What is business networking? It is fundamentally about helping each other in whatever ways we can to make (the right/ best/ most interesting/ [whatever]) contacts to help us achieve business growth. That’s it.
Last summer, real estate agent to the stars Bobbi Levenson asked if I would visit her BNI group. I hesitated. I had been a member of a variety “networking” groups in the past and while socially enjoyable they tended to be a huge time sink with nominal return.
But I like Bobbi and there was food involved, so I agreed. Unbeknownst to me, this group had just launched and only had a hand full of members. And my hesitation seemed justified. A large part of the group was about recruiting –Will you join? Who do you know? Who can you refer? Ugh.
So, I had to think why I would join this group. OK, so I like Bobbi but not enough in itself to justify joining. (Sorry sweetie, love you!)
My reasons –
- Something Different – I have been in business 8 years, my clients come from the same places and I only tend to market when I am done with the current projects. Typical small business dilemma – we are too busy to network until we are not too busy, then we are scrounging around for the next project. BNI would ensure at the very least there would be an ongoing networking effort.
- Get Out of the House – Many small business owners work from home and don’t get to interact with any co-workers. It gets a little stir crazy. As Coach Sharna Fey noted – “This allows me to get dressed and talk to adults.”
- Business Karma – BNI calls it the “Giver’s Gain” concept but I like to think of it as Business Karma. You are helping a group of like-minded business owners grow their business.
- Power Groups – As business owners, we naturally have a referral base within our industries. Our clients come to us for Web Development and eCommerce solutions. These same clients need copy, PR, photography, graphic design. I can go to my Power Team and know I am referring my clients to quality service providers.
I joined and it has been a great experience. I have gotten new business, developed strategic relationships with other service providers and eaten lots of food!
To learn more about BNI 3.0 check out the BNI 3.0 Fan Page on Facebook. If you like to join us as a guest – feel free to drop me a note email@example.com
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