Business Networking Tips

Here’ a 10-Minute Hangout on ‘Business Networking Tips’ with Steve The Barman of Thrist First. Steve talks about how he has used 4Networking to promote his business, raise brand awareness and generate more leads & customers.

Here’s the transcript of the Business Networking Tips video:

Uzair:  Hello and a very warm welcome joining on this Hangout. My name is Uzair and I’m very pleased to say that we have Steve the Barman with us online. Steve runs a very successful mobile Cocktail Bar Hire business, and has also recently started a Drinks Inspiration TV. The links to both the websites will be in the description box later on. Steve is going to share some great tips on how he use business networking to grow his business, and some cool tips on how to make a great cocktail.  Hello Steve how are you?

Steve:  Yeah I’m good, how are you?

Uzair:  Very well. Thanks for joining.

Steve: No probs. I like super girl in the background.  

Uzair:  So tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, what you do.

Steve:  Well as you just said I’m Steve the Barman. I’ve been known as that most of my working life now actually, so 17 years or so. Started off in the pub and bar trade at the age of 18, and the last 3 ½ years have been running a mobile Cocktail Bar Hire company, called Thirst First. So I started off doing parties and weddings and stuff, but now I concentrate more on the corporate and the smaller house parties private stuff. So anything up to about 50-60 people. I really love, I really enjoy it. Yeah so that’s me cocktail bartender, and not the one that juggles bottles but the one that serves you quickly, that kind of person.

Uzair:  Well I’ve seen you in action and you do make some great cocktails and some brilliant drink as well. You mix the cocktails very quickly and coolly.

But you started the business as a part time business, and you used business networking to grow your business very quickly and spread your name, brand and service throughout the UK.

Steve:  Yeah. I used 4Networking it’s my platform. It took me a couple months to realize, because all my bookings come through Google. I know where my bookings come from. So I actually use networking to build everything around my business. So to make sure my website ranked number one for what I needed it to be. My accounts and my bookkeeper, and my van I use for my business. All those kind of little things I’ve gained through networking, it’s basically saved me a fortune from other companies out on the internet. So that’s how I’ve used networking. But just recently after the launch of my video channel, now I use networking on a national level to build my audience for my videos really.

Uzair:  Business networking will give you instant reward, sometimes it’s not the case. You need to be consistent and keep on attending the events, and get your name and your message out there, and then the rewards will follow.

Steve:  Yeah definitely. So for me as well when I came into networking, most of my Saturdays were booked up already. So of course I need to play a very, very short term game as a corporate stuff for the next couple of weeks.  Or I’m playing a very long term game where dropping for a party next summer. For me it’s a long term game, it’s kind of a once a year process for me.  

Uzair:  And you still continue doing business networking. How often do you network?

Steve:  I do at least 3 a week, at least 3 meetings a week. It can be normally 3 breakfast meetings. As we saw last night I was at an evening meeting with you, and so yeah at least 3 meetings a week. I’m a regional leader for 4 networking, so I look after Cambridgeshire, all the way down from Peterborough down to where I live in Duxford. Then I cross from Stevenage to Hitchin. So I will do all my groups in there, but I also do travel about. I was up in Gainsborough just north of Lincoln last week, and the week before that I was up in Yorkshire, Leeds, and York, and Selby.  A few week’s time I’m over in Liverpool and Blackpool. I do travel about all over the country as well.

Uzair:  And that’s the beauty of 4Networking. For those who don’t 4Networking, can you just give us a little intro as to how 4Networking works, and as to where you can attend?

Steve:  So the big thing with 4Networking that no other networking organisation has is if you join and became a member basically you can attend any meeting in the UK.  I think they run in total just over 250 different meeting now over the UK. So if I wanted to go and meet 4Networkers like I’m doing in a couple weeks’ time, up in Blackpool and Liverpool I just book into a meeting and go there. I don’t have to do my research to find a networking event, that’s there at the same time. I can just use 4Networking, and that’s all over the country. So that’s how I personally use it. You can do as many meetings as you want a week. I think obviously none base required. But there are quite a lot of days that you can actually do 3 meetings a day. Breakfast, lunch and evening meetings. I’ve done a few of those as you can imagine.  I’ve got a few of those under my belt. Yeah so that’s how I use 4Networking.

Uzair:  Well brilliant. Any tips on do’s and don’ts for someone who is new to networking? What to avoid and not to do.

Steve:  New people to networking have got this thing, and I was kind of similar when I first started just a few months before 4Networking. You think you’re going to go in and you’re going to sell stuff. You think you’re going to ultimately sell your services, your products straight away, and that is really not the case with any networking. People have to get to know you, get to trust you, and you kind of have to go to the same meeting every couple of weeks, whatever it is for a few months. So that trust is built up. So don’t go in expecting to sell everything, because unless you’ve got the coolest thing for 5 pounds. That’s never, ever going to happen. And yeah just don’t force yourself on people. Don’t force your sales and pitch on people, just listen. Listen to people, find out about their business, get to know them. Get to know what they need to help grow their business, because you might have another contact that can really help this person, and that’s how a good network is from the get go.

Uzair:  And quite often it’s not the people you make connections within the room, but people who know someone outside that room.  

Steve:  Yeah.

Uzair:  Where you get a really good contact, a referral, and you start to do business with them.

Steve:  Yeah definitely. As you can imagine in my business, I don’t have many repeat clients at all. Basically I’m looking for 104 clients a year, if you want to go for that to a week. But I’ve got 2 repeat clients that I’ve got through 4Networking, through contacts in 4Networking. One’s a software company, and ones a law company, so a firm of solicitors. That I go in and do client parties. They have offices all over the UK, but I concentrate on mostly King Ipswich, and north London with them.  So yeah that sort of stuff that’s a fortune for me, but that’s sort of stuff came through contacts in 4Networking. Actually for me my favourite people to me are accountants, cause accountants have got so many clients and that’s my biggest connection. I would chat to every accountant I meet purely, because I know they’ve got the clients and the people that can help me.  

Uzair:  You started your Drinks Inspiration TV; tell us a little bit about why you started it, and what’s the story behind it?

Steve:  Well the story for me it kind of goes back quite a few years now. As a bartender going to learn my trade, I went down to London to learn my trade. So this is very kind of egotistical thing about fancy cocktails, and how your gin and tonic should be served, and all this and that and the other. And actually what I love to do is I love to give you guys at home, I like to make drinks accessible. Your local supermarkets have got a brilliant supply of different drinks. So the whole channel is geared towards everything you can buy, offer a nice drinks in your local supermarket, and just giving you different drinks out there. As opposed to the vodka or coke, and the vodka and orange and all that kind of stuff. This morning I’ve just put my 4th video live. If you’ve heard of a , it’s a little flip on that with pear, so I’ve put a pear. Again all those products you can get from your supermarket, and that’s what I love. I love to teach people drinks that they can make at home, that won’t cost them a fortune.  

Uzair:  So what are the tips for making great cocktails at home?

Steve:  Firstly ice, always have a good supply of ice. You can’t really maker proper drinks, cocktails without ice, so have that and decent spirits. Try and stay away from really cheap, anything that’s kind of under 14 pounds a bottle mark, your vodkas, your rums and all. You don’t need to go and spend about 30 pounds on a bottle of vodka, or a bottle of rum. But something around 16-20 pound mark will make better drink.  I like when I do my little presentation, I liken it to steak. If you’re going to eat a steak on a Friday night, you’re not going to buy 2 pounds piece of braising steak are you? You’re going to buy a nice piece of sirloin or fillet, or whatever. That’s exactly the same with drinks, and that also goes with the mixes as well, the juices. I pick up a brand called Tropicana in the supermarket, purely because the juice is 100%. If you buy a carton of pineapple juice, it’s going to have nothing but pineapples in there. There’s no water, no concentrate, no puree, just 100% pineapple juice, and that again adds to the quality and the taste of your drink.

Uzair:  You have master classes as well on how to make great cocktails?

Steve:  Yeah I do that in networking actually. But also I’ve got my little thing now I’ve just launched again, called the Thirsty Social Club. What that is, is kind of little pop up events. It started very locally to me, but hopefully the plan is to roll that out maybe nationally, but certainly in bordering counties, roll that out. But I also go and do master classes for corporate events team building. I go and do it for any parties obviously, and just teach people how to make drinks and have a bit of fun as well. It’s all about fun at the end of the day.

Uzair: Of course, brilliant. Thank you very much Steve for joining in and sharing obvious great tips, and your experience about business networking. And thank you for joining in during this live event, or watching the recording after the event. If you’d like to know more about future events like this one, please subscribe to our channel, and you’ll be the first one to know and hear about it. For now goodbye and to your success, all the best. Bye Steve.     

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