"A lot of business comes through networking groups," runs the received wisdom. But are the standard versions the best choice for your business? A number of niche networks are starting to emerge – is it worth picking the right one and sticking with that instead?
Steve Bustin, a journalist, trainer and PR man from Vada Media in Brighton, thinks it may be. He began his PR operation at a branch of a large, established networking group when he lived in Shoreditch, but found his local version since moving to Sussex operated on a smaller scale. "This was 2002 and Shoreditch was just becoming the creative hub that it is today," he says. "The chapter emerged out of the fringes, so you had partners in major City firms and you had freelancers like me." This effectively kickstarted his business when he first went freelance. On moving he found the local group operated on a different scale. His business had thrived with the budgets people in the London group had at their disposal; the level of referral in the Sussex group was more along the lines of people buying flowers from a member florist rather than elsewhere. There were slim pickings for anyone wanting longer term, substantial contracts. He was simply in the wrong place. READ MORE