Coming from the North East myself and starting my business in Newcastle, I find face-to-face business networking a crucial part of my marketing strategy. Clients and contacts always ask me which business networks are best.

In setting up my own business I tried some local business networks, but felt a bit ‘rusty’ and decided that I hated networking. I was creeping around to get dressed before my kids were out of bed and be at a breakfast meetings for 7am for a Full English and thought, this isn’t for me.

This is when I decided to do something about it and I started the Newcastle Business Mums business network in November 2008.

Since setting up Newcastle Business Mums I attend lots of networking events across the North East. Maybe it’s a Geordie thing, but I like doing business with people I like and have built up a network of contacts and associates who I would refer business to.

Vicki Stone Marketing provides direct and indirect marketing services from advice through to design and delivery of marketing services  (from branding to full campaigns), and more and more we’re actively marketing businesses at the front end from formal telemarketing commissions to informal unpaid networking (one client gained £15,000+ from our matchmaking! )

90% of our business comes from referrals and making new contacts through networking.

So it really does pay to get your face out there and meet new people. Here’s a few of my favourite networking events I regularly attend…

  1. Newcastle Business Mums – www.newcastlebusinessmums.co.uk
  2. At Newcastle Business Mums we enjoy networking in a relaxed environment with other mums who have their own businesses across the North East of England. It’s the ideal place to start your business networking. Together we share ideas and advice, offer workshops to help you and your business.
    There is no annual fee – just pay as you attend, which makes it ideal for mums who are on the go.

  3. Networking Angels – www.networknorth.org.uk/nangels
  4. Networking Angels is a female only non-membership organisation. Aimed at building contacts and forming business relationships, and unlike other networking organisations you will not have to do any public speaking unless you choose to!

  5. Mussel Club Newcastle www.themusselclub.com
  6. The Mussel Club was set up over four years ago in Newcastle as an opportunity for like-minded business people to meet in an informal and social environment.

    They are now also running Mussel Club in Durham and Sunderland and it’s great – very informal. You pay as you go and the evening consists of a sit-down meal, sharing a table with other businesses you don’t know, with a guest speaker.

  7. Space on Tap co-working eventswww.spaceontap.com/homeworking/#colleagues_on_tap
  8. Colleagues on Tap is not necessarily a networking event. They provide a workspace, free wi-fi, a place to relax when you want to get away from the desk, an occasional chat about something that might be of interest (take part if you want to, or keep working – it really is up to you), refreshments on tap and, the best part, colleagues on tap if you want them – all in a day’s work!

  9. Gosforth Business Network  – www.gosforthandjesmondbusinessnetwork.co.uk
  10.  The network is open to business people who live or trade in Gosforth or Jesmond. The aim of the network is quite simple: to enable local business people to meet, network and generate more business.

    If you there’s other networks which you could recommend in the North East, please leave a comment.

    Some others you might find of interest are Newcastle Business Forums, Network North and North Tyneside Business Forum.

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