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Is Sir Alan Sugar Right?

  • Thread starter EmployEasily Legal Services
  • Start date
EmployEasily Legal Services

EmployEasily Legal Services

EmployEasily Legal Services
Is Lord Sugar behind the times or extremely switched on?

He was quoted in Wednesday's Telegraph as saying..."These (networking) events are money-making exercises and benefit one party and one party only: the organiser.".......so is Sir Alan way off this time or just saying what many SME onwers are thinking?

Read the full article here
 
G

Gouldie0

New Member
Is Lord Sugar behind the times or extremely switched on?

He was quoted in Wednesday's Telegraph as saying..."These (networking) events are money-making exercises and benefit one party and one party only: the organiser.".......so is Sir Alan way off this time or just saying what many SME onwers are thinking?

Read the full article here
I have to say I totally agree with him. I read the article and scanned through some of the comments left by the public. The type of man he is he's never going to please everybody but I think he has a point. I don't do a lot of networking, not in the way Lord Sugar describes but in other ways.

My main experience of this type of networking came at a BNI event, it was so scripted and to be perfectly honest I got a lot of attention and possible leads. However I'm not stupid, this was all an event for these guys to land a 'sale' on the pretence that referrals would happen and my business would grow. They were all interested in sales, referrals, highlighting how great they all were and generally schmoozing.

I'd rather spend my time working and developing my business organically and through my own clients / customers referrals to their friends, suppliers etc etc.

I guess these events suit some businesses and individuals but it isn't for me.

Kind Regards

Neil
 
EmployEasily Legal Services

EmployEasily Legal Services

EmployEasily Legal Services
My main experience of this type of networking came at a BNI event, it was so scripted and to be perfectly honest I got a lot of attention and possible leads. However I'm not stupid, this was all an event for these guys to land a 'sale' on the pretence that referrals would happen and my business would grow. They were all interested in sales, referrals, highlighting how great they all were and generally schmoozing.

Neil
Was this a visitor's day or a regular meeting Neil? In my experience, for many, especially those in your line of work, BNI works extremely well and generates lots of business for them.
 
stugster

stugster

Active Member
Verified Member
I think it really depends on how much you put into the networking events yourself which decides what you get back out it. If you go to one you've never been to before and expect to get a tonne of business from that one meet-up, then you're delusional.

If on the other hand you're happy to sacrifice one day a week for a year, you'll almost certainly make back the costs of attending those meetings the next year from people who want to do business with you because they know you.

There are loads of exceptions to the rule however. If you join a networking group that already has a well known, respected individual that works in the same industry as you, then obviously the members will likely chose them over you. Then again, they might be looking for a new person to send business to RATHER than them.

I've attended all sorts of networking events. There have been good and bad. The worst was "speed networking" where we sat in an array a bit like musical chairs, and had a minute each to talk about our business. I went home with 40 business cards, and in the morning, 40 spam emails all trying to push their services (I had absolutely no need for) down my throat.

Lastly, it also depends on what kind of business you're in! :)
 
frockery

frockery

New Member
I agree with Stu that you need to put something in to these meetings rather than ram your own business down other people's throats. I always treat people as people rather than prospects.

Although I acknowledge that they work for others, BNI and similar are the stuff of nightmares as far as I am concerned. My business is one which thrives on personal connections, utilising social media and retaining my existing happy customers.

Being quite long in the tooth (mature :)) I can smell networking desperation a mile off.

To be honest, I would no more work for Alan sanctimonious Sugar than stick pins in my eyes as I find him utterly objectionable. He wouldn't think much of me either, but frankly I don't give a damn.:001_tt2:
 
jimbairn

jimbairn

New Member
I'm afraid I've got jaded with networking recently. Too much of this happening:

 
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
I've attended many different networking events myself and completely appreciate the BNI story told by Neil and Alison. I attended a couple of different chapters but found the whole experience rather uncomfortable. I'm not saying every chapter is the same and i'm sure there are some good ones out there.

I've always approached networking with the intention of doing lots more listening than talking. I'm someone who takes their time to get to know people and that can sometimes cause issues particularly at certian types of networking events.

The type of business you are is very important in determining what type of events etc you should be looking to attend but you have to remember like most things that they are a slow burn and wont yield immediate results.

If I had a choice between attending a pure networking event and a business event that offered some training combined with some informal networking then I would always choose the latter. The sad thing is that these events dont really exist and I think people would get far more out of them than being in a room just chatting.

Just my 2p anyway :)
 
WebMedia

WebMedia

New Member
Like most things; it's horses for courses and a lot depends on your expectations.

If you expect to get a shedload of sales then as stugster points out you will likely be disappointed. He also points out that if you commit to it and go regularly then it just might pay off at some time in the future.

Business owners make the same mistake getting involved in social media; their expectation of both what it is and what they can expect to get from it. Too many assume all you have to do is just be there or regard it as another advertising medium.

Neither are and need commitment in time, effort and funds to fully benefit. In the case of networking I believe there is generally a £10/£15 cost for each meeting so the annual financial input could be £1000 including meeting, travel and other incidental costs.

The same applies to social media requiring input in terms of responding to tweets, commenting on blogs, maintaining a Facebook fan page; all of which has a cost to the business.

Not being a member of BNI don't know, but is it not the case that only one type of business member is allowed in each chapter which might improve the business opportunities from members and their referrals.

And, then there is opportunity cost. What alternatives are out there that £1000 could be spent on that might generate additional leads and potential sales?

---------------------------
Rob Willox
WebMedia | SEO & Conversion Optimisation
Website design Falkirk, Search Engine Optimisation (seo) Falkirk, Edinburgh & Scotland
 
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
Hi Rob,

Firstly welcome to SBF! :) Please do take a few minutes to do a formal introduction at some point :)

I think you make a brilliant point about opportunity which is something most people miss. Your business simply might not suit networking so you really do need to look at alternatives that ultimately give you a return on investment. I'm reading a good book now called Get Clients Now (google it :)). They have some great free worksheets that show you the steps to find the areas of marketing which might work for you.

As a few have pointed out as well though no matter what you undertake it takes a certain degree of persistence and time for it to actually work.
 
T

TheLifeCraft

New Member
In the case of networking I believe there is generally a £10/£15 cost for each meeting so the annual financial input could be £1000 including meeting, travel and other incidental costs.

The same applies to social media requiring input in terms of responding to tweets, commenting on blogs, maintaining a Facebook fan page; all of which has a cost to the business.

Not being a member of BNI don't know, but is it not the case that only one type of business member is allowed in each chapter which might improve the business opportunities from members and their referrals.
I was invited to a BNI meeting before Christmas and in their defence I'd say that they were all very lovely people who truly believed in BNI & it's power to increase sales. You're also correct when you say that only one type of business member is allowed in each chapter and they will use that to push you into joining. The BNI chapter I attended even mentioned my competitors by name, which made me feel that I'd been swotted up on!

When I totted up the joining fee, annual fee and monthly direct debit to cover breakfast (that I didn't even get to eat!) it was over £1k before I even looked at incidental & travel costs. That is a HUGE sum to my company and I don't feel that the referred business could be that valuable to a niche business such as mine. I'd rather put that 3 hours a week to better use across social media, which has worked VERY well for me so far.
 
Adventurelife

Adventurelife

New Member
Warning sitting on the fence reply:001_tongue:

It depends. Networking events will suit some businesses and some people and not other businesses and other people.

Obviously the best combination is a business that is suitable to networking events being represented by and individual who thrives in networking.

I rarely go to networking events even though my business is suitable and it is extremely rare if anyone else at a networking event does what I do.

Why?

Because I have in the past and have gained lots of business but I measured it and I can gain more business doing other things so networking although creating business for me was not the best use of my time.

For those businesses that network several times a week to gain business that seems like a hard way to go about it but if it works no worries. However, I often wonder how many actually measure their returns pricing their time and costs against other routes to market.

Having said the above I will go to several events this year that will cost me in excess of £10k so I am obviously not anti networking. However, these events I know well in advance who is their, we network online before we arrive at the venue, we are at the venue for a week and there are lots of training and workshops going on as well as networking and hence a much more productive environment that develops long lasting relationships and partnerships and not just the odd transaction.

So in summary he is both right and wrong depending on the business and the individuals involved.
 

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