Whether you are just starting up in business or your business is well established, if you are not already a member of a business network there are many benefits in joining.
Becoming a member of a general or specialist network can really help you to develop a successful business. This blog post has been written to help you choose the one that’s right for you and your business.
There are many general and specialist membership organisations operating across the West Yorkshire region. Below are just a few of the benefits and opportunities they can offer to their members:
- Sharing or gaining new ideas.
- Networking with peers and other like-minded people.
- Developing relationships with potential business customers or suppliers.
- Discounts on commercial services.
- Exploring the competition.
- Gaining access to expert help.
- Keeping up to date with industry developments, new policy and new regulation.
- Obtaining up to date, specific industry information.
- Representing members’ interests on a range of local and regional issues to bodies made up of local councils, strategic partnerships and MPs.
This blog post contains some examples of the membership organisations operating in this region. It contains some contact information and highlights where to go to find out more.
Where to start?
With so many membership organisations and networking events to choose from, how do you go about finding the right one, or possibly more, to join?
There are many networks offering different benefits and opportunities. There is usually (but not always) a cost, so when contacting a membership organisation it is important to ask certain questions to ensure that you choose the right one for you and your business.
The questions to ask include:
- What is the size of the membership and what are the types of business involved? – e.g. size and sector
- What is the cost to join?
- Do they produce a membership directory?
- What is the events programme like and are they actually well attended?
- How frequent are the meetings? – weekly, monthly, annually
- Are there any discounted commercial services offered especially to members?
Where can I find information on networks in the Yorkshire and Humber region?
Contact information is provided below for some examples of membership organisations in this region. Details of professional bodies such as the Law Society or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) have not been included, and this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all networking across the region. Further information on organisations not listed can be found by browsing the internet or visiting the relevant organisation’s website.
#SoPro Network – LinkedIn Group. This group has been set up by Social Progress Ltd for people to share and find networking opportunities in the UK but tends to feature networking events mainly West Yorkshire & surrounding areas.
Some of the more popular networks available:
There are numerous networks in the region – local, regional, national and some international ranging from the general to the specific.
Here’s a few to choose from but there are many more…..
MYnetworkHUD – Venue: Cafe Ollo at the Media Centre. Huddersfield – Time: 9-11:00am
MYnetworkWakey – Venue: The Priory Bar, Wakefield – Time: 12:30-1:30pm
4N – www.4networking.biz Membership fee and then £12 per meeting. Members can visit any meeting nationally. Visitors can attend 3 meetings in a 6 month period.
BNI (Business Networking International) is an international networking organisation and in the UK it has over 640 chapters (networking groups). Usually only one person is allowed to join a chapter from each trade or profession. Breakfast meetings are about networking, learning marketing skills and developing strong personal relationships that lead to trust and consequently generation of business for each other.
For further information visit: www.bni-europe.com/uk
BNI Terriers – This local chapter meets at 315 Bar & Restaurant, Huddersfield.
If you’re interested in coming along then just let Janet know. She’ll be happy to check if your trade conflicts with anyone in the room & if not you’d be welcome to come along – there is a £10 fee for breakfast & refreshments.
For further details and to find other local groups – BNI Terriers
Brand Yorkshire – Their Networking Clubs are strictly property and construction only, held twice every month. These provide those in the sector quality networking opportunities with new customers and referral partners. They have inspirational and knowledgeable speakers also joining to share their very own business development tips.
For further information and upcoming dates, visit their website http://www.brandyorkshire.com/networking/
Business for Calderdale – Their monthly, local events are an informal opportunity for local businesses to get together in a relaxed environment. We have special guest speakers who are invited to present on relevant topics. Anyone is welcome to an event, non-members will be asked to pay a small fee of £10. Your first visit to a Business for Calderdale event is FREE. www.businessforcalderdale.co.uk/events
Chambers of Commerce
Chambers of Commerce cover all types of businesses and membership services include business networking, events, training, commercial services, representation and lobbying.
Contact information for those in this region is provided below:
Barnsley and Rotherham – www.brchamber.co.uk
Tel: 01709 386200
Doncaster – www.doncaster-chamber.co.uk
Tel: 01302 34100
Hull and The Humber – www.hull-humber-chamber.co.uk
Tel: 01482 324976
Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce (MYCCI) – www.mycci.co.uk
Tel: 0844 980 0045
Sheffield – www.scci.org.uk
Tel: 0114 201 8888
West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce – www.wnychamber.co.uk
Tel: 0845 5240240
Chambers of Trade and Local Business Associations
These local networks primarily cover retail and distribution trades and offer financial benefits, events and representation. There are many Chambers of Trade in this region, including Bradford, Tadcaster, Filey, Otley and District, Whitby, Ripon and Harrogate.
Further information can be found by browsing the internet or visiting the relevant organisation’s website.
A directory of trade associations can be found at www.taforum.org
The Yorkshire Tourist Board (YTB) is the region’s official tourism agency and is responsible for representing and helping to generate sustainable tourism for the region’s tourism economy. Membership gives access to a team of tourism professionals offering:
- Marketing and research assistance.
- A range of discounted commercial services.
- Special offer promotions.
- Discounted banner advertising.
An enhanced entry on Welcome To Yorkshire – www.yorkshire.com with priority search, including an email address and a link to the member’s website.
CheeseFestFriday – which is our very own social event which happens about every two months. Check out the Social Progress Events section of our website to see if we have one planned in the diary. they’re always fun, friendly and informal. With cheeses, biscuits, pickles and wines provided by our friends at The Black Cat Bistro, Holmfirth. It’s £10 for Cheeses and Wine or £7 for just Cheeses etc.
The EEF represents businesses in the manufacturing, engineering and technology sectors. Benefits of membership include HR, health and safety, legal services, training and development, policy and representation. For further information visit: www.eef.org.uk
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is a national organisation that promotes the business interests of the self employed and small businesses. It offers legal, financial and business services in addition to networking opportunities. For further information visit: www.fsb.org.uk or call 0808 20 20 888.
Regionally they meet every fourth Thursday monthly in the evening at Epicure, Huddersfield. For more information – https://www.fsb.org.uk/regions/yorkshire-and-the-north-east
Forward Ladies is a women’s networking and business support group. Membership benefits include networking events, free or discounted training courses, a mentoring service and discounted products or services. For further information visit: www.forwardladies.com
Huddersfield Huddle (The Yorkshire Mafia) If you fancy some relaxed networking the Huddle is proving a great place to make and build on relationships, often resulting in new business relationships being formed. So feel free to join in. Find out more on their events page here: Huddersfield Huddle
The Institute of Directors (IoD) is an international professional network with membership spanning the spectrum of international business leadership, from the largest public companies to the smallest private firms. Membership of the IoD is individual, each member joins in his or her capacity as a director. Membership benefits include advice, information, publications, conferences and training. For further information visit: www.iod.com or call 020 7766 8888.
Ladies 4 Networking – www.ladies4networking.com Monthly Lunchtime meetings (£10). Various places across West & South Yorkshire and Lancashire. See LinkedIn Groups for more details. Groups can be found on Facebook & LinkedIn.
Last Friday Club – Organised by Ramsdens Solicitors www.ramsdens.co.uk
Venue: Gin Lane in Halifax; Time: 12:30-1:30pm. Meetups are free, come along and network in a relaxed environment and the first drink is on Ramsdens.
Medilink (Yorkshire and Humber) Ltd is a membership based professional association which provides specialist consultancy services within the healthcare technologies sector. For further information visit: www.medilink.co.uk.
Metals Industry – For further information on the trade association representing the UK metals industry visit: www.namtec.co.uk
The National Farmers Union (NFU) represents farmers and growers of England and Wales. Membership offers businesses connected to the farming and growing industries, or individuals who are interested in the countryside representation, discounts on commercial services such as a telecoms package, or energy, legal, financial and business services.
For further information visit: www.nfuonline.com or call 0870 845 8458.
A new networking group that meets every Thursday at The Manor House, Lindley, (1 Lidget Street) from 7:15-9:00. Network B2B works on a “one business per sector” basis. All of their meetings are run using a structured yet relaxed agenda making sure that networking is a pleasure, and not a chore.
Perfect People Networking meet at various locations in & around Huddersfield, Leeds, Wakefield and Halifax. Check out their Eventbrite for all up & coming events
Simply Networking – Simply Networking business events are organised in Greater Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Stockport, Oldham, Sheffield, Blackburn, Burnley and many other places. These events are literally a room full of people networking informally with no distractions, they are Simply Networking! www.networking4business.com
WiRE – For women in rural business support is offered through Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE). This is a national organization with local networks. For further information visit: www.wireuk.org
This information in this factsheet is intended for guidance only. Social Progress Ltd cannot be held responsible for any actions taken as a result of the content of this blog post.
The information in this blog post has been collated from the following people & sources: Social Progress www.socialprogress.co.uk & Helen Tones at The Implementer www.theimplementer.co.uk and various businesses who asked to be included within the list of events and organisations.