The guide to business networking in London

They say London is the best capital in the world, with over 1M businesses in London alone, it is the largest nation in the UK with businesses per residents (1,452 per 10,000 resident adults).

With this in mind, lots of businesses should consider business networking in the London area, even if you are not living in London. There are lots of opportunities, so here’s our guide to getting the most from and why you should consider networking in London.

Local vs London

You may have been in business for a while and have gone to events local to you. The pandemic showed to many that working from home doesn’t mean only reaching the local clients to us. You may have now realised that, while local networking is good for connections, you may want to broaden your business horizons. You want to be with fellow businesses that have the same mindset as you, who want to expand not just in the UK, but globally as well.

There are loads of different networking events across the globe. From your local group, to coffee mornings, right through to international business networking groups. There are some businesses that do really well from stepping out of their local area, while there are some that need to be geographically specific.

Let’s face it – London is a real cosmopolitan area with businesses that have clients from across the globe. This business network of international companies, can help you do the same.

Understanding where you fall, what expansion opportunities you want to look into, and how to develop your global reach, is the first step to knowing whether a London networking event can work for you.

Larger doesn’t mean better connections

Everything in London seems to be bigger. Bigger venues, bigger buildings, and bigger landscape of opportunities.

There are lots of different networking events in London, so you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed!

It’s about picking and choosing which business networking event is right for you. While you may want to get to the biggest networking London events available to get the most connections, this may not be the case. You want to look for business networking events that will give you the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with those at the networking event or London business networking group itself.

We recommend finding an business London networking event that will give you the opportunity to have a conversation with those in the room for at least 8 minutes (or more.) Find out if there’s any opportunity for further collaboration, connection, and deeper business relationship opportunities down the line. It doesn’t matter if you meet someone that you feel doesn’t have the right connections based on their business or industry, as they will probably know someone in their larger connection base.

Each person knows on average 624 people in their network, and they will probably know someone that can be a good connection for you – so don’t right someone off just based on their name tag. Have a meaningful conversation and invite the opportunity for both parties to get to know one another. The only way to do this is when you are at a business networking event that provides this opportunity.

We have found business networking events that are 14 – 20 people in the room provide these opportunities. They ensure you meet everyone in the room, and can provide more quality connections.

Or perhaps you may want to look at industry-specific groups that provide opportunities for you to connect with your target industry.

Different networking structures

There are a few different type of networking structures to look out for, and they can be of personal preference. These include:

Open networking

In London, open structured networking can be held in a variety of venues from a pub to a restaurant, with an informal setting.

Membership group networking

These are more structured forms of networking and provide an opportunity to network with members & visitors regularly. This can be anything from once a week to once a quarter, depending on the group. These networking events in London tend to provide an opportunity to give a 1 minute pitch, professional lock out, and further facilitated networking like mini 121s.

Activity-based networking

At IWant2Network we have created our activity-based networking. This means we create an opportunity to have a talking point in groups to network and connect, like mini golf or virtual shooting, followed by speed networking. These speed networking sessions help you have focused fast-paced conversations with fellow networking attendees, so you can continue the conversation after the meeting but get the chance to meet more people in the room.

Gone are the days of boardroom style meetings. Since the pandemic, people are expecting different ways to network. Thankfully, there are so many event spaces in London that really lends itself to a variety of different opportunities to get focused business networking sessions with a unique spin. Making the most of the time you spend at the networking event.

Geographical pockets of London

Different pockets of London may offer different types of vibe. For example, Mayfair attracts a high end demographic, however that isn’t always necessarily the case. People think this is what you’ll get in the location and actually quite often its people coming in from all different areas of London and further afield. There is something to be said that if you meet in the City of London, you will meet more financial industry experts.

Something we are finding is a booming area for high end business networking is Canary Wharf. Since the pandemic, investment in the area has skyrocketed. Canary Wharf has long been home of the big banks in London, with the likes of HSBC and Barclays, to name a few, but its recent investment in residential buildings and commercial developments has seen the area become a hot spot. With Canary Wharf station being the 10th busiest in London, the new Elizabeth Line station adding additional commuter opportunities, and the creation of a new neighbourhood “Wood Wharf”, it really has become a melting pot of opportunities for business networking. This has meant that there is a real mixture of local community and international finance, always attracting a great demographic when it comes to business to business communications.

The geographical location, as you can see, is a real consideration when you are thinking about attending any networking event, particularly a business networking event in London. It will affect the type of people you meet and the type of people you want to collaborate with for your business.

The networking experience

With so many great, iconic locations in London, you are spoilt for choice. There are some brilliant networking organisations (including, if we may say so, IWant2Network!). These networking organisations provide networking experiences that you may not have ordinarily had the opportunity to access, while also getting business from your networking.

For a business owner, or an employee, who is working from home at least 2 – 3 days a week, these networking experiences are really great opportunities to not only meet businesses, expand, and also provide an additional opportunity to network with people face to face. For many, the experience of working from home can be a lonely one. In fact, when the pandemic hit, those working from home who were used to commuting or going to an office, found that 44% of workers reported increased stress or mental health problems. Having the opportunity to get out of the home office can make a huge difference to your wellbeing.

Networking in person can also provide an opportunity for you to take some downtime while on the commute, whilst moving your business forwards thanks to the connections you make.

The experiences you get to enjoy in London are vast, and can be a really fun way to network. A few of the networking experiences in London IWant2Network have hosted include London Tower Bridge, The Savoy, London Transport Museum, to name but a few! Depending on your interests, you will be sure to find a business networking event in London that will give you the opportunity to grow your business connections & have a fun experience, rejuvenated to move your business forward.

Global expansion opportunities

Not only are people n London wanting to do business abroad, there are lots of businesses that come over to London from further afield with a view to expand their business in the UK. It’s a great opportunity to partner up with other businesses, using business networking in London as the base. In fact, some of the people that attend our sessions, go on to be members of our business networking international group (N90 group Queen Elizabeth II) and continue to do so.

As you can see, London could be the perfect opportunity for your business to expand through networking. It’s one of the main reasons we decided to provide high quality networking opportunities in the London city, so business owners, professionals and employees can connect in a buzzing location.