Are you ready to open doors to new, exciting opportunities? Networking events help to get the word out about your business, launch new products and promote beneficial working relationships within your industry.

Best of all, hosting a networking event doesn't have to be stressful! Here are some easy tips to get you started.

Define your goal and use this to promote your event

First up, it’s important to define the reason for your event and determine what you want to get out of it. Do you want to meet with other small business owners with an eye to collaborating? Are you launching a new company or trying to attract like-minded individuals to a cause? Will networking help build awareness about your new product?

When you’re clear on your goal, this is what you’ll use to promote your networking event to prospective attendees. For example, if your aim is create buzz about a new product, tease some of the benefits or the unique selling point on the invitations, and you'll be on your way to having a fantastic guest list of people who are truly interested in what you're offering.

Make it easy for people to attend

It’s hard to fit events into busy schedules, so yours needs to stand out and be practical in order to encourage guests to attend.

Make sure the venue, time and date you choose is suitable for the people you're inviting. For example, if you work in a corporate environment, you could choose an upscale function room in a central city location. Hold the event on a weekday, straight after work.

Offer food and entertainment

As a networking event is all about mingling, you’ll want to ensure guests come together in a fun, social way. Nothing breaks the ice like food, so organise enticing catering like a hot dog cart with delicious toppings from a wholesale relish supplier in Sydney.

For further incentive, invite a relevant guest speaker or entertainer to attend. If music or themed decorations are appropriate and help set the scene, go for it.

Facilitate networking for your guests

As the host, it’s your role to facilitate networking at your event - not just devour delicious hot dogs! One way to do this is to send out a list of attendees with a few basic details beforehand, so everyone can see who’ll be there and who they might want to meet.

When the event is underway, greet each person and be sure to introduce your guests to each other. Thorough knowledge of attendee’s businesses, roles or interests will help you to connect like-minded guests. If you’re holding a large event, recruit help from colleagues to ensure smooth networking.

Leave a lasting impression

Finally, offer a takeaway to your guests. This could be a discount voucher for your new product, or a small gift with details of an online community to join to keep the conversation going.

With a clear goal, incentives to attend and your ‘best host hat’ dusted off and ready to go, your networking event is sure to bring exciting opportunities for the future.