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Early alarm calls aside

Early alarm calls aside, I’ve got nothing but fond memories of the past 14 years of networking in Worcestershire.  Never have I been happier or more comfortable since joining the Sterling Network. It has been amazing for business and I’ve made some great friends along the way too – here’s to another 14 years!!

I thoroughly recommend the Sterling Network to anyone and I’m more than happy to pass on what I’ve learned (and will continue to learn) to any of our clients and contacts who are interested in networking but would like to know the best way to proceed. Perhaps you would like to join me at a meeting sometime or get together for a 1-1 to learn about our respective businesses.

As a business owner, and an Accountant who is somewhat sociable, the invites to Networking events are quite common. It will come as no surprise that you can’t say yes to every invite and sometimes it pays to be picky rather than getting a reputation for just turning up anywhere and everywhere.

Sterling is very different; in many years of Networking I’ve seen a lot, I’m not unique in this respect. I’ve seen people ‘hunting’ across Networks, bullying members and visitors, hard-sells and some shocking tactics/activities. Rest assured I’ve never seen anything like this in the Sterling Network – it just wouldn’t be allowed.

What I have seen in the Sterling Network is support, friendship, growth, collaboration, trust, excellent products and service and people who genuinely embrace and revel in success of others. I’ve made some life-long friends and met some of my favourite clients here and it won’t be surprising to hear that I’ve enjoyed the process.

So why do I feel it’s different? Why isn’t it the same as other Networking? Why am I so passionate about being involved? Three questions with one simple answer. Sterling has an ethos surrounding the Principal of “know, like & trust” and the order is as important as the sentiment. The reality is that this Network has the ability to adapt and grow with the times, it embraces success and builds huge confidence in its members. It doesn’t take long to know, like and trust the people that operate it from the top down and that itself promotes great relationships amongst its members.

Sterling really has embraced the elements of Networking that make it enjoyable, practical and successful and is not frightened to move with the times as the business world around it changes.

A fitting quote to keep Sterling Networks in the forefront of your mind when considering networking is very much “you’ve tried the rest…now try the best” there is a good reason why businesses flock to this Network; if you’re not a part of it then you could be missing out.


In the meantime, I’ve put together a list of top-ten benefits that might suit your business…

  1. Product & Service Supply. Hands down the best element of networking is developing an amazing supplier base of trusted individuals. There’s so much expertise, skills and tips on hand in a Sterling Networks meeting it’s like having a boardroom of experts across a wide spectrum of fields on tap.
  2. Referrals. These lead to increased business. The reason why most business owners decide to get involved in networking activities is because the referrals you receive are normally high quality.
  3. Opportunities. These include joint ventures, client leads, partnerships and speaking opportunities. Attending a Sterling Networks meeting and listening to testimonials from other business owners means you can enter into arrangements with a lot more confidence.
  4. Connections. The old adage “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know” is certainly true in business. If you want to build a successful business, you need to have a good source of relevant connections in your network that you can call on when you need them.
  5. Advice. Like-minded business owners can offer advice on a wide range of topics related to your business or even obtaining that all-important work-life balance.
  6. Raising your profile. Get yourself noticed by attending business and social events on a regular basis. You can then build your reputation as a knowledgeable and reliable business owner and this should lead to more referrals as your name will be the one that pops into people’s heads.
  7. Increased confidence. By regularly networking, you will gain confidence when talking to other business owners about yourself and what you do. Networking is great for people who aren’t naturally confident as it encourages them to step out of their shell and start conversations.
  8. Developing Relationships. A priority of your Sterling membership is to have 1-1 meetings with other members between the fortnightly meetings. This helps build strong, fruitful relationships and gives you an understanding of the businesses in the room and vice-versa.
  9. New ideas. Planning something new? A change of Direction? Having a group of like-minded business owners with a wealth of differing experience around you is simply invaluable. Top tips, emerging trends and potential opportunities are common place amongst Sterling Members.
  10. Fun. If you don’t enjoy Networking you’re less likely to get involved. Sterling Networks offers something quite different and being a member is enjoyable. I’ve had clients and friends join who have historically told me they hate networking, or just don’t get it. Yet they are thriving in the Sterling Network


I’m proud to be a member of Sterling Networks and enjoy spending time with both the members and the people involved. I would urge anyone who hasn’t visited yet to give it a try and get a taste of how Networking should be done in meetings run by people who know what they’re doing. There’s no hard-sell and no pressure; I know networking is not to everyone’s liking, never say never; Sterling Networks has a ‘grab’ for many people who wouldn’t ordinarily join a Networking group. Come along and see if it can grab you in the same way.


Neil Sysum

SW&A Accountants in Worcester


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Early alarm calls aside