Setting up in a new location is a daunting and challenging prospect for any business. Unless there is a client or customer already in the location, it’s a leap into the unknown!
Engaging local business communities is a key part of getting to know who’s who in a new location. Based on our extensive experience & how we make it happen in Nottingham, here are our top 5 tips for engaging local business networks:
1. Talk to the local Economic Development/Inward Investment team. Every city in the world will have an economic development team who are on hand to help businesses move into their respective city. At Invest in Nottingham, our team are on hand to help find the right networks as well as help raise your profile through a dedicated PR campaign to say your business has landed in the city.
2. Engage with the local universities. Universities are linking up more and more with local businesses and SMEs to help them benefit from the knowledge and expertise within the university. In Nottingham, both our universities host regular events to help businesses access university resources but also to bring like-minded businesses together to collaborate and work with each other.
3. Google the local sector meetups, or go to websites such as Meetup.com to find out who is meeting up where and when in your new location. Going along to local meet ups will help you connect with local entrepreneurs and get the ins and outs of the local industry and can also be a great way to find new talent for your business. Our local Tech sector network, Tech Nottingham, hosts a wide range of meet ups and also hosts an online calendar to make sure you’re able find out when the next UX, dot net or Blockchain meet up is.
4. Get the most out of your networking. What will make you stand out and be memorable in a room full of people? Make sure you have a great elevator pitch and explain what your business does well. You never know who you will meet at an event – a customer, a supplier or even an investor. Help others – building up trust and good relationships will ensure you will be helped further down the line. Follow up – make things happen for your business by maintaining contact with the people you meet.
5. Remember you have a day job! Yes, it will be tempting to attend every meet up, Chamber of Commerce event, opening of a new bar etc in your new city, but remember, you need to find out which networking events are the most effective and which people are the key influencers locally. Which returns me to point one – contact your local inward investment team – they’re always on hand to make sure you get introduced to the right people in the right networks.