Stu writes: Some of you may not know that we’ve taken on a brilliant apprentice called Josh. Over the next 12 months he’ll be working on a whole range of services and adding to our already substantial offering as a design agency. As he’s now completed his first couple of months with us, I’ve asked him to write a short series of blogs on different aspects of marketing from the perspective of a relative newcomer to the industry. Josh – over to you…

“As an apprentice in this industry I have had a little experience at a couple of networking events in which I could see what it really meant to each member in the room. The way they handed over referrals or received them, it was obvious that the members appreciated the support of their colleagues in the room.

The true power of networking can truly never be underestimated. Week in, week out a single networking event can be host to many referrals that are passed on to help a business get clients and grow but networking is not all about the money. The other important aspect is about sticking together and looking out for each others business – teamwork. It’s about trusting one another to pass word on of your business to their contacts at right time. Effective networking shows that word of mouth is exceptionally powerful and valuable. It proves that small events really can make a big difference to a business.

From what I’ve seen, trust plays a huge part in the success of the group. Networking is a team game – you have to trust that your fellow members are helping you in the background, looking out for those referrals that will lead to good business. Over the course of time, that trust is paid off and they receive new clients and business. But, of course, they have to keep up their end of the bargain, bringing in new clients to other members too. It’s a two-way deal.

We all know that word of mouth is one of the most effective ways of advertising for a small business. It’s highly effective. Take our company for example, word of mouth is one of the main ways we spread word of our business out, and we have grown massively solely through word of mouth – networking.

So my question to you is this: what networking are you doing? How are you generating that referral network that can play a huge part in growing your business?