Building a Local Business Network
Display Wizards' Matthew talks about the benefits of building a local business network.
Advancements in transport and communication technology mean it is getting easier and easier to do business with a network spreading out across the UK and the rest of the world.
However it can make business relationships less tangible and meaningful, meaning it can be easy to be let down by suppliers and partners.
My own employer, Preston-based large-format print supplier Display Wizard, recently reviewed their sales figures which highlighted that 90% of all business was generated in London, whilst a number of suppliers are based outside of the North West.
With the vast majority of our enquiries coming in online and with rapid-delivery couriers distributing products around the UK, the location of our own business has become fairly redundant – a double-edged sword in some respects as a company can find itself over-reliant on ever-fluctuating search engine results rather than more sustainable business generators such as word-of-mouth.
Whilst it is understandable that most of a company’s business should be centred on the South East which of course boasts the largest concentration of people and wealth in the UK, it nevertheless doesn’t really reflect the geography of our business or the fact that actually a number of suppliers and customers are right here on the doorstep in Lancashire. Therefore the team at Display Wizard decided to go on a ‘northern push’ – attending local business shows and some smaller networking meetings in and around Preston.
The result of these events was almost universally similar: surprise that we were so close; enthusiasm about potential partnerships (even from competitors!) and a general warmth and understanding which is impossible to get via e-mail or phone. Some might call this look for a local network parochialism; however we would prefer to label it as a good old-fashioned business community whereby organisations with common interests collaborate and swap ideas to help each other.
It is refreshing to see so many thriving local businesses, freelancers and talented entrepreneurs in Preston and Lancashire, perhaps all we need to do is find each other a little easier!
Local Business Networks
To find out more about the business networks that operate in and around Preston take a look at our business networks directory.
Image: Shout Network Lancashire Business Expo 2019