THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Innovation and enterprise blog

25 October 2019

Start-up Day 2019 – How to use your networks to build your business

Start-up Day promo banner

Do you use networks in your business life? Do you struggle to see how they can help you? Or do you dread the prospect of networking? Or you might be a seasoned pro at working the room at any event and love meeting new people. Regardless of your outlook, effective networking is one of the keys to building a successful business. At our Start-up Day talk, How to use your networks to build your business, we heard from some of the businesses who have perfected their technique.

Panel on the stage at Start-up Day

Alison Cork, founder of Make it Your Business and Alison at Home, thought her business journey had been quite slow as when she first started her career, “there were no networks [30 years ago]. When I started out there were less than a handful of female role models” Alison thinks if she had had networks sooner, she wouldn’t have felt so lonely, “my business journey has been very slow, full of ups and downs. It was very lonely at times. Networks can help in that respect.”

Alison also highlighted that 1 in 5 businesses are owned or run by women, reasons for the low number included lack of networking, role models and confidence. By finding a network you are comfortable in, you can overcome these barriers.

An important thing to remember with networks, which Ken Davey, founder and managing director of the Smarter Group of Companies™, emphasised, was that “networks are not static, they are real people and relationships. The better the relationships, the more you get out of it.”

If you are looking for something specific from your network, think about your goals and how networking can help with those. For Naudia, founder of We Drifters, she made connections with founders one step ahead of her to get specific advice, ready for her next steps. After attending a session at the Business & IP Centre, she was able to meet people from all different sectors, who she could gain knowledge from and learn about their experiences.

To see the full talk and find about more about how networks can benefit your business, watch our video below: