In a recent change of heart, we have taken the decision at Frank! (www.frankontheweb.com) to actively introduced our clients and suppliers, to each other if they could be useful to each others' businesses. This is the first time that we have actually started actively creating a network around our business and for us it feels like a fairly big step. We have always tried to be transparent about the way that we work at Frank! and this is just a development of that transparency. We use a number of designers, copywriters, editors and consultants to support our business offer - all of whom we consider to be vital to the service we provide. We are now encouraging them to speak to each other. In a similar vein we are opening up the opportunities for our clients to get to know each other too. Many of our clients have similar attitudes to their businesses and are equally ambitious for their organisations. These are the similarities that create meaningful networks.
We have applied some basic principals to help develop your business as a network - and they seem to be working.
1) We have set up www.un-networking.co.uk which is aimed at Brighton Creatives. The initial invitees were all people that Frank! had worked with or were hoping to work with. We meet every other month at a very nice bar in the city. It means that we have a regular time and place to catch up with many of our suppliers, business links and friends.
2) We have included 'developing networks' into our 'on-going marketing support' service offer. So it is a given from the outset that we will help our clients develop or establish their own networks.
3) We are making sure that our clients and suppliers are more accessible to each other via our own website (www.frankontheweb.com).
4) We are actively promoting the work we do for our clients via our own social media platforms.
5) We talk about our clients to our other clients. If we think our clients and suppliers could benefit by meeting we mention them and put them in touch.
I am a great believer in Networking. Many of my best decisions (both business and personal) have come from chance conversations with people that have sparked ideas that I have then been able to progress and put into action. The more people you meet - the more inspired you can be. In the words of Andy Heath who set up, developed and sold a very successful software company 'It was just five little words from a passer by that changed the way we did business'. For Andy, those five words were 'You should do that online'.
If you want to know more about the way Frank! can help you develop your networks contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org