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Rural entrepreneurship in Wales
Rural entrepreneurship in Wales

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3.4.13 Network audit model

The network audit model is very practical. It starts from where you are. It is designed to help business owners look at the networks they use and how they fulfil the needs of their business. This analysis can result in more focused networking with a clear purpose in mind and/or looking for new networks that meet your needs more effectively. You can enter the model at any point.

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Figure 17 Diagram of network audit model

The outcome of this analysis is recorded in a network audit table. This enables you to see where there are gaps in the business or personal needs that can be met through networks. It enables you to identify whether you attend several networks all with the same purpose. You can then prioritise them in order to improve the effective and efficient use of your time.

Table 6 The Cheese Gig
Blackdown Hills Food Producers GroupSWIRE /WIREEvery-womanExeter Women in Business‘Taste of the West’Somerset Chamber of Commerce
Food –regional or nationalXX
Training and infoXXXXX
Shared experienceXX
Mutual supportXX
InspirationXX
Fun and friendshipXX
SalesXX
A network audit is an iterative process – networking needs change as a business and business owner develop. This model gives the basis for review in a systematic way. (© KmG Management Consultants, 2007.)

Task 21: Networking analysis

Work through these steps to make the most of your networking:

  1. List all the things you hope to achieve by networking. This can include gaining business, gaining confidence, accessing training and information, friendship and support. There are no wrong answers.
  2. List your current networks. Include your social networks too – friends and family – as well as any business meetings you attend. Some networks can be virtual, especially with blogs and online chat rooms and online social networks you may be part of.
  3. Enter this information in the Network audit template [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Review it to ensure that your networks are in line with your business objectives. For example, there is no point in going to a mother and baby group if you are selling walking sticks!
  4. Review the completed table to see if there are lots of duplications and if there are any gaps.

    Are you getting all the things you want from networking? Are you spending time and money on networks that duplicate each other?

    You may have to seek new networks to meet needs that are not matched at present. You may have to decide to cancel membership of some other networks if they are duplicating each other.