There is currently nothing else like ScreenPop. My twin, Penny Clemmow, and I are frequently told this by our members, and we are proud to have grown this wonderful community so quickly. So why did we decide to launch ScreenPop?

When my other networking company had to move its twenty-four physical groups onto zoom in March 2020, it was a stressful time. Like most business owners, I had to make quick decisions and changes in order to survive and try to thrive. With a new temporary payment structure in place, I realised how well the majority of my nearly 300 members adapted to online networking. Moreover, I started to get many messages from members who were seeing huge benefits in networking online. They could visit more groups and meet dozens of people they would never have normally been able to network with. This led to lots of one-to-one meetings between members and resulted in a lot more business being generated for members with all kinds of businesses.  

At a time when everything was very uncertain, people felt refreshed and invigorated by the online meetings. Instead of seeing no one other than those in their household, they were meeting many new people all the time. For those living alone, this was even more of a lifeline and an uplift.  

At this point my expectations were that the Covid restrictions would be short term so that my face-to-face groups would be able to return within a few months. This made me realise that I wanted something separate from physical networking. It would be fantastic to offer something that would allow people all over the country, or even abroad, a structured but relaxed networking experience without leaving the comfort of their own environment. 

Over the years, I came across many potential networking clients who felt despondent that their health or other factors stopped them from driving. Some people were without any transport so were unable to attend physical meetings. 

I talked to Penny, who had not enjoyed most of the networking she had tried in her area, often finding it rather unfriendly or cliquey. Penny has a wealth of experience working with small business owners to help them increase their visibility through her publishing business. We talked about bringing the warmth and support of Pop Connect to online networking across the country. The lack of pressure to have to refer, the building of relationships within a group, getting to know other members in order to understand how best to help each other, so you can signpost the right people towards each other. We wanted a real community of business owners. We wanted to offer an experience of being able to access a huge range of expertise through the wider networking community in our other groups. 

We started ScreenPop to provide warm and supportive, authentic online networking around the country, and we are growing it quickly in order to provide this service for more and more small business owners. Everyone is welcome.   

Whether you are an experienced networker, completely new to networking, an established business or a brand-new business, ScreenPop can help you grow both your business and your network. Contact Penny and I via our online form to discover the groups that will work for you.

With six years’ experience in running a networking company, I am very aware that most small business owners have mixed feelings about returning to physical networking right now.  It seems clear that the majority of people are trying to negotiate a “new normal” and work out how to move forward. 

People who network fall into different categories. There are those who hated the idea of online networking when meetings were forced online last year, then reluctantly tried it and loved it! There are those who decided they would hate it, so never gave it a chance. Some people tried it, but claim to miss the energy in the face-to-face meetings. Then there are those who have embraced it from the start, realising the possibilities.  

So, what are the reasons for networking online now and how does ScreenPop fit the bill? 

Well, firstly, there are no petrol costs. This is a real benefit because it means you are inputting time but less money. Additionally, online networking typically costs less than face-to-face as you avoid any extra spending on food, venues, beverages and parking.  

When you are preparing for a physical networking meeting, it usually takes some time to prepare yourself before setting off. That might be finding an appropriate outfit, doing your hair and/or makeup, organising yourself to locate a pen, business cards, probably an attendee sheet or notebook and, perhaps, making sure the car has petrol, setting up your sat nav, finding out where the venue is and where to park. Online networking also cuts out travel time to and from a venue – this could easily take a couple of hours out of your day.  

If you network online you might choose to print off the attendee sheet and look at who is going to be there but, other than making sure you will look respectable in your window and that you won’t have too much noise around you, the pressure is off. 

Typically, you will meet more people and so may well make more valuable contacts when you network online because you and other attendees can attend additional groups more easily. This means that, unless you, or they have a very localised business, you can network further from your workplace and are less tied to a physical area.   

Contrary to what some people say about the energy in the room, there can be fantastic energy in an online meeting. It can be lively, fun, emotional, fascinating or boring just like a face-to-face networking meeting. You can get a very good feel for other attendees when you see them engaging well, listening, commenting in the chat and smiling, or perhaps less positively if they constantly switch off their camera, look like they are engaged in something else, have little to say about others and seem unresponsive and unsupportive. 

So far, I haven’t touched on the COVID-19 numbers increasing, or on the fact that there is much talk in the media of expectations of a flu epidemic as we move into the winter. If you are vulnerable to viruses of any kind, are disabled or have a compromised immune system or health issue of any kind, then online networking allows you to come into contact with all sorts of people without coming into contact with all sorts of viruses! It’s a definite win-win situation. 

ScreenPop is unique in that you really do become part of an incredibly warm, supportive online community where you can make contacts around the country, collaborate and help each other; within your own group there will be nobody else competing for the same type of business (as each group operates a lock out). You get two free visits to other ScreenPop groups every month to assist you in growing your network, and all this is very effective in terms of access to experts and growth of your business. This is available to you without leaving the comfort of your own home, and it’s well within your networking budget too.  

If you’d like to find out more about how online networking can support your business, or would like to join one of our groups, please contact us using our online contact form.