Business Networking In Blackpool.
Last night I was invited to attend the “8 Business Network” event in Blackpool.
So I went along. And this is what I thought of it…
8 Business Network is currently operating in Scotland and across the North of England and their events are operated by Alan Neary, who is a rather well dressed and friendly Scotsman with a nifty line in jovial shoes.
From it’s start, this evening promised to be a bit of an odd one, as, in keeping with the spirit of its Blackpool location, this event is sited in a casino on the sea front in the South Shore area of town.
Now I know that some people might have a bit of an issue with doing business in a casino – as did I initially. But you know what? It is actually a pretty decent place for a networking event. It has the hushed tones of a thickly carpeted room and gentle lighting conducive to relaxing a little and striking up a conversation or three.
This relaxed approach is a radical departure from the high energy business events I work on in Preston, but a welcome one to be honest, a change being as good as a rest and all that.
After signing in, it took less than 30 seconds for me to begin a conversation with someone that it looks like I will be doing business with in the near future. Not a bad start at all really.
Now, this event is in no way perfect, but it does have a clear structure and no lame presentations by “speakers” trotting out tired “information” that we all already know before launching into a predictably laughable pitch of their services. Frankly, for me, that was result enough in itself.
The people attending were friendly and somewhat surprisingly actually interested in listening as well as talking about themselves. This event was getting better by the minute…
On reflection, the thing I will remember most about this event is the amount of laughter that was going on (predictably, I was shushed at one point – as usual). Again, some people might think this is not the “right” way to do things, but I tend to think that where there is laughter, someone is listening…and that can only be good for business…cant it?
After the event Alan and I talked over the evening and had a short discussion about the development of his networking events. He asked me for feedback, so I coached him a little in order to clarify his ideas and identify potential ways to bring them to life in the short to medium term.
I can’t go into detail about the content of that conversation, but I can share the conclusions we came to about how to get the best out of any business idea.
Here are Alan’s 5 principles for developing any idea into a workable business:
- Be very clear about the value you are creating for your clients
- Ensure your business processes are aligned to deliver that value.
- Ensure your improvements are creating value for your clients more than for you.
- Find ways to reward all of your clients for being involved, not just the loud ones.
- The more interaction you can create between your clients and each other and between your clients and you, the more genuine feedback you will get and be able to make use of.
The conclusion of this review is that 8 Business Network isn’t the finished article yet…but it’s fun, a little quirky and Alan is working hard to consistently make it better.
The honest truth is that I had intended to slink out half way through, but ended up staying, not only for the whole thing, but for an extra 20 minutes afterward. I think this tells a story in itself.
It is totally worth a punt and you never know…you might score some business. After all, if I can, then anyone can.
For further information on 8 Business networking, click here
….oh…and apologies for the grainy logo picture…I pinched it from Alan’s website 🙂
Feedback is warmly welcomed, please comment below…thank you.