When we talk of mixed use business parks, there’s two different ways of looking at this. At one end of the scale there’s a variety of white collar business (you know the type; slick looking business parks with manicured landscapes and impressive looking modern architecture) housing what is essentially a variety of office spaces.
And then there’s the older, mixed use business parks (frequently found on industrial estates). Here, the differences between tenants is greater. The range spans light industrial through to storage to workshops and office and clerical.
Really, there’s no hard and fast rule as to which scenario is better for networking. Although logic would suggest that the wider the range of tenants, the greater the chance that you might find benefits to any cross fertilisation. All we would say is- try to meet your neighbours. Then find out if you can help them and whether they can help you.
When networking its only natural to think ‘what can I get out of this interation’ Thinking this way, paradoxically, means that its unlikely you’ll gain any advantage from any interactions.
Why might this be? When networking, the most successful are the networkers who have the attitude – ‘what value can I bring to this interaction’. This is because this mindset is open to any opportunities which might present itself during the conversation. I suppose this reflects another truism: seek first to understand, then be understood.
Quite simply, anyone and everyone on your mixed use business park. Your greatest obstacle will be your (frequently incorrect) assumptions. Will this neighbour be a suitable individual to network with.
You need to get past that and recognise that just because (for instance) your business is white collar and some of your neighbours are involved with light industry, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to help one another.
Remember, networking is all about the connections that individuals have – its their networks you are trying to tap into at the end of the day.
The beauty (and benefits) of interacting and meeting tenants who own wholly different businesses from you can throw up some surprising benefits. At the very least, the potential for direct competition will be low, by definition.
But there is something quite special about finding a solution or opportunity right on your doorstep. So what are you waiting for?
Why not resolved to make this week the week to meet your neighbours, or better still, why not ask your landlord to arrange a ‘meet and greet’ networking meeting on your business park. Who knows what future productive connections and relationships will come out of this.