The past year has been a tough one for business owners looking to connect with other businesses, with this in mind we recently ran a UK wide survey to find out how you have networked!
A survey just released has found that over 90% of businesses who responded had attended online networking events during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The survey carried out by business networking events website, FindNetworkingEvents.com also found that over a half of those attending online networking events were doing so at least weekly.
Whilst online networking events did exist prior to the Covid era, traditionally businesses viewed networking as a face-to-face activity. Things had already changed considerably since the days when the only options involved early morning breakfast meetings and the mandatory wearing of formal office wear. These days there are a much wider range of formats and networking activities available, at times of the day to suit the night owls of the business community as well as the early risers!
Sadly, all that changed in March 2020, with lockdown measures halting face to face meetings, a high proportion of networking groups became unviable overnight. However, as we all switched to Zoom and Microsoft Teams for our day-to-day business meetings, so too did many event organisers, quickly shifting their networking online.
So, what was the verdict on the new online networking experience amongst attendees? Well, the survey suggests that the jury is still out on this one. There was a 50% split between those who felt satisfied with virtual meetups and those who did not. Amongst the positive benefits many mentioned that they enjoyed not having to travel to online events, allowing them more time to get on with other business activities. Similarly, it opened the opportunity to network further afield, giving them the chance to meet new faces and test out potential markets. On the flip side however, some found online conversations more difficult to initiate than face to face and relationships slower to develop.
Despite the reservations that some had, over 90% of those questioned said they were likely to continue attending online networking events once Covid restrictions have been lifted,
Stuart Russell, owner of FindNetworkingEvents.com said “The results of the survey demonstrate the importance that businesses place on networking as a tool to gain new business, even during tough times. It was clear to us that whilst face to face events will return soon, online events will carry on as an important addition to rather than an alternative option for small businesses looking to network.”