BUY LOCAL: Gladstone's Biggest Ever Network Meeting provided a great opportunity for local businesses to network with other businesses they would not usually have the chance to talk to.

However, it was the number of new, diverse businesses that attended the event that was so surprising.

The event saw new computer, construction, health and many other businesses in attendance.

Also among the 141 attendees were various home-based businesses including the Homework Fairy, as well as massage and yoga companies.

It was incredibly inspiring to be able to talk to people with the ambition to set up their new business ventures.

There were also a number of people new to the region who were super enthusiastic and motivated to make their business successful.

With new businesses come new competitors for existing businesses of the same kind.

While owners may view this as having a negative impact on their businesses, there are also a lot of positives from having new competitors.

Having to compete with new businesses means that existing companies are kept on their toes, and are constantly having to improve so that their clients stick with them.

Having competition also means there is a price control on products and services, both locally and online.

Businesses must also work diligently on their business and marketing plans in order to stay ahead of the game.

If you were unable to make it to Gladstone's Biggest Ever Network Meeting then be sure to get your tickets for the next time one rolls around.

It is one of the most effective and cheapest marketing strategies.

Some people did business, some made arrangements to meet again while others exchanged contact details.

The room buzzed with conversation and people having fun networking.