It has been a very busy time for me since my last newsletter with the launch of our new Farnborough Networking group and our collaborative networking event at The Lismoyne where 81 people came along for a BBQ and lots of networking – it was a really great evening though very busy!

Both of these events only came about because of collaborations between different people / businesses. Seven different local networking groups came together for The Lismoyne event and Farnborough Networking is being run by a team of six of us.

Working collaboratively with other people / businesses brings many benefits:

• Generate lots of ideas

• Share knowledge and experience

• Have access to a wider range of skills / expertise

• Get things done faster and more effectively

… and collaborations can work well for our “proper” businesses too.

• Is there another business that targets the same customer base as you whose products / services are complementary to yours – are there any joint marketing opportunities?

• Or perhaps there is another business that is looking to invest in a new system or service at the same time as you – perhaps a new online accounting package. I am sure an afternoon spent over a cup of coffee just talking about your respective requirements and sharing knowledge about systems you have already evaluated would be really helpful to both of you.

• How often do you meet up with your suppliers and discuss a) how you work together – could this be improved from a practical viewpoint and b) find out what other services they can offer you – yes I have heard of people changing suppliers for a new service only to discover their original supplier offered it too!

• Is there another non-competing business who has a similar problem – maybe a practical issue like needing more office space – can you work together to find a solution (e.g. share an office)?

• …and of course just getting together with people who know you and your business to talk about issues you face and your ideas can be really useful – but then of course that is what business networking is all about – collaborations.

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