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Simone Douglas

Relocating to a new city as a business owner comes with its unique set of challenges, the most daunting of which can be building a new network from scratch. With over 25 years in the world of marketing and networking, I’ve gathered insights that are particularly valuable for those finding their footing in a new business environment. This article aims to provide practical advice and tips for business owners who are navigating the networking landscape in a new city.

Understanding the Importance of Local Networking

Relocating means starting over in many ways, and for a business owner, it means rebuilding a network that supports and drives your business. Local networking is crucial because it helps you to:

  1. Gain Local Market Insights: Understanding the nuances of your new city’s market can be pivotal for your business strategy.
  2. Build a Support System: Networking provides a community of like-minded individuals, crucial for both personal and professional growth.
  3. Access Local Resources: Every city has its unique resources and opportunities. A strong network can help you tap into these effectively.

Tips for Building Your Network in a New City


Start with Research

Before diving into networking, take time to research the business landscape of your new city. Understand the major industries, key players, business norms, and networking events that are most relevant to your field.

Leverage Online Platforms

Platforms like LinkedIn are invaluable for initial connections. Join local business groups, participate in discussions, and reach out to fellow business owners. Digital networking can often lead to meaningful in-person interactions.

Attend Local Networking Events

Look for networking events, trade shows, and business gatherings in your new city. Events hosted by chambers of commerce, professional associations, or groups like Business Network International (BNI) can be particularly beneficial.

Engage with Local Community Initiatives

Getting involved in community events or local initiatives can be a great way to meet people and demonstrate your commitment to your new city. It’s also an excellent way to showcase your business values.

Volunteer Your Expertise

Offering to share your expertise through speaking engagements, workshops, or as a mentor can help establish your credibility and authority in the new market, while also expanding your network.

Navigating Networking Challenges


Overcoming the ‘Outsider’ Barrier

Being new in town might initially position you as an outsider. Overcome this by showing genuine interest in the local business community and its needs. Ask questions, listen actively, and be open to learning.

Time Management

Balancing the demands of settling in a new city while networking can be overwhelming. Prioritise events and connections that align closely with your business goals to manage your time effectively.

Building Trust

In a new environment, building trust takes time. Be consistent in your interactions and follow-ups. Ensure that your actions and words align, as this consistency is key to building trust.

Leveraging Networking for Business Growth


Create a Diverse Network

Aim to build a diverse network that includes professionals from various industries. This diversity can lead to unexpected opportunities and broader insights.

Offer Value

Always approach networking with the mindset of offering value. Whether it’s a referral, a piece of advice, or a service, adding value to others can significantly enhance your reputation in your new network.

Keep Your Old Network Active

While building a new network, don’t neglect your previous connections. Keeping in touch with your old network can provide ongoing support and might even lead to opportunities in your new city.

Be Patient and Persistent

Remember, building a network takes time, especially in a new environment. Be patient with the process and stay persistent in your efforts.

Moving to a new city and establishing a new network can be a challenging yet rewarding endeavour. Approach it with a strategy, an open mind, and a willingness to learn and adapt. Networking in a new city is not just about expanding your business contacts; it’s about immersing yourself in a new community, understanding its dynamics, and finding your place within it. With the right approach, the networks you build in your new city can open doors to numerous opportunities, paving the way for both personal and professional growth.

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