Updated: October 2016
– Removed some events that are not worth attending any more
+ Added section on Chambers of Commerce events
+ Added section on Expat Networking
+ Added section on Wine Tasting events
T his article is about networking events in Singapore you should be attending. Networking events can be a good way of spreading awareness about what services you can offer. I am based in Singapore so I will use local events to illustrate my reasons but the advantages I outline should apply no matter where you are based.
Reasons why Small Business Owners should regularly attend networking events
Y ou increase the visibility of your company in your local community. Every time you talk to someone about your business there is a chance you could get a referral from them or they could become a client.
You can meet people who could help grow your business or provide you with helpful advice.
Networking events are attended by a wide range of people in different industries. From the local networking events I have attended here is a summary of the people and industries I have come across:
- Investors, Bank employees – specifically those dealing with Small Businesses
- Government officials that deal with small businesses – they can advise you on how to apply for government grants
- E-Commerce, Online Marketing, Social Media businesses – they can help you generate leads or sell products online
- Members of business referral networks such as BNI – members meet weekly and pass business referrals to each other
- Representatives of training courses for entrepreneurs and startups – they can help you improve your business skills so you can become a more effective leader
- Bloggers, some already have a well established audience and can help promote your product or service to their readers (expect to pay for a review)
You can pitch your business to everyone else is the room
Some meet ups (such as SBM Go Pitch It Networking Session) allow you to talk about your business for a few minutes followed by a brief Question & Answer session. You have to register your interest in pitching before the event.
This can be a great way to quickly spread awareness about your business. Anyone who is interested in what you have to offer can approach you after the pitch to ask more about your service.
It’s important you practise your pitch beforehand so that you can pack as much information into your brief pitch as possible.
You are in a supportive environment
Y ou will be surrounded by entrepreneurs and small business owners just like you. It can help you to stay motivated and energised by talking to people who face the same issues and problems you do.
Networking Events Singapore
N etworking events you may want to attend (if you live or do business in Singapore). This is only a small selection of events that I am personally familiar with. You can find a list of current events by visiting one of the popular event listing sites (I list some at the end of the article):
Chambers of Commerce events
N o description of networking events in Singapore would be complete without mentioning the Chambers of Commerce events that are organised frequently by the different countries.
I can recommend the Australian Chambers of Commerce events as I attended their Wine and Cheese Night recently. It’s more of a social meetup but I picked up some name cards and you will find plenty of business people there (with their spouses).
Chambers of Commerce associations in Singapore
Other chambers of commerce categorised by region (not exhaustive, where I could not find a chamber of commerce I have used another business organisation where possible):
- American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore AmCham Singapore ( events page)
- Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore Can Cham ( events page )
- Austrian Business Association Singapore ABA
- Baltic Singapore Chamber of Commerce (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) SGP Chamber ( events page )
- Belgian Luxembourg Business Group BLBG ( events page )
- British Chamber of Commerce Singapore ( events page )
- Danish Business Association of Singapore DABS ( events page )
- Dutch Chamber of Commerce in Singapore DutchCham ( events page )
- European Chamber of Commerce in Singapore EuroCham ( events page )
- Finnish Business Council in Singapore FBC ( events page )
- French Chamber Singapore ( events page )
- Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce ( events page )
- Irish Chamber of Commerce Singapore ( events page )
- Italian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore ICCS ( events page )
- Norwegian Business Association (Singapore) NBAS ( events page )
- Spanish Chamber of Commerce Singapore SCCS
- Swedish Business Association of Singapore SBAS ( events page )
- Swiss Business Association Singapore Swiss Business ( events page )
- Singapore-Turkey Business Association STBA
- Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry SCCCI (English), SCCCI (Chinese)
- Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry SICCI ( events page )
- The Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry SMCCI ( events page )
- Singapore International Chamber of Commerce SICC ( events page )
Rest of Asia
- Bangladesh Business Chamber of Singapore BDCham ( events page )
- Chinese Enterprises Association (Singapore) CEA (English), CEA (Chinese)
- Hong Kong Singapore Business Association HSBA ( events page )
- Business Indonesia Singapore Association BISA ( events page )
- Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Singapore: JCCI (page is in Japanese)
- The Korean Chamber of Commerce in Singapore
- Taipei Business Association in Singapore TBAS (Chinese)
- Singapore-Thai Chamber of Commerce STCC ( events page )
- Vietnam Chambers of Commerce Singapore VietCham Singapore ( events page )
Latin and South America
- Ecuador Pro Ecuador (Spanish)
- Latin American Chamber of Commerce LATAM ( events page )
- Pro Mexico Trade and Investment Pro Mexico ( events page (Spanish))
- Australian Chambers of Commerce: AustCham Singapore ( events page )
- New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Singapore ( event page )
Specialist trade associations
- Restaurant Association of Singapore RAS ( events page )
- Singapore Manufacturing Federation SMF ( events page )
- Singapore Hotel Association SHA ( events page )
- Association of Small & Medium Enterprises ASME ( events page )
- Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants ISCA ( events page )
- Media Publishers Association Singapore MPAS ( events page )
- Real Estate Developers Association of Singapore REDAS ( events page )
- Singapore Contractors Association SCAL ( events page )
- Singapore infocomm Technology Federation SITF ( events page )
- Singapore Shipping Association SSA ( events page )
- Singapore Business Federation SBF ( events page )
F or expat networking in Singapore (either you are an expat looking to meet locals or you are a local looking to meet expats) I can recommend InterNations, official events are held almost every week with 500-600 RSVP’s. Smaller group events are organised throughout the week by volunteer organisers. Anyone can volunteer to be a group organiser but if you intend your group to grow to larger events then I don’t recommend InterNations. To find our why you can read this article I wrote: Why we no longer post our events on InterNations.
Great for expat networking: InterNations
Other websites that can help you connect with expats:
Don’t forget social networking events
S ocial networking events are more about making friends and building relationships than selling. You will find business opportunities at social networking events as long as you concentrate on building up your relationship with people first. We want to work with people we like and it helps to build trust and confidence when you go out drinking and socialising with someone. There are many kind of events you can go to, just pick something you like. You can meet a diverse range of people depending upon the type of event you attend. Here are some suggestions of event types you could attend:
- Friday or Saturday night drinks / chill out
- Volunteering, fund-raising
- Sunday Brunch or Afternoon Tea
- Art or Literature
Social networking groups are typically well attended. Hundreds of guests can turn up for an event, don’t try to meet everyone just find some interesting people and spend time getting to know them.
Wine Tasting events
Socialising and networking over wine is a good way to meet people and it’s easy to start a conversation because everyone likes wine so you have something to talk about.
Wine importers regularly organise wine tasting events and by visiting different vendors you can meet different groups of people quickly.
The cost of a wine tasting event varies but you find events for S$30-35 easily enough.
Here are some wine vendors that organise regular wine tasting events in Singapore:
The fortune is in the follow-up
Some statistics from the National Sales Executive Association:
- 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
- 3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact
- 5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact
- 10% of sales are made on the 4th contact
- 80% of sales are made on the 5th-12th contact!
Send a follow-up email the next day after meeting a prospect. It shows you remember them and you want to stay in touch. Maybe they will become a customer in the future, or not, but if you don’t stay in contact with them the chances of making a sale are very small.
You never know when your prospect or lead is ready to become your customer. Only by regular contact will you be top-of-mind when they are ready to make a decision.
M any small businesses struggle finding new clients or customers. Getting out of the office and attending a networking session can be beneficial to not only your company but to yourself as well. Networking events are usually held each month and you can easily find events by looking on sites such as meetup.com, EventBrite and Peatix.