Networking@6 is a new initiative, created by the Business Development Team at the City of Yarra. Unlike traditional business events that follow a formalised presentation, or speed networking, which restricts in-depth conversations, Networking@6 is designed to facilitate discussion and the sharing of information.
I had the pleasure of facilitating the inaugural Networking@6 session, which encouraged participants to consider the point of difference they have for their business. Just as Networking@6 has a clear point of difference, each business needs to differentiate itself from competitors.
Being an informal conversation, the discussion was able to incorporate the experience of participants, as we considered a range of
marketing and business topics. Every business has competitors, so we discussed how a point of difference, or unique value proposition, can be leveraged to attract and retain customers.
Competition not only includes direct competitors, but also businesses that may indirectly impact on a decision made by customers. For example, direct competitors for Networking@6 include other business networking events, while indirect competition considers competing demands for time, such as social events or other business resources. Understanding your value proposition enables you to utilise key messages that resonate with your target market and encourage purchase decisions.
We also considered how a point of difference can be promoted through the supply chain, ensuring that suppliers, distributors and employees can reinforce this sense of value. Suppliers need to view their distributors as partners and understand that their success, is in part, reliant on the outcomes achieved by their customers. Similarly, employees need to understand and appreciate the point of difference so that they can be valued and assist in the ongoing viability of your business.
A point of difference is essential for any business and it must be something that is considered to be of value to customers, as well as business partners. Networking@6 was able to articulate its value as an informal session with free-flowing conversation and knowledge.
Many participants also commented on how important community is to their business. It was great to see the realisation that business owners can work in partnership with the wider community. One of the broader aims of Networking@6 is to foster a sense of community through networking to build upon the conversations that were initiated at tonight’s session.
Networking@6 is definitely worth attending and congratulations to the City of Yarra’s Business Development Team for creating the concept. Details on future sessions are available at www.yarrabusiness.com.au.