Your Definitive Guide to Business Networking in Hampshire
Whether you’re a start-up or an established company, networking is key to ensuring the continued growth and success of your business. Rather than think of this as entertaining the opposition, and closely guarding your strategies and hurdles, you need to be thinking the opposite. By sharing information and seeking advice, you’ll establish a strong local business network, improving your connections, gaining knowledge and learning about business opportunities. This advice can help you avoid pitfalls, raise your profile in the community, improve your skills and help boost your confidence, all of which will help you build and maintain a sustainable business.
Our SEO agency is based in Fleet, Hampshire, and we’ve greatly enjoyed forging strong links with local businesses; while our reach is global, these local contacts have proved immeasurably beneficial to our business. Not only have we been able to share advice and referrals, but we’ve built long-lasting friendships and it’s a great way to feel part of a business community.
When it comes to networking, you can never have too many good contacts. We’ve already written about Hampshire networking groups, but have so much to tell you we feel it warrants another post, with further information on what’s available in the region.
Here’s our top pick of business networking groups based in Hampshire:
Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Business Events
For the most extensive selection of networking events across the county, check out the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce events. From light and informal ‘Have your cake and eat it’ networking events held at hotels such as the Four Seasons in Dogmersfield to Pure Networking events across the county, the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce has something for every type of business owner. Some events are free to attend, while others require an attendance fee.
This is the world’s biggest networking organisation, and in order to join you’ll need a referral. By joining the BNI network, you’ll not only have the opportunity to increase your business prospects, but you’ll also gain access to specialist training programmes to hone your business skills as well as a range of tools to improve key skills such as public speaking. In order to ensure a local focus, the organisation is divided into Chapters, and there are several scattered across the county. To find one near you, visit BNI Hampshire.
Hampshire WIRE Network
This friendly networking group is for women in business and welcomes business owners who enjoy sharing ideas and building connections. The group meets regularly in the New Forest area. For more information, visit their website here.
Enterprise Connexions runs fortnightly breakfast meetings across Hampshire, London, Surrey and Sussex. These events are not only structured to help improve your business network, but also provide online marketing support. There’s usually a £15 fee to attend and you can book your place via Eventbrite. For the full list of events, click here.
The Athena Network
This is the leading international networking group dedicated to helping women in business. The Athena Network is a professional hub for both entrepreneurs and executives. Being part of this movement is all about growing your community, learning new skills through specialist training and helping ensure your business adapts and thrives. Within Hampshire, groups meet regularly in Basingstoke, Bordon, Petersfield and Fleet. For more information, visit the events section of their website.
4Networking hosts breakfast networking meetings at various locations in Basingstoke, Camberley, Fleet, Farnborough and Farnham. Come along and meet fellow business owners face to face, and learn about specialist subjects from guest speakers. To learn more about these events, go to 4Networking. There’s a membership fee to join, and a cash payment of £15 is payable for each event.
This is another Basingstoke based networking group that meets weekly to share ideas and build business connections. The group meets every Tuesday morning at 7.30am, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Basingstoke. To learn more, click here.
Poddi is an enthusiastic group that links up like-minded business owners, helping them share referrals and business opportunities are shared in a fun, relaxing atmosphere. The Poddi networking group meets every Friday at 7am at Haskins, West End. If you’re looking to become a member, fill in this application form and see how the group can help you achieve your business goals.
This private membership organisation combines dynamic local meetings with online networking. Aimed at all business types, from large corporations to SME’s, and charities to start-ups, these events aim to build business relationships and nurture business growth. Networking events are run by a local business owner (an Ambassador) for local businesses, so they’re really invested in achieving results. Within Hampshire, Farnborough Biscotti meets on the 4th Wednesday of each month at The Alexandra Pub. Tickets are priced at £10 per person. Join today and ‘do business over a biscotti!’
This business support group meets to connect like-minded B2B businesses, allowing them to share ideas, gain new business leads and discuss common business problems. The weekly breakfast meetings are held every Thursday morning at the North Hants Golf Club, in Fleet. Given the location, Fleet4Business is one of our favourites, obviously!
As well as these business networking events, you can expand your network by attending one of the county’s Business Expo events. While they may lack the informal and local nature of a networking group, they’re a fantastic opportunity to maximise the potential for your business.
If you’re interested in attending larger events, here are two for your calendar:
The Hampshire Business Show takes place annually in Southampton and has all the trimmings you’d expect from Hampshire’s largest B2B networking platform, including seminars, funding opportunities and keynote speakers. This event is free to attend, so definitely worth a trip to the coast! Southampton also hosts the county’s biggest business Expo.
The Southampton Business Expo is again free for attendees, you just need to register online. This event boasts business clinics, workshops, seminars, an extensive exhibition hall and presentations from keynote speakers, all of which will ensure you connect and collaborate with the best in your field.
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