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FSB Networking & Learning Review

Date: 10 February 2016

The Business Network Column from Platinum Business Magazine 

Network Review – FSB Networking & Learning

By Emma Pearce – Marketing Consultant – marketing planning, outsourced marketing and social media training

FSB & Wealden Event

Emma Pearce reviews the not-so-small FSB networking opportunities…

The FSB may be defined as the Federation of Small Businesses, but their membership profile statistics and networking opportunities certainly stand tall.  You don’t have to be a member to go along to their networking events (although with the networking discounts and other free services the membership is worth it!).

Martin Searle, the FSB’s Development Manager in East Sussex, said “You certainly won’t only meet one-man or one-woman businesses at our networking events. Six in ten FSB members employ people.  Of those, the average workforce is currently 10.7 staff, including the owner and any freelance contractors.  40% of members do work alone, but 42% have between 1 and 9 staff and 6% have more than 20 individuals in their business.”

There is a wide variety of events on offer in East Sussex via the three branches in this region:

  • Eastbourne, Lewes and Wealden
  • Brighton & Hove and
  • 1066 Country.

There are another 9 branches within the Surrey and West Sussex region.


Impressive choice of networking and learning events

With such a wide choice of events, you are bound to be able to diarise some networking:

  • Breakfast events in Eastbourne and St Leonards every month
  • Business Women’s Supper Club in Brighton
  • A bi-monthly Ladies Lunch club that rotates between Halland (between Uckfield and Golden Cross), Battle and Pevensey in Eastbourne
  • Evening socials with a restaurant meal – a number are held in Hailsham but the location varies
  • Share the Knowledge evening events in Polegate where speakers present on a wide range of business topics (I did one sharing tips on the 8-step marketing planning process)
  • Morning seminars – the most recent on Auto Enrolment Pensions
  • Co-hosted Business Breakfast events with Wealden District Council – the most recent being at the East Sussex National Golf Club near Uckfield with 2 speakers and networking time
  • Free webinars on a range of topics that are open to everyone – the most recent on cyber security organised by the Government’s Cyber Streetwise campaign. One of the speakers focused on how small businesses are targeted for various reasons and how you can protect yourselves. (I’m doing a webinar marketing planning on 15 December for the Thames Valley FSB team – it is free and open to anyone from anywhere!)


I spoke to Arlene Leake, Chair of the Eastbourne, Lewes and Wealden Branch.  She said that the recent ladies lunch club event had business owners from a wide range of business sectors, including Plumbing, Asset Finance, Waste Management, Law, Payroll, Care, Furniture, Marketing, Copywriting, Accountancy, Beauty and Hospitality.

Arlene added “the membership is really varied and although some are small when they join, they grow and stay with the FSB because of the networking, seminars and member benefits. I’ve been a member for over 10 years now and find the legal helpline is really useful for both business and personal advice.”


The format of a typical networking meeting:

The order may vary upon the event but the agenda would typically include:

  • 30 minutes open networking with everyone attending the event
  • Sit down for breakfast/lunch
  • 1 minute round – to speak about your business (with a call to action if you are maximising this opportunity!)
  • Listen to a speaker for 15 minutes and time for Q&A
  • More open networking if you wish to stay.


So has this information opened your mind to trying a few FSB networking events?

You can find out more on the website  The very friendly local FSB team are also at many business exhibitions as well as on Twitter @FSBEastSussex.  They actively lobby and meet regularly with the local councils.


Why not read our other networking blogs

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