Networking is important, so why do some businesses always want it for FREE?
Recently, a fellow professional networking event’s organiser was telling me about a radio interview where he was asked: if he could change one thing about the industry, what would it be? His response, he told me, was ‘for event organisers and businesses to see £10 for events as new FREE.’
This resonated with me, as for years I have run shows that have provided FREE entrance, food and networking opportunities. From the offset, it has been important to me to provide events that are accessible to all. However, with the costs required to create these spaces, I realised that a zero-entrance fee meant restricting quality. Event organisers are tasked with filling rooms with not only visitors but great content too. This can be challenging as the speakers want to be paid, the venue wants to be paid and exhibitors want to see the football. Today we live in a fast-paced, quick click, throwaway society.
Question: if he could change one thing about the industry, what would it be? His response, was ‘for event organisers and businesses to see £10 for events as new FREE! Henrik Court
The Business Growth Network
The very purpose of our events is to counter that. We aim to connect businesses at a human level, emphasising the value of face to face communication. The answer to achieving this is not constant calendar updates, endless faces and blurred interactions. It is better to go to fewer events and gain more at each one. Of course, there are some fantastic FREE events, but they are not viable in the long run as ultimately someone is paying. People want choice and there’s plenty of it, but it is not sustainable. Over the years, I have seen events and its organisers come and go, underestimating the difficulty of the role.
The industry is currently overcrowded with everyone bidding for businesses attention and unfortunately, not all will stay afloat. What we need are events with a condensed purpose. More speakers, more inspiration, and perhaps the largest initial pull: better refreshments! Many businesses don’t mind paying for access to networking events and in fact budget for them each month. Even those paying for their own entry serve to benefit, as the collected cost (in time and money) of getting to multiple free events tend to outweigh the cost of one genuinely useful, £10 event.
Mix Up Your Networking
Next time you are looking to book a networking event, why not mix it up and splash a tenner? You might find yourself learning something priceless – or at the very least, get a better coffee.