Is it the coffee, the food, the location, the staff or simply the overall atmosphere at the venue? With so many venues available for networking nowadays it can be difficult to choose the perfect networking venue for your meeting. While all of those things are important, we spoke with Nicky Thomas, Regional Director at BforB, who runs four BforB groups at Beverley, Doncaster, Grimsby and Gainsborough to get her views on what she feels makes “a great venue”.
“Ideally, you need to work with a venue that recognises the benefits and value of hosting a networking group at their premises. Some venues are just happy to take your money and book the room – they offer nothing else, nor do they understand the value of the potential opportunities.
The venues that “get it’ and understand that hosting such a group brings so much added value to their business are the ones you want to work with. When you think about it, you have a wide variety and cross section of business owners and executives attending your venue regularly to discuss business. As a venue, this is the ideal opportunity to showcase what you can actually do and offer. Quite often a lot of members will also meet at the venue outside of the BforB meetings, as they have built up that relationship of “know like and trust” with the venue.
We often find that when a venue understands the benefits of networking the “BforB way” they will be actively promoting the members’ businesses wherever they can, even outside of the meetings. This is where the magic happens.
The venues that have the “vision” for growth within the group are very proactively involved. They attend our meetings as active members and really buy into the ethos of BforB and what we are about. They are keen to help other members, they collaborate and work together on joint projects.
Venues also have the added opportunity to hear first-hand about upcoming and active business projects in the local community that they could commercially benefit from. As we have a one business-per-category rule, that gives them a huge advantage in terms of winning business!
Being an active member has also benefited the venues in finding new suppliers, so it’s very much a two-way conversation at BforB – sometimes you’re looking for customers and other times you may need professional knowledge or to source some new suppliers.”
Nicky talks about the ways in which her venues have really embraced their groups. The St. James Hotel, Grimsby are a great example. They are extremely proactive and engage with all of the members by ensuring that they attend every meeting and set up regular 1-2-1’s, helping them both win and pass business within the group very successively.
Another one of Nicky’s venues is Adams Bay Restaurant in Gainsborough. They actively promote the BforB meetings on their social media channels. They understand the ethos of networking and see it as a clever way to diversify their business. This venue is a restaurant, which ordinarily wouldn’t be open at the times that BforB meetings are run. They seized the opportunity and opened up early especially for BforB meetings. Now they have a whole new following from the business community that are referring other people to the restaurant or actively attending themselves! This restaurant now hosts meetings and functions that they would never have hosted before they started working and collaborating with BforB and its members.
When venues build better relationships and share their expertise with others, it helps develop professional trust that will create more business referrals. As a venue, running a networking meeting is also a smart way to raise their profile and engage with a new demographic that can be converted to regular customers.
To summarise, a venue that grasps the benefits of networking, those who actively get involved, those that are supportive to the members, those who ultimately understand the BforB ethos and what makes us different – will definitely gain huge benefits and rewards by getting involved!
If you’d like to get involved with a BforB group in your area get in touch!