FAQs about Urbano Network's networking events and membership

What is Urbano Network?
Urbano Network is London's most innovative business network, with a diverse calendar of weekly networking events - a mix of networking business breakfast events with amazing speakers, networking lunches and monthly evening events (all Urbano's networking events are held all in central London) and a unique set of online networking tools to create connections between hundreds of businesses.

Who runs 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.

How does that make the networking at Urbano Network unique?
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'.

What is value exchange?
Urbano Network is a networking community with a variety of mechanisms to allow individuals and businesses to pass on value to others in the network and receive value in return. Urbano is a catalyst to personal and business opportunities, both online and face-to-face through quality networking events. 

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.

What does this mean practically?
Urbano Network believes every company and the people who run them, regardless of size, sector, age, experience and position on the business cycle can benefit from meeting and exchanging their ideas, stories and connections - 'value exchange'.

It is by being friendly and encouraging all attendees to be 'open' that new business opportunities arise through Urbano Network.

Urbano Network's range of networking events means over a year you will meet every type of business person: designer, geek, social media guru, rich fossil, flip-flop wearing start-up, pin-striped investor, Muslim with a beard, Jew in a yarmulke, CEO of 5, manager of 500, director of 5,000, creative, professional, corporate, philanthropist, journalists and editors, strategists and sales people.

And that was just last month.

What can I expect at an Urbano Network networking  event?

You arrive and you are greeted with an attendee sheet with everyone's details on it. Everyone is made to feel welcome and you will soon be enjoying a friendly conversation and finding your feet amongst the others at the event.

The networking is lightly facilitated but where we look for people that we think may be especially relevant to you. You can also use the netwrking event's attendee sheet to make sure you get to meet those businesses who, on face value, seem to offer you the best or most direct business opportunities.

But you will also be encouraged - quietly, with grace and humour - to meet everyone, even your competitors. The conversations at Urbano Network's networking events are easily made and lots of people use words like 'fun' and enjoyable' after each networking event. 

But there is also a serious side. Urbano Network tries to get as diverse a mix as possible at its networking events to make the networking itself lively, effective and productive.

Here are some pictures taken at recent networking events: London networking events

Who attends Urbano Network's networking events?
Here is a list of companies represented at one of our evening networking events:

Accountants - PR agency - Personal trainer - Recruitment agency - Graphic design agency - Property consultant - City venue - Specialist printers - TV/Film graphics producers - Waste management consultants - Secretarial suppliers - Copywriter - Brand agency - Builder - Office fitters - IT agency - Capital investors - Business advisors - Photographer - Telecoms supplier - Property investment advisors - Architect - Lawyers - Dealmakers

A few duplicates have been left out - yes, the same type of company can attend the same events - but you get the picture. you will meet around 60 different representatives of over 50 companies, from PLCs to SMEs, corporates and creatives.

But each networking event and the businesses there are always different. It depends on what time of day, the speaker, the area, the month, day of the week and the weather. With Urbano, you are not forced to come so the people there want to be there. This means every event is different and the opportunities wider.

One last thing. People often comment on the diverse mix. This is usually because they have experience of other networks, which usually have a lot of smaller one-man band type businesses, or the Chambers, which is where large corporates send their staff.

Urbano brings together company directors, business owners and managers - from corporate to SME. You won't find pushy salesmen types (see above). We like nice people who want to do business.

If that describes you, you can attend. If you are not sure, book. If you've read this far down, who are we to turn you away?

What types of networking events does Urbano Network run?
Urbano Network hosts at least one networking event per week. Each week, you can attend a business breakfasts, or a networking lunch or an evening networking event.

Usually, in any given month, there will be at least one lunch, sometimes two; two business breakfasts and one networking evening.

All Urbano events are hosted by Urbano Host Partners - quality conference centres, hotels, restaurants, bars and other interesting venues. Events are always held in Central London, from Mayfair and Westminster to the City of London and Clerkenwell, W1 to EC4, SE1 to W3. No further. And always close to a tube station. 

Urbano business networking breakfasts
Urbano business networking breakfasts are like stripped back mini-conferences where speakers with expertise or experience are invited to address audiences of business people on specific themes. 

Rather than paying £395 to hear six speakers, take a day out of the office to get a numb bum, and all you get to do is put your business card into the top pocket of the guy who made the keynote address, Urbano has created its popular business breakfasts that are an affordable, informal slice of conferencing where the emphasis is on networking and connections.

All our business breakfasts have the same format: Coffee/pastries - networking - presentation - networking. They last about 2 - 2.5 hours and usually start at 8am. The presentation lasts 30 minutes and there is plenty of time for a Q&A (5 minutes) and more networking.

The events are 'themed' around the six Networking Groups of Urbano: Business, Finance, People, Create, Build & Host.

Any business can attend any event but obviously if you are in construction you will be especially interested in the Urbano Build events. However, if you are in construction, you may also be interested in sourcing finance or investment (Finance), growth strategy (Business), HR issues (People), software developments (Create) or even introductions to potential clients (every Urbano event).

Breakfasts usually attract anything from 25 - 60 attendees, depending on the theme and speaker.

Urbano breakfast event speakers have included:
- Peter Barron - Google's Head of External Affairs
- John Roberts, Ford UK's HR Director
- Ben Heald, CEO - Sift Media
- Modwenna Rees-Mogg, Founder of Angel News
- Richard Gillies, Director of Plan A & Sustainable Business, Marks & Spencer
- Lara Morgan, Entrepreneur who sold her business for £20M
- Mark Bew - Chair of UK Government's BIM Group
- Daniel Hopwood - Presenter on BBC2's Interior Design Challenge
- George Clarke - Architect and Presenter of C4's Amazing Spaces & Restoration Man 

Urbano networking lunches
We hold two a month at some of London's best restaurants and hotels - not upstairs at pubs. All Urbano events are open to anyone and though we choose great venues, the emphasis is on the networking, not the lunch. You usually choose one dish from a special menu of host specialities (one meat, one fish, one veggie) and also included in the entry is a glass of wine or soft drink.

You only sit down to eat and the events start at 12.30 and are over by 2.30. Urbano networking lunches are nice because we limit them to 36 attendees so you meet everyone and the atmosphere is relaxed and convivial. 

Urbano networking evenings - exclusive and free for Members-Only
There is an evening event every month, free and exclusively for members only. Evening events are lively and fun. We attract 60-80 representatives from accross our membership (that's our cap - any higher and it's not networking). You get complimentary drinks and canapes, although the emphasis is on informal yet faciliated networking. The range of businesses is fantastic and we always try to ensure you get to meet everyone there.

Evening events usually start at 6 and finish at 8.30.

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?
We list current rates for attendees on the site. Masterclasses are more. The system will charge you the correct rate as it applies to you. If in any doubt, email the office.

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 £24 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

How much is membership?
Details on the benefits of Urbano membership, and the individual monthly membership for small companies or individuals who solely represent companies, are available via the link.

Urbano Membership 

Does our company join Urbano Build/People/Finance etc?
No, you join Urbano Network. The six Networking Groups (Business/Finance/People/Build/Create/Host) are online groups for members plus also form the headline banner for relevant speaker events.

But we do not limit membership or event attendance. Build events, such as with Wayne Hemingway in January will be primarily aimed at those in the Build sectors, but also interest designers, those in fashion, business people interested in changing roles etc. This is why our events are diverse and the attendees always interesting to others.

Are there any discounts available on event fees or membership for charities?
Our fees are incredibly cheap compared to other networking groups - mainly because we run a very lean organisation. Our aim is to encourage all sizes and kinds of companies at various stages of their business growth to meet, connect and build lasting, valuable relationships. By keeping our event and membership fees affordable, we can achieve this.

However, we do offer registered charities a reduced Company Membership rate of £295 (with the same benefits).

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

The only exception to the standard membership fee of £395 is for PLCs in the banking, financial, insurance and telecom sectors. These memberships are negotiated on a case-by-case basis so contact the office for details. This does not affect introductory event attendance on a non-member basis.

There's only me - do I have to pay the fee in one go?
No. For small companies or for individuals who will represent that company, you can pay for your annual membership monthly (£25 + VAT). Monthly payees are the only representative who can register online and attend events on that company's behalf (for that payment). This membership can be transferred during the year to allow for staff changes.

Is there any restriction on how many events I can attend before joining?
Yes. Usually two. But if someone has used up your company's quote we will allow a decision-maker (director or similar) to attend a further event to discuss Urbano with us.

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.

What is the difference between Company and Personal profiles?
Urbano assumes the Company and Personal profile of the first event attendee are the same and auto-completes.

But there may be differences - Linked Company and Personal profiles for instance.
But especially for larger companies, people have different roles and will attend different events (HR for PR agencies go to People events) so they have different Personal profiles.

At an event, the short Company Description is used on the datasheet but it is the actual attendee's Personal Profile you see in the Event Group. You can click through to the Company's profile through a link (see 'Members' on website - it's the same view).

You can complete and edit Profiles through your Dashboard. Just logon. And add a photo. How else will we remember who you were?

Can I contact event attendees through Urbano 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 I control the Notices I get from Urbano?
Once you have attended an Urbano event, you will be sent invitations to future events. There are two or three Urbano event invites sent out per week. For most events, we send out invites two weeks and two days ahead of the event.

In addition, you will receive New Member Notices, New Event Notices, Member Event Invites and some occasional Urbano admin stuff.

Everyone can login and edit their settings through their Dashboard. You can choose just to accept messages from those in your Event Groups for instance. But it takes a second to delete each message and you may miss your next new business opportunity.

You can also ask to be deactivated. But do you remember how sad and forlorn the Daleks looked when this happened to them?

But we just want you to be happy so do it without question.

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?

Please email them to the Team at Urbano Network.

Contact Team Urbano

Urbano Communities

  • Urbano Business

    Business strategy and vision - hear and meet successful entrepreneurs and business leaders

  • Urbano Finance

    Business, corporate and personal finance - connecting those who seek it to investors and advisors

  • Urbano People

    Networking and events for those in HR, recruitment, training, development, talent management, and wellbeing.

  • Urbano Build

    Business community and events for property, construction, design, built environment, architecture, planning, BIM, and related sectors

  • Urbano Media

    A networking community for those TV, film, animation, advertising, publishing and other media.

  • Urbano Host

    Bringing together those in hospitality, tourism, leisure, bars and restaurants, food and drink

  • Urbano Tech

    For those who work across the tech sectors, from digital and apps to hardware and software solutions

  • Urbano Health

    For those in the health sectors, including workplace wellbeing, medical and support

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