FAQs about Urbano Network's networking events and membership

What is Urbano Network?
Formed in 2011, Urbano is London's largest and leading independent business networking community, a powerhouse of connections and opportunities, connecting companies of all sizes and sectors across our different communities: Build, Finance, Media, People, Tech & UWACTE (see questions on Communities below). 

Most of you reading this will have attended at least one Urbano event and should have met Mark who will have explained how Urbano works. He has written these FAQs which are genuinely based on the questions most commonly asked for a number of reasons, but mainly because he prefers to work on behalf of Urbano's members rather than convince non-member companies to join.

FAQs
How is Urbano different from other networks?
Urbano occupies a niche somewhere between those networks which focus on running events but don't offer much in the way of other services, membership organisations which have an industry specific role, peer-to-peer networks for those running £1M+ businesses and chambers.

We are independent and run our own business which technically owns and runs Urbano as part of its own services. Our membership is diverse and the majority are established companies with around 10 - 100 employees.

But the biggest difference is that we - Caroline and Mark - are the active spiders at the centre of the Urbano web, sharing information with our members and making introductions between members where we see value. We also prod them if we find a tender that matches their services.

Our pan-sector experience means we understand the language of companies in construction (BIM, sustainability, Building Regs, M&E etc) equally as well as the creative sectors (web, digital, CRM, SEO, VR, AI) and more importantly how they need to talk to one another to help each other find new opportunities. We don't think you get that anywhere else, at least that is what our members tell us.

Will you promote our event or webinar?
If you are a company member - yes.
If you are an organisation that is just sending us an email - no.
(Too many programmes have no marketing budget, yet you want to advise companies on how to run a business?)

Our company didn't renew its Urbano membership. Can we still book events?
No. Memberships pay for us to exist and provide the services we do. Some companies and people don't get Urbano. They leave with our blessing and best wishes, but any connections with Urbano, includign access to data and on LinkedIn are deactivated. 

My business will pay for events, but not membership
We had an email recently where membership of Urbano was decribed as an 'extra-curricular' activity. This is a multi-million pound turnover PLC acting on government contracts, that produces reports on driving change in zero carbon, inclusivity and diversity in its supply change. It has an annual report full of its leadership in such things. We don't consider membership of Urbano 'extra-curricular'. just affordable and open to all. Most of all membership of Urbano is a mindset.

And don't get us started on those companies which put community and collaboration front and centre of their websites, yet don't have a budget for membership of Urbano.

How often do you run events?
It depends on the time of year. You can view our calendar here: Urbano calendar

What is the aim of your events?
Our events are primarily designed to be catalysts to connections, supported by an innovative website that helps member companies find new suppliers, associates, information, introductions and clients.

Can anyone attend an event/can I just turn up?
As long as you are in business or work for a company, yes. But you have to book online first.

Can I book even if I am not a member of Urbano?
All our events, unless stated, are open to non-member companies to send their representatives to a maximum of TWO URBANO EVENTS to sample our events and guage whether Urbano is the business community for them and their business.

Are these first two events as a non-member free?
No. You pay the published non-member rates on the revelant event page.

Why aren't events free to me as I just want to check you out?
Like agencies can't live on promotional dollars, like electricians don't let you have a new set of kitchen lights 'to see how they work', like architects don't design hotels your first hotel for free, the best things in life are worth paying for. Most of our events are between £20-£35 (now £15-18 while we are online) for non-members and bring way more than that in the value of the connections alone.

I work for a charity. Can I come for free to check you out?
See the answer above. Your employers are hopefully paying you. Judge us on the value of connections we can make for your future campaigns and supporters.

Does our company join Urbano Build/People/Finance etc?
No, you join Urbano Network. The established Networking Communities (Business/Finance/People/Build/Media & Creatives/Tech/UWACTE) are online groups for members plus also form the headline banner for relevant speaker events.

Is the membership fee the same for every company?
Yes. It is kept the same because Urbano wants all types and sizes of companies to meet and a flat fee encourages that.

Is there any restriction on how many events I can attend as a non-member?
Yes. Maximum two different Urbano events (so two different people from the same company can attend two different Urbano events as non-members. After that, we pull up the drawbridge.


Who created Urbano Network?
Urbano Network has been created by Mark Herring and is the culmination of Mark's unique twelve-year experience of brand, marketing, networking, network and event management experience.

In that time, Mark has delivered branding, marketing and networking strategies for numerous clients, from start-up and SME to PLCs. Here is his agency website: www.talentlab.co.uk

Mark also has an unrivalled record in building networks and making connections for thousands of companies through networking. He has organised over 1,000 networking events and facilitated connections for over 25,000 companies.

His attitude to networking is strategic but relaxed, where every networking event is designed to be a catalyst to opportunities rather than an end in itself. As a business network, Urbano Network's remit is to create and facilitate contacts between companies of all sectors and sizes, but also support and encourage the process that sees these contacts turn into connections and develop into relationships - and it is from these relationships that opportunities - selling - yes, but also opportunities to collaborate,business advice, share new ideas and thinking, source information on new markets or ways to market, your next job or bid partner. Come with an open attitude and Urbano will support you make the most of your networkign with us.

What is value exchange?
Urbano Network has some simple beliefs at the heart of its philosophy:
- Every conversation is potentially valuable
- Every contact is worthwhile
- You never know what is going to happen to you or your business

Based on these ideas, Urbano Network concentrates on being the catalyst for 'value exchange' based on our knowledge of a company and we think may help it at any particular time.

Sometimes value is easy to describe. It could be an introduction to a business which becomes your next client. Or to a company which undercuts your present supplier and delivers a better service.

But often value can be something that is not easily measured but no less important. A piece of advice. The sharing of experience. A link to a news story. Someone's email address. Meeting a kindred spirit. Your future wife.

'Value', especially in business, is changing. The bottom line and new business are still the primary drivers for networking, but along the way there are a host of other valuable interactions to be achieved.

But what is valuable to you and your company is also constantly changing.

To illustrate. A company has grown from 4 employees to over 40 in the past seven years and its MD has always admitted that 80% of his business and its growth is down to connections made through networking.

But despite the growth, profit has never lifted the company beyond a point where the MD does not have three credit cards maxed out supporting the business.

But imagine if he had been introduced to someone five years ago who turned to him and said, "That was me three years ago. But I did A, B and C - and now I am a millionaire who can sleep at night."

What is the greater value - the endless list of new clients or the encounter with the person who had been there and could tell this MD where he needed to make changes?

Heraclitus said: "You can never step into the same river twice." Every day, the world and the ways in which we do business are changing. So are you.

Urbano has recognised that change and now companies are also realising that with the rise in online social media and channels of loose connections, less formality in business and reduced effectiveness of traditional sales routes, they see Urbano as a modern way of finding and doing business.

 

Sum up Urbano networking
A unique community built on an ever-changing programme of networking events and online facilities to connect ,where every event is different and the opportunities are unrivalled, created by someone who is without peer in his knowledge of what makes networking effective for any size of business or individual.

In a nutshell:

Contacts make connections
Connections develop relationships
Relationships lead to opportunities
Opportunities lead to new business 

But there's a paradox:

If you ask any room of business people what it is they do, they will answer 'architect', 'lawyer', 'designer', 'accountant'. None will answer 'businessman' or 'businesswoman'.

Urbano believes this is at the heart of why many UK businesses struggle with growth and fail to seize the opportunities that new technology, social media and mobility, new ways of working and opportunity sourcing offer to all companies. It's why Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Google and Twitter didn't start or grow in Britain.

Urbano's answer is to lay corn to bring businesses and business people together to share information, build connections, develop relationships and look for opportunities to do new business, which all starts by making a connection with a contact at an Urbano event.

Now to the FAQs. The stuff we are asked and our answers. usually your answer is here but if it isn't, why not take a chance and book an event? You can chat to Mark there and the other members and attendees will usually answer your questions for you.

What kind of companies attend?
Our usual answer to this question is to say you are focusing on who is INSIDE the room whereas we focus on who is OUTSIDE it. Which contacts of the people you are meeting at the event might know someone in need for your services.

It is based on the principals of value exchange, being open and friendly.

Do I have to be a member before attending?
No. Every company can attend two events as non-members* before deciding on membership.  Most members join after attending a couple of event. We can also answer questions and ask some ourselves.

If your company decides not to join, that is fine - networking is not for everyone or every company but we challenge you to find the kind of audience Urbano attracts, from PLC directors to internet start-ups.

I am being charged more than the listed rate. Why?
The published rate for non-members is for sirst time visitors. It may be your or another from your company's second time so the rate rises. The member rate is the same for all members.

Can I have a free sample event to try an event?
No. Non-members pay for every event - and at a higher rate than members. Why not? Well, there are so many reasons, but two main ones:

1. It would be a poor business model if the events Urbano pays for were free to visitors. How many should get in? Who gets priority?

2. Urbano concentrates on making events good value where the fee is cheap for the value of connections you should make.

Do you ask the same question of restaurants, cinemas or your web designer?

Can I get to see/know who is coming before I book/after I book?

For some very large events we may publish the online Event Group before the event but attendee sheets are always distributed on arrival. We never tell anyone who is coming before they have booked. Actually, not strictly true. If a company books who may be valuable to a particular member, we will try and let them know.

Many reasons why we don’t pre-publish attendees but the main ones are:

  1. UK data laws.
  2. Numbers can change by the hour and hence those who are attending
  3. Companies still sometimes think:  I can’t sell to anyone listed, I won’t come and networking doesn’t work like that
  4. Random is good. So is risk. So many encounters that started off as poor on paper have led to tremendous riches it's why Urbano exists
  5. A cold email feels like spam but once a connection has been made it feels like a way of connecting

Why do I have to create a profile when first attending an event?
Urbano connects everyone who attends an event through its unique online Event Groups, allowing everyone who is attending to find out more information about the other attendees long after the event has ended - and contact them through the system. 

In this way you stay connected with every other attendee of each event you have attended through your own Dashboard. No more searching for lost business cards! This means we need to collect information critical to allow the networking to happen. We do nothing else with it bar inviting you to further events. We certainly do not sell it to third parties.

Can I contact attendees through the Urbano Event Group as a non-member?
Not through the Urbano system. You may have collected a person's business card and have their details. Although we produce an attendee sheet with details of all attendees on it, and your profile and that of your business appear there, Urbano members get exlcusive use of the online tools. These include Contacts, Profile Saving, Exporting, Favourites and Notes.

What do members get on their Dashboard?
Members get more tools. Once logged in, they can see all contact details of other Members and the attendees of the events they have attended. Members can also contact all non-members that have attended the same events as them through Event Groups.

Members are free to contact every other members and can network, share opportunities, pass on information and debate forthcoming developments in their particular sectors.

Members also have a Favourites & Notes function - the star on profiles - which helps them save all the people they have met into once place and make notes about them. A little like the notes you make on business cards and attendee sheets, but then lose.

Members also have exclusive use of of Urbano's Notices system.

What can Urbano members send through Notices?
Urbano Notices are divided into three types - Information, Recommendation or Supplier Request. These can be sent to the audience they think the post suits best All Members, or Event Group, Network Group, sector or Individual Member.

The sender selects the type and target audience. The recipient selects which types of message they receive. But if you want to send, you must receive!

Supplier Requests are a great tool - a chance to send a new work opportunity brief to every member, detailing your supply request. This is like a free tender system where members - and connections of members - are able to pitch for work - and it's free as part of membership to both send and receive these Supplier Requests.

Of course, these are also forwarded to the contacts of Urbano members, but Urbano members see them first and have the upper-hand when pitching to supply as they will have met at events or will have others to recommend them.

Members can also upload their own events to the Urbano calendar - seminars, wine tastings, product launches, conferences etc. They have to be part of the organising team. They can also send out an invite to every member and attendee of an Urbano event! Free!

How do we join?

Send me an email Link below saying 'we want to join Urbano!' and then we can process quickly. Your company gets a nice headstart as its profile is sent to our growing database of members and attendees!

Any other specific questions?

Get in touch through our contact submission form.

Urbano Communities

  • Urbano Business

    Urbano is a connected business community, dedicated to helping our member companies build sustainable futures.

  • Urbano Build

    Networking community for those in architecture, construction, design, engineering, property, proptech, etc

  • Urbano Create

    A networking community for those in branding, marketing, communications, digital, TV, film, and related media and creative sectors.

  • Urbano Finance

    For companies offering investment and other professional advisory services to help companies develop.

  • Urbano Tech

    For those who offer services and solutions across the tech, telecoms, digital, networking, software & IT sectors

  • Urbano Work

    Companies shaping the future of work and the workplace, from office design to leadership development, employee training, and ED&I.

  • Urbano UWACTE

    Urbano Women in Architecture, Construction, Technology & Engineering

Partners