B and B blog

How to ace networking in London February 2, 2018 12:00

Networking - whether you love it or hate it there is no getting away from it! We recently blogged about using Shapr app to network online. It's also vital to consider face to face networking. Make sure you are signed up to EventBrite too as it is the site of choice to register for many networking events.
We recently attended 'Network Like a Ninja' at Barking Enterprise Centre as part of the free training they have on offer to entrepreneurs. This practical  session on how get the most out of networking was run by the fabulous Kathy Ennis from Little Piggy. She has inspired us to get creative with our networking so we decided to create this list to help you do the same!
B-Hive at Yates Romford
  1. BNI - this is a biggie... we've never attended but we hear that lots of people get good results. The fees are quite hefty and you have to commit to regular attendance to weekly breakfast meetings, however this should create additional business for you.
  2. Co-working spaces - if you are lucky enough to be located in a cool co-working space, they often hold events where you can learn and network with other members.
    The community managers at Central Working Bloomsbury always make sure members enjoy the evening events and promote relevant local talks too!
    We Work hold some cool talks - a memorable one was tattoo artist's Manuela Gray's screening of her Numbers film about tattoos on prisoners in South Africa, and her photos of subjects. The event was completed by tattoo iced biscuits and Sailor Jerry cocktails served out of a gasoline can. The community managers at Central Working Bloomsbury always make sure members enjoy the evening events and promote relevant local talks too!
  3. Council - try your local council for networking groups in your area. For example, London Borough of Havering Business Development organise Women in Business events every quarter.
  4. Enterprise Nation - hold meet-ups in London and other regional events. The meet-ups are advertised on their events page. They are free to members and there is a small charge for non-members.
  5. Independent local groups - my favourite event is networking group Havering B-Hive held in Yates Romford at 10am on the last Thursday of every month. Ask local business people where they like to go, and keep your eyes peeled for advertising in your area. Joining a nearby group enables you to hear all the gossip about nearby developments and expand useful business connections.
  6. It's Nice That - Nicer Tuesdays events with creative talks and opportunity to network with like-minded peeps.
  7. Meetup - this is a bit of a wild card. It's free to join the site and you can set your location and interests and then local meet-ups will be suggested. We get email alerts of new local events and decide if they are relevant to us without having to constantly seek new opportunities.
  8. Mum to Millionaire - The bubbly and infectiously enthusiastic Veena V holds bi-monthly meet-ups for mums with great businesses. She also runs her own Youtube Channel Veena V and is a trainer helping businesses to get confident on video (but what mum isn't great at multi-tasking?).
  9. Property Investors Network - PIN events are held at key locations nationwide. These property networking meetings can be very well attended and are a great way to meet property professionals.
  10. Women in Business Network - WIBN run events every month at groups across the country. We have been invited as guests to our local group in WIBN Romford and are looking forward to attending next month.

Tattoo biscuits Wildfire Tattoo Collective

Tattoo artwork by Manuela Gray

Networking 2018 style with Shapr January 12, 2018 12:00

Ok, we admit it... the strapline 'Tinder for LinkedIn' is what drew us in! But Shapr, a super useful networking app, is so much more than just gimmicks.

Shapr logo

We've had our business for over 17 years. When we started up, we were young, childless and could work till crazy o'clock 7 days a week. Nowadays getting to networking events at 5 a.m. or schmoozing at a bar late into the night can be tricky. Shapr enables us to network on our own schedule.

 Shapr Profile Majida Burch

It's super easy to set up a profile and get started on Shapr. If you use LinkedIn, you can quickly pull in your picture and bio. You can also upload a picture from your phone. I decided to create a custom Shapr biography to make it ultra effective, as a well crafted bio is your chance to sell yourself. The app uses your interests to make suggested matches more relevant, so it's worth putting some thought into the hashtags you choose. Once you start matching with dream contacts, you can refine tags based on the ones your target matches are using.

Shapr hashtags

It also pays to specify exactly what you are looking for on Shapr. It has pre-set categories you can choose from. Our main focus on Shapr is business development, but we are also interested in potential collaborations and meeting other creatives, so our choices reflect this. You can be very specific so if you just want a co-founder, or a job, you can make this clear. If you just moved to a new town and want to make friends, you can use Shapr to speed up this process.

Shapr Interests

It's also worth taking time to set up external links, including your LinkedIn profile, and contact details. Potential matches may use this information to decide whether they are interested in meeting you. Existing matches can use this to research you/your company, or to get in touch with you outside the app.

Shapr links

We have been using Shapr since the summer of 2017, and have had countless meetings and calls leading to great connections and opportunities. The Shapr community is full of friendly helpful individuals who want to meet people like you. We recommend Shapr everywhere we go, as it is a fantastic way to meet people in a fun and accessible way. And who knows when that Shapr match might turn into a collaboration, sale or new best friend!