When it comes to building your business, of course it’s important to try and reach out to as many people as possible; however, the benefits of local marketing cannot be understated. The same applies to small businesses in Portsmouth, as by meeting locals, attending events and simply getting your name out, you will make an invaluable list of contacts and contribute towards building your brand. Local networking is something that we at It’seeze Portsmouth, as a Portsmouth web design company, value very much. As such, we have put together the below guide on local networking in the area. 
The Benefits of Networking 
There are a huge array of benefits when it comes to business networking. Firstly, it’s a really effective way to allow your business to grow. Thanks to the internet and the fact that consumers have access to near enough everything, as a small business it can be difficult to establish yourself. This is why starting local and branching out can be a great way to begin your venture, as you’ll get to know your consumers and increase your business by doing it. 
Not only can it help lead to an increase in sales but it can also facilitate general business happenings as well. You will meet other business owners who may be of assistance and if not, they could help you make introductions in your industry as well. In doing so, you can arrange to have one on one meetings with people which can lead to in-depth discussions about you, your business and what it has to offer. By meeting such people too, you are opening yourself up for education and taking lessons from already successful business owners in the area. 
Different Types of Networking 
There are both formal and informal types of business networking, both of which can be beneficial depending on how you would like to run your business. Organised networking involves attending networking events. There are plenty of Portsmouth network events and Portsmouth networking groups to use, and these are discussed in greater detail below. 
These kinds of events involve agreeing to meet with groups of people either in person or on Zoom on a continuous basis, such as every week, fortnight or month. The formality will vary depending on where you are going. They are a very good opportunity to discuss what is happening in your business, how you can help other businesses and how other businesses may be able to benefit you. There will likely be an allotted time, during which you can pitch yourself and what you have to offer. 
There are other much more informal methods of local networking as well which have a lot less structure but can be a great opportunity for you to meet different people. These can occur because of charitable events, at sporting events or even during webinars. These are more difficult to utilise given you have to seek out these activities yourself and be a proficient mingler to make sure you’re meeting people and getting your name out there. 
Portsmouth Networking Groups and Events 
Social media is an incredibly effective tool for any business to use. Whether this is for engaging with customers, promoting products or in this case, looking for different events. There are many more than the below available and new events seem to crop up all the time, especially now the country is easing itself out of lockdown; however, the below is a helpful starting point. 
- BNI 
BNI is a great group to attend as businesses on average increase their proficiency by 20% throughout the first year of attending. There are different chapters to join and it is very easy to register simply by visiting their website. 
- MNC 
Also known as My Networking Club, MNC is a great resource when it comes to finding Portsmouth Networking Events. A simple look on their website will show you a plethora of different events to attend. 
- Network My Club 
This is another great resource for finding local networking events. You can become a member and be notified about everything upcoming. 
- LinkedIn Local 
LinkedIn can be incredibly effective when it comes to finding different groups and events. Unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn has a huge focus on B2B marketing, so there are lots of different businesses and professionals available for you to meet. 
ONLE have a large focus on being social as they brand themselves as, “the business network for people who like people.” It’s easy to become a member and find out about different events on their website. 
- Portsmouth City Council 
PCC run monthly events which are well attended, and so great for getting your name out there 
The Disadvantages of Networking 
The above is all well and good, but you may be wondering if there are any disadvantages to networking. Well, not per se, but there are some elements that need to be considered, for instance, it can be time consuming. Some meetings and events will involve having to get up incredibly early in order to attend. This also means taking time away from actually running your business. Granted, networking is incredibly important when it comes to growth, but there still needs to be time dedicated to executing your services or creating your products. Like many things, it is about striking a balance, and the early start events at least minimise this impact. 
There can also be an element of awkwardness involved at times as you find yourself at meetings or in different groups with your competitors. Some will have a no-competition policy, but generally speaking, meeting your competition will be a common occurrence. 
The Cost of Networking 
The cost of attending different events and groups varies. For instance, there are non-profit groups like those organised by Portsmouth City Council, whereas on the other hand, BNI charge for membership. When an organisation does charge, it’s important to keep track of what work you are getting as a result of being a member to weigh up whether it is a worthwhile cost or not. More often than not it certainly will be; however, some groups simply don’t have the opportunities that others have, so it’s worth keeping an eye out. 
The value of local networking cannot be understated. It’s something that we at It’seeze Web Design value deeply. As a Portsmouth web design company, we work closely with lots of different businesses in the local area and so are constantly trying to facilitate those connections and point people in the direction of different networking groups and events. 
We also offer affordable website packages so that when the value of your networking pays off and you are driving more traffic to your website, consumers will be met with a slick and easy-to-use design. If you are interested in working with It’seeze and a local web designer, then do not hesitate to get in touch and we would be happy to help. 
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