Networking plays a major part in building a business. You can make new contacts and get advice, and also meet potential partners and clients at decision-making level.
All the main centres in Northern Ireland have Chambers of Commerce. They may also have business clubs. These include the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Rotary Club, which host business and social events - find your local institute.
Find contact details for your local Rotary Club .
The Northern Ireland Chambers of Commerce (NICC) have more than 4,000 members across Northern Ireland. It represents all types and sizes of business, and can help put you in touch with others in your area.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) aims to protect the interests of small business. Find out about the Northern Ireland branch of FSB.
You may aim to network with contacts in the Republic of Ireland (ROI). InterTradeIreland's Acumen programme arranges contact between businesses in Northern Ireland and people in ROI industries. These could be decision makers in large businesses or public-sector organisations.
How to get the most out of networking
To make the most of any business network, it is important to make the right impression when you meet people for the first time. Carry plenty of business cards. Try to put as much back in to the network as you take out. For more information, see learn and develop through networking.
For further information see Northern Ireland business networks.