Every Business Needs Good Neighbours: the Power of Next Door Networking Created on 03/05/2011 11:16:00
Where your business is based can have a huge impact on your networking potential and opportunities.
There are natural business neighbourhoods in every high street; there are hotspots for certain sectors in larger cities. But there are also dedicated communities created in places such as Langstone Technology Park, a major development of serviced offices in Hampshire. And as these five reasons show, the benefits are tangible for all sorts and sizes of businesses
Why business neighbourhoods matter
1. It's not what you know, but who you know
As the business scene proves time and again, people would rather pass work to contacts they know than to someone they haven't met. This holds true despite the emergence of the Twittersphere and the the potential of good network contacts is worth its weight in gold.
2. There is nothing so valuable as face-to-face contact
People still trust the trust factor hence it is a lot easier to build a relationship when you're able to meet face to face with other companies, whether that's organised, spontaneous or through 'corridor coincidence'.
3. Collaboration is easier
When you do meet valuable contacts, it's not just direct business that might result; but the opportunity to collaborate on projects can be just as profitable. It therefore follows that you are more likely to collaborate successfully with a business nearby as opposed to someone working remotely, maybe hundreds of miles away.
4. Swaps can be arranged
An often overlooked way to save money and oil the wheels of getting things done is to service- or skill-swap with companies who have something or somebody you need. Again, it's much easier to discover these opportunities when you're on good neighbourly terms with all the companies on your block. For example at Langstone Technology Park serviced office centre, a few of the business share the services of a local Book-Keeping firm.
5. You'll simply save on marketing
Thanks to all the above, you needn't network or promote as hard as companies who are out on a limb. You'll save not just money, but also time.
So what can you do to make the most of neighbourhood networking?
Neighbourhood networking is easy, but it doesn't just happen. You can help it along by taking the initiative to meet your neighbours, chat to them at the coffee shop, ask the sort of questions that unlock your common interests. It also helps a great deal to have a succinct and memorable way to describe what your business does. If someone outside your industry can remember your key offering the next day, the better these conversations will turn out.
The other aspect is of course choosing your neighbourhood — and that's where a hothouse for dynamic businesses such as Langstone Technology Park comes in. Situated in the M27 / A3(M) corridor in Havant, near Portsmouth in Hampshire, the park accommodates both serviced office tenants and longer-term managed office clients; you can find out more about the park here.