A BUSINESS writer has launched a book about networking – just as the coronavirus crisis makes physical gatherings impossible.

But Joanne Dewberry says her second book, Networking A Successful Small Business, is timely.

The Bournemouth-based author says the network she has built up has helped her through recent months.

She said: “It might seem like a peculiar time in which to launch a book about networking when we aren’t able to leave our homes or be within two metres of people but having run various networking groups and events since 2009, I know without my network I wouldn’t have got through the past few months.”

She added: “Small business networking has amassed a bit of a bad reputation – think suits and awkward conversations in a room full of people trying to sell to you. You can see why people tend to avoid it.

“However, the correct type of networking is not only vital but also an inexpensive tool for your small business.”

She runs Lemur Linkup Networking Group, based at Lemur Landings in Tower Park, Poole, with Jackie Richmond. She previously set up and ran the party supplies business Charlie Moo’s.

She also organises monthly team-building socials and “netwalking” – networking walks – for self-employed small business owners and freelancers.

She added: “Once you get to know people, conversations naturally and organically turn to business, sales and collaboration. The key is in the getting to know you part not the sales part.”

The book covers: why a business needs to network; how to find and prepare for networking events; communication and body language; developing and building relationships; networking labels; the question of “What kind of a networker are you?”; and networking goals and collaborations.

It contains quotes and anecdotes from small business owners.

Susan Odev, author of Mum Ultrapreneur, said of the book: “Honest, practical and packed full of good ideas. I love the focus on wellbeing and long term relationships. So relevant for all freelancers and small business owners, but especially mums.”

The book is available in paperback and for Kindle devices.