Business networking can be awkward. Lots of baffling introductions and stiff conversation. Fortunately there are some terrific alternatives, and entrepreneurs Sue Thompson and Anna Addison have created one of the best. Three years ago the pair set up ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ in their home town in North Yorkshire.
“Networking in our town was limited,” says Sue. “So we thought we would ask local businesses to come along, and now we have more than 30 people attend every event. It is held at a local pub, the Mill in Stokesley. We don’t charge, we don’t make you register, and we don’t force attendees to speak.” The informal-drink-in-a-pub concept makes networking easy, fun and accessible.
“We have more than 200 people on our invite list, and between 30 to 50 at every event,” she adds. “Our businesses come from a varied range from the high street, such as restaurants, shops, solicitors, the local business park, as well as a growing selection of home-based businesses, which are often neglected in networking groups.”
Sue runs Catch Design Management, which provides marketing services to small firms. She says Thirsty Thursdays has provided great exposure and introduced her to a variety of new projects, while both founders were decorated for their efforts at the Hambleton Business Awards.