On Monday 9 October, The Havering Chambers of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) ran a local networking event at the Queens Theatre, Billet Lane, Essex. Despite having to make a mad dash to get there on time (it started at 6.30pm) this free event was a ‘must attend’ activity in the Perfect Layout calendar.
So who are the HCCI?
The HCCI works in partnership with the London Borough of Havering and was formed over 20 years ago. It represents more than 200 different businesses that together employ over 2,750 staff. Its members are provided with networking opportunities to meet new customers, suppliers and business partners.
Their mission is,
“to promote a positive, balanced, vital economy and preserve those unique qualities that are good for business and make Havering a very special place in which to live and work”
According to their website these are the benefits of becoming a member:
If you are keen to expand your business and engage with likeminded entrepreneurs in Havering, this could be the networking organisation that’s right for you. But before you make any decisions be aware that the HCCI is not the only networking membership company that exists in the Havering area.
The Havering London Borough has a list of other networking companies that are set up to help businesses build good relationships with other businesses. If your business is set up outside of this borough, check out the details on your Council website, or search google for ‘networking groups +your area’.
Was making the mad dash worth the effort?
Yes! Set in the atmospheric foyer of the Queens theatre, there was a lively buzz as we arrived. We were greeted with an option of wine or orange juice and then there was a gentle hush as the mayor went on stage to say a few words about the night ahead. He said that Havering was a good location that was continually being regenerated with local businesses emerging like the new leisure centre in Romford due to be opened very soon.
He said that Havering had met the demand for new school places following a rise in the population. Transport links were expanding with Crossrail finishing in 2018 and there was also going to be a new station opening in Rainham alongside the upcoming redevelopment. It was hoped that there would be better transport links created from north to south of the borough in the coming years. He also mentioned that Havering’s location was good for its proximity to London Riverside Deep Sea Docks and Stansted International Airport for improving business links for local companies.
The evening was well attended and once the formalities were over it was time to get chatting. There were various businesses in formal attendance, sat behind tables, their stands laden with brochures, business cards and free pens. Ready to give you their time, cards and advice, smiles were abundant and the relaxed and friendly atmosphere made it easy to mingle.
Attendees were also treated to a lavish buffet that could have fed three times the amount of people and further socialising was done around these tables. What really came across that evening was the feeling of comradery of the attendees and exhibitors. There was a real sense of community. We were there to help each other; get to know each other and connect with businesses that we might well need one day in the future.
I’m pleased to report that quite a few of our cards were handed out that evening with follow-up emails sent by us to companies that we felt could improve the performance of their website. Whilst networking in such a manner is important, it’s also imperative to give your online customer the best user experience possible when accessing a website.
This means that your website should:
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg but they represent good visual tips that anyone can do when thinking about revamping their website. If you feel that your website doesn’t meet some of the above points, give us a call and we’d be happy to give you a free analysis of what improvements could be made and where.