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How Leeds based companies can take advantage of the community and growing economy

As the largest centre outside of London for financial and business services, Leeds generates £56bn for the UK economy each year. Drawing some of the UK’s biggest business names, from Asda Group and First Direct to Centrica and BT, Leeds offers serious commercial opportunities for businesses of all sizes – not least startups.
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So how can Leeds based companies take advantage of the business community and growing economy the city has to offer? Here are my top five New Year resolutions every start-up in the city should consider for the year ahead:

(1) Negotiating networking

We all know it’s important, but how many of us do it, and how many do it well? With so much on offer across the city, it can be difficult to get a grasp of what’s working and for who! As with any business, different audiences require different needs – so it’s important to consider your target market when opting for a specific networking event.

Whether you choose to host your own intimate networking lunch in one of Leeds’ serviced office spaces – such as Stonebridge’s, which overlooks Park Square, or opt for a pre-arranged networking evening; the key to success is to ensure the people you need to connect with are in attendance.

To check out the latest business events on offer, visit either Leeds Chamber of Commerce or Eventbrite.

(2) Get social!

We’re a lucky bunch in Yorkshire – with such a proactive business community, it’s really easy to build your networks both on and offline by utilising the power of social media. Whether you’re joining the conversation on Twitter via #YorkshireHour to showcase your offering and share advice, or utilising the power of Leeds based LinkedIn Groups – such as The Yorkshire Enterprise Network – the Leeds business community is online and readily accessible.

(3) Appearance matters

Leeds has the most diverse economy of all the UK’s main employment centres and has seen the fastest rate of private sector jobs growth of any UK city. The reason – there’s plenty of enthusiastic start-ups racing to the top to achieve business success. To stand out from the crowd, ensure you look and play the part by utilising a cost effective solution to office space – whether you’re taking advantage of a virtual office or you want to move to the city to help develop your business growth – selecting a hassle free serviced office solution is a great way to present a professional image to your clients.

(4) Get involved

Leeds Business Week has grown from strength to strength over the past years and in 2016 it’s likely to become even more popular. Traditionally held in October, Leeds Business Week provides professionals from across the city with an opportunity to unite and innovate together – for startups in particular it’s an excellent way to discover new suppliers, build links with new clients and put your business in the spotlight.

(5) Connect, connect, connect

Having followed steps one to four, you now look the part, you have a great pool of connections and you’re pretty good at telling them all about what you’ve been up to. Now’s the time to reap what you’ve sown – Leeds based businesses are savvy, so connect with your peers for advice, connections and most importantly business!

Whether you do a like for like job by sharing expertise or you help to drive more money into the economy via big Leeds based business wins – one thing’s for sure, by connecting with what this fantastic city has to offer, you’ll help to further develop and grow your business offering.

Dave Sunter is business development manager at Stonebridge Offices

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