…. or at least it has for Andy Dobson from Atlas Sailing. Since deciding to look into networking in order to explore new ways to boost business, Andy has seen his sailing business continually go from strength to strength.
Having relocated the activity to Southern Spain two years ago and last year choosing to sail across the Mediterranean to make a base in Greece, Atlas Sailing has now got a fully booked schedule for 2017 and will need to be putting the 2018 dates out soon, because of further enquiries about sailing around the Greek Islands next year.
Andy says that without doubt the biggest influence on the growth of business is deciding to explore the world of business networking. He is a member of the Preston based Shout Network, North West Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and recently has become a member of the Institute of Directors.
Andy explained that up until five years ago he didn’t really understand networking but after trying a few different groups, he decided that the Shout Network would best suit his character and business needs. Then, shortly after seeing the benefits of networking by attending many of their different groups around the North West, he also
thought it a could idea to join the Chamber of Commerce after meeting Chamber CEO Babs Murphy at another networking event.
Andy said: “Many people don’t give networking enough time. After a couple of months, they stop attending meetings and become despondent because of the lack of business they have had from the group. People need to spend time getting to know others in the group by making the effort to perhaps meet up for coffee and have a more in depth chat, so that first of all others will get to know them and secondly that they can also find out more of what other people are looking for and how they themselves could be of assistance. I can honestly say that it was quite a number of months before I started to see the benefits. This was because the business wasn’t necessarily directly from the people at the meetings. Most of the business came from connections of people I’d got to know at networking events, who then went on to introduce me to connections of theirs. So although some of the business was from other members, had I not taken time to get to know people and attend the regular meetings, they then wouldn’t have been able to put me in contact with their connections so you have to look at the bigger picture of ‘who knows who’. ”
Andy goes further by saying that networking is an overall support network by way of if there is something you need yourself, whether it be just a snippet of free advice or the services of someone reliable, you can always ask around the groups and you will definitely find somebody more than happy to help.
He finished by saying that networking has not only put him in touch with some reliable business contacts but he has also made some fantastic new friends and spends many occasions ‘networking’ over a glass or two of something a bit stronger than coffee.
We asked Andy what would be the one piece of advice he would give to someone looking to explore the World of Networking……. Although Andy put it in a more direct way he said:
“Get out, join a group and TALK TO PEOPLE”.