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Kieran Aitken, Founder of Orbit

Three things I learned from my first meeting at the Scottish Business Network.

It was a pleasure to attend the SBN in London for the first time last month, where I enjoyed sharing Orbit's story and making connections with business owners from across the UK.

The Scottish Business Network gathers business owners, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders from an array of fields in monthly networking sessions that take place in London. Members have the chance to share their stories and "golden nuggets" with fellow members at each meeting and there is ample opportunity to build your network with high quality connections.

I was introduced to the group by the brilliant Andrew Morrison from AM Bid Solutions who recommended that Orbit gets involved with the SBN's work.

The SBN was founded by Russell Dalgleish and Christine Esson and attracts members from across the United Kingdom and further afield. The purpose of the group is to give Scottish companies the connections they need to expand their businesses overseas, with many of the members having global networks.

I promised the SBN team that I'd write a post to raise awareness for the group and to encourage other Scottish companies and entrepreneurs to get involved. Here are the top three "golden nuggets" that I took away from my first meeting with the group:

1) Go the extra mile.

This saying is becoming cliche however it's tenants remain true. In my experience, many of the networking events that I've attended feature large groups of people trying to sell products and services to each other. The events are sales driven with little chance to build true relationships with people.

I enjoyed attending Lee Foster's (Revitalise) and Fiona Coldron's (EEC) networking events who have the right approach and focus on building relationships as opposed to client bases. The SBN shares the same philosophy and everyone is keen to "give" before trying to "get".

I've had five follow-up meetings arranged after my first session at the SBN, and the audience was packed with people looking to help out with our work. In return, I offered free tickets to our upcoming events. The SBN has fostered a great culture and has gathered a great group of people willing to help each other advance their respective interests whilst asking for little in return.

2) Think bigger.

The core purpose of the SBN is to encourage Scottish companies to think bigger. Russell highlights that "to grow a business, you need to find customers beyond your home town and country. Look overseas for opportunities".

The SBN encourages Scottish Companies to build relationships with connections overseas for the purpose of bringing Scottish products and services to new markets.

3) Recognise the value of Scottish diaspora.

To the uninitiated (including me until recently), "diaspora" refers to people who leave their homeland and move overseas. The SBN connects diaspora from across the world in it's networking events. Scottish companies can tap into this network to bring their products and services overseas.

It's only through the SBN that I was introduced to the concept of diaspora and the value that it brings to Scottish businesses.

I'd encourage my connections to get involved with the SBN and you can find out more by clicking here.

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