Best business networking groups in Dundee – Reviewed

As always, this review has to be absolutely fair and we have rules and criteria.

I conduct all my research on my computer and only use Google to find the groups. We’ll be taking a deeper look into their websites as well as their social media. We’ll provide all the links to these and all the information is freely available to you. We don’t include paid ads in these reviews, this is to give you the most honest and accurate information and the best way is through organic search results. 

As a final note, I haven’t personally attended these networking groups. I’m doing this research based on you, “the buyer”, looking for the right service based on online research.

Guidelines for reviewing Dundee business networking groups

The criteria –I asked our own community – small to medium-sized businesses with a range of years and experience of networking – what the top 3 factors they would take into consideration when looking for a networking group. Here are the most popular that we will use as criteria for reviewing each group:

  1. Consistency of meeting
  2. The structure of the meetings
  3. How much it costs
  4. The type of businesses that attend
  5. The benefits

I’ve gone for 5 factors to give you a more accurate and well-rounded review of each business networking group in the Fife area.

Who are we not including?

I won’t be including CMA in these reviews as that wouldn’t make the review fair. 

Business Gateway will not be included in this review as their main focus is workshops. Of course, you can network at a workshop, and chances are you’ll find a lot in common with the businesses that attend these workshops. Business Gateway also provides a list of local networking groups that you can check out here.

Dundee Angus and Chamber – I couldn’t find any networking events they put on themselves and their event listing page… well it includes a lot of things but they don’t make dates very clear so there is a lot of out of date stuff on that list. Avoid or enter at your own pearl.

My own personal opinion – These reviews will be based upon my own personal opinion based on the research I have completed. 

So, Dundee, show us what you’ve got!

What are the best networking groups in Dundee?

In no particular order, we’ll be reviewing:

The Circle

The Circle are not like you’re average networking group where you are part of a membership. Anyone is free to attend any events as they please. When I said FREE, yes please, their networking events are free. Bonus! All they ask is that you buy a wee tea or coffee from their cafe to support it’s running. A fair trade if you ask me.

They are currently running their Summer networking sessions – it’s not clear if they continue these throughout the year.

The summer networking sessions are every two weeks on a Wednesday from 9:30am – 10:30am. Short and sweet that doesn’t take up too much of your time.

I had to find these events on Eventbrite – Google is bumping up listed events on Google to the no.1 place. Lucky I found them because when I went to their website, to the events section, it says they have no upcoming events. Lies! You are hosting plenty of events, get this sorted team – let’s give your consumers all the info they need.

It’s not clear what types of businesses attend these events – I couldn’t find a list anywhere. With it being free, I reckon you’ll find a fair mix. This is good to know and The Circle should be giving you an idea of this on their website – which they are currently not doing.

I couldn’t find any info on the structure of their meetings. It doesn’t look like they have any. Turn up, do your thing and meet people in the area. It’s a free-for-all!

Benefits – Again, not clear. Meeting local people is a plus to build out your network. There’s no telling what this will do for you and sales. You’re going to have to do some extra work here to find people that would be a good fit for you and let others be aware of you. You might get lucky, you might find any help you need. Depends on what your goals are. There’s no telling if these events will help you achieve those goals or how they have helped people previously. 

Oh, wait… found something on their Facebook page. Some comments about their networking event (not sure who they are from).

I found these comments on The Circle’s Facebook Page

These comments don’t really tell what the event is like at all. Seems they are more about The Circle itself. Coffee -great, Space-great, came for an interview… what has this to do with the networking event?! What about the people in the group? What about the problems solved for customers? What about how the networking event has helped them grow as a business? C’mon now, let’s not be silly and get to the point.

There you have it, The Circle needs to do a bit more work on providing better info for you.

Ding ding, round 2…

Dundee Walk n Talk

I was on the fence about whether to put these guys in or not. I decided to put them in based because it doesn’t break the rules giving you another option as I only have one more networking group to add out of what I found. 

And Stephen puts these on consistently and it’s a bit different.

I found them on Eventbrite with no website. It looks like the organiser Stephen puts these on as a side project which is cool. 

As their name states it is literally walking whilst networking. It’s different and I like that it’s trying to step out the norm. 

Stephen puts these on once a month on a Wednesday starting at 12:30pm. The dates differ every month.

It’s a two-mile walk around Dundee’s waterfront (excellent choice!) that lasts around 1 hour and is, of course, weather dependent.

That’s all the info I could find on the event. No website, no social media groups, no telling what businesses attend. Assuming it doesn’t have a structure – just walk and talk, and no idea of how it benefits others. It’s up to you if you want to spend a lunch break trying it out. Stephen we’d love more info – why should we attend? What problems could this help us solve? Tell us more!

BNI Dundee: Synergy and Ultimate

These guys are everywhere, aren’t they? I’ve written a full review on BNI before in the Fife networking groups blog so check it out for a detailed view of my findings –  the information here will be similar with a slight tweak in local information for you. 

There are two groups in Dundee, I have no idea why. It could be capacity but we’ll look at them both.

What do we know about BNI so far?

It’s a referral group – you’ll need to pitch your business and refer others in the group.

It requires a membership that costs a fair bit of dosh – say goodbye to £400-£600 a year to be part of this one.

It’s structured, it has rules… and when I say rules, I mean full-blown laws to adhere to or say tata to your membership.

Let’s get to the local part.

BNI Synergy (Dundee)

BNI Synergy meets every Thursday at 6:30am at The Woodlands Hotel in Broughty Ferry. The meetings last for 2 hours.

There are 34 members in this group – full list here. I wouldn’t say it’s a wide variety of businesses – there are a fair few trades in there. If you’re in the property business then it could be a good shout.

The benefits – They passed a fair whack of money these past 12 months. Over £1million is good going. But wait… I’ve just had an epiphany… one that I didn’t realise when I was doing the Fife review. What does “passed” actually mean?

Borrowed from BNI Synergy (Dundee) page

Sneaky marketing there BNI.

Passed doesn’t mean that the amount of money stated in the image has been made collectively between the businesses. It means that’s the total amount of what the leads were worth in the last 12 months. So, we don’t know how much of that actually turned into a sale. And that’s what counts right? 

What they do state is that “BNI members, on average, increase their business 20% the first year.” They also said that in the Fife one too. And Edinburgh, Perth, Glasgow, Northumbria, Manhattan.  Do you see where I’m going with this? The average 20% growth is of all members combined in the entire BNI membership around the world. Over 240,000 members. Your a needle in the haystack trying to determine if this will really grow your business.

Now, average local growth would be a much better statistic but sorry, I couldn’t get that for you.

Their Facebook page is kept up-to-date with all the happenings in the group and looks like it’s fairly active. There are no reviews there, unfortunately.

BNI Ultimate (Dundee)

BNI Ultimate meet at 6:30am every Wednesday at The Hampton by Hilton.

There are 14 members in this group – so definitely smaller than Synergy. Check out the member’s list here.

I couldn’t find any solid information as to the major differences in these groups apart from they meet in a different place, on a different day, with a different group of people. I don’t know why the other group is busier than this group. Synergy might be a better group?

What have they passed in this group?

Borrowed from BNI Ultimate (Dundee) page

A fair whack less than the Synergy group. C’mon Ultimate group, you can do better!

It looks like they keep their Facebook Page up-to-date and this one actually has some reviews. Check them out:

Reviews of BNI Ultimate (Dundee)

It would be good to see some more up-to-date reviews. Or maybe reviews that share how BNI has helped grow their business? Maybe some figures? You don’t need to go too deep, just the percentage is fine 🙂 

Business networking in Dundee – what’s the best group for you?

So, the business networking group scene is pretty dire in Dundee. Your options are limited. If it helps, I know there tends to be the occasional decent networking event in Dundee and the best place to keep an eye on these would be good ol’ Eventbrite. And if your a networking group based in Dundee reading this, you’ve got a lot of work to do to help these people out. You need to be found on Google because they are looking for you. You need to share information online about what they need to know about your events. See criteria above!

I’m really struggling for a recommendation here but based on what we know most about a group it’s got to be BNI. They are giving you at least some information of what you can gain by joining them, they tell you who is in the groups and they host the most consistent meetings out of everyone. You can go along, give it go and get a feel for the group so please do that before committing to their few hundred pounds a year membership. Or you can check out Eventbrite for the odd event that pops up from other organisers. Or, even better, head to a workshop, learn something you need to know to help you grow your business and meet people there.

Thank you Dundee. It’s been a pleasure. 

Where can I review next? Oh go on then, Perth here I come!

Side-note: Ladies, as I’m on this research escapade for best networking groups in Scotland I’m well aware of the increase of women-only networking groups. It’s only fair that I do this a separate blog to keep it as fair as possible as I wanted to keep these inclusive. As a bonus to help you out, I’ll write up an extra blog on Women networking groups in Scotland to help you out.

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About Nicola Crawford

Marketing PA at the Content Marketing Academy.
In business, I believe in people first.
Mum to two crazy kids, Alaina and Morgan.
Green belt in Shotokan Karate.
Always learning, always growing.