networking groups running meetings on the Costa del Sol. Please comment on this post if there’s any we’ve missed that you think we should check out!
Organised by financial advisor Jeremy Ferguson, these events were always a sell-out and we’ve found them very beneficial. They stopped because of COVID, but are finally planning to return in 2023, so watch this space.
Sam Campbell organizes regular meetings of this long-standing networking group in Mijas and Marbella and many of our clients have found being members very beneficial.
Ali Meehan set up Costa Women in 2010 to create a space for Women and provide a connection point to make new friends as well as get real life, essential tips and advice about life in sunny Spain. They have lots of social and business networking sessions online and in person and we’ve found it a very beneficial group, personally and professionally.
This is a very important Spanish speaking networking group, which holds regular networking events and offers other benefits to its members. It’s an excellent tool to build your Spanish speaking network in Marbella and test whether your product or service is of interest in the Spanish community.
REM stands for the Red de Emprendadoras Marbella and is a highly popular Spanish speaking Women’s Group which holds regular events in Marbella, Estepona and the Campo de Gibraltar.
This is a Dutch speaking associatoon for business women Marbella where Georgina was invited to give a speech. They organise regular seminars, networking events and social actitivies to bring together the Dutch community.
This is another Spanish speaking women’s business club that organises events, as well as supporting its members to grow their business. This networking group that comes very highly recommended by our colleague Teresa Floro and one we will be checking out ourselves in 2023.
This is another group that we’ve been recommended, but haven’t made it to as yet, but they host monthly networking meetings in San Pedro and Marbella
This organization’s aim is to promote commercial activity between British and Spanish companies. There is an Andalucian branch of the organization which holds regular networking events, seminars, webinars, conferences and leadership meetings, as well as supporting their members through the British Chamber network at large.
We’re not golfers, but hear that if you are and want to do business, Fore Business is an excellent tool. They play at the beginning of each month at the Los Arqueros Golf & Country Club and lots of good networking takes place before, during and after.
Networking Costa del Sol
Javier Sancho organizes very well attended networking events around the Marbella area and has a very active WhatsApp group where people share what they need, make recommendations and promote their businesses and events. There are some international members, but it is predominantly Spanish speaking. It doesn’t seem like there’s a website, but their next event is the 3rd of February at Boho Club Marbella.
We’re sure to have missed some, so please comment below or email us at email@example.com and we’ll add you to the list.
We hope this article has helped to inspire you to get out there and network this year and we hope to see you about and about in 2023. Happy networking!