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This is our first blog post for 2021, and so far it has been an exciting and positive start to the year for us. The ongoing COVID situation and lockdown have, for me, caused challenges in having to home-school my 6-year old son (who doesn't want to be home-schooled), which has resulted in a hit to productivity somewhat.

Still, despite the lockdown and the challenges brought about by it, we have managed to turn around and roll out quite a large project this month (and we aim to have a case study produced for it soon).

One necessary activity every business must continually tackle is marketing. Networking is a big part of our marketing strategy, so I spend a fair amount of time attending networking events (currently all on Zoom) and having many one-to-one meeting with other business owners.

A key objective for us while networking is looking for opportunities to collaborate with other businesses. Indeed, as a result of our networking endeavours, we have been able to partner up with several other companies, and with their help, we can expand our service offering.

I don't just network with businesses in other sectors, some of the best contacts and best one-to-one meetings I have had are with those who, on its face, appear to be direct competitors to us. The beauty of having one-to-one meetings is the opportunity to explore each other's offering and strengths, and there are, more often than not, crucial differences.

As an example, we as a company we don't build WordPress sites. (WordPress is written in PHP, and we work with ASP.NET) fortunately, through networking, we now have a great contract with a company who does deal with WordPress sites. In turn, they will (we hope) refer any websites that are built on ASP.NET/Umbraco to us.

If you are starting a new business, networking is a great marketing strategy to help get your name out there and start building relationships, which often turn into friendships. Our advice is don't be afraid to talk to others who appear to be competitors; usually, you will find critical differences which often will open up opportunities for collaboration.

We are a member of two networking groups at the moment, and hoping to join at least one more in the coming months. Both groups welcome guests, and it would be great to see you. Here are the links.

Talk Business Local – Warwick

Sterling Networking – Cotswold Virtual Lunch

Business Over Breakfast (BoB club) - Evesham


James Edwards