Olly’s Apprenticeship: Getting to grips with Business Networking

The next blog instalment from Olly Kenyon, our Digital Marketing Apprentice, focuses on his first experience of a business networking event.

Last week, I attended my first business networking event with Purple Robot, which was the Business Live event which was held at the Epic Centre, Lincolnshire Showground. This was a very interesting experience for me and I was able to take a lot from the event. Having attended the event, I thought I would I would focus on the things that I learnt whilst at Business Live and why I feel that it is important to network as a company for my blog this time.

The first step for Purple Robot was to decide on the look and feel of the exhibition stand we were going to have, which started weeks before the event. As the concept developed, the main exhibition stand, seats, covered cocktail table and other displays all showed off our company brand and the ‘Limitless’ package deal we were promoting at the event. It was then down to the items to dress the stand and we decided to have books, crayons, mugs and coasters on display to reflect on who we are as a company and individuals, but also keep a sleek look with our set-up. Finding this balance is very important, and I learnt that it is crucial to try and have your display reflect upon what your company does and what image it portrays.

These events are not just useful for people exhibiting, however. Business events like this present the perfect opportunity to speak to other companies and see what they can offer to you. A perfect example of this is when I went around the stands and found some things that were beneficial for me. This included speaking to Access Lincoln, who informed me that as an apprentice, I was eligible to three months of free bus travel, as well as a discounted bus card. This was awesome news for me, as I use public transport regularly, including travelling into work. There is a good chance that I would have never been informed of this information if I did not attend the event. There are also opportunities for your business to find services or new products you might not have been aware of which would help you in your business.

Networking events can also present great business opportunities for many companies and although this may seem like a given, it is important to remember. Talking to people in person is a completely different dynamic to doing so online and it can allow you to connect with a lot of people that you wouldn’t have outside of the event. Making these connections can be vital, and if you leave a pleasant first impression in someone’s head then they are likely to remember you for being a nice person, and they will associate that with the company you work for. So, if you attend an event make sure you are speaking to people! It is great to make connections which may help you later on, you never know when that connection may come in useful to your business.

So that is my take on networking and attending these events. It is absolutely worth exhibiting, but make sure you think carefully about what you want people to remind you and your company for, and also if it is the right time for your business to be exhibiting. Attending as a delegate can also be just as beneficial as it still allows you to network with others. Whilst at an event you can then see if it is something that you’d want to get involved in.