Posts Tagged 'BNI'

You Must Be Mad Joining a Networking Group

UKBA Logo HeaderBefore you set your alarm for 5:30 in the morning and set off through the gloom to yet another “Full English” at your local business networking group, why not consider these thoughts before you go?  This month we look at the real value of The Business Network and how you can get the most from them.  After all it’s your warm bed you are leaving behind..
1. Cost – Weigh up the overall financial implication to your business and the likely return you are going to get on your investment. What level of sales would you need to achieve before you broke even on the outlay?
2. Time – Along with the costs associated with networking, there is also amount of hours you spend attending networking events. Consider what time of day works  best for you – time is money after all for any business, so choose events that co-ordinate with the rest of your business activities. How much time are you prepared to spend (can you afford) on networking?
3. Content – What actually happens in the meeting? Is it more of a social
gathering or is there a structure to the event? If so, what does that look
like? Most formal meetings will have a chance for you to introduce your
business.

4. Chair – Who is running the meeting? – And, do they know what they are doing? Whether informal or formal, someone needs to be overall accountable.

5. Credibility – The other thing that springs to mind, is along the lines of
‘what gives the person running the meeting the right to do so’?
That may sound a little odd, but often the networking organisations are franchises or an individual has just decided to start a group without
any specific training in that area, skill to do the job and their main intent is
to just make money out of it.
6. Membership – What is the breakdown of the membership and is it congruent with your business and therefore likely to lead to potential
referrals? Is it limited to business owners or are sales representatives, business development managers, banks, solicitors, etc., welcome?
7. Try Before You Buy – Why is it a lot of meetings only let you come
along once or twice? Are you really going to get a flavour of that meeting
in just a few visits and establish if it will work for your business.

8. Attendance – Do you have to be at every meeting once you have
committed or need to send a ‘stunt double’ if you can’t make it? If you
have an obligation to be at each event this can have an impact on the
overall cost to be involved and the amount of (your valuable) time you
need to contribute. What’s your commitment?
9. Restrictions – Some networking organisations restrict the number of
trades represented to one per group i.e. only one website designer, one
IT specialist, etc. The problem here is just because that particular
business has that ‘slot’, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will relate
to them or that they are the best provider for what they do.
10. Value – Networking is not just about referrals, so consider what
else the organisation you are considering has to offer e.g. online
presence, training, business development videos, guest speakers, etc. Each of these can potentially help you with your business development. What ‘value add’ does the networking group bring to you?

Sc: UKBA; MGBA

Networking. Thats The Way To Increase Sales

Business Network International (BNI) believe that business secured through peer-to-peer referrals has increased by 45% since 2008, well they would, wouldn’t they? They posit that the value of customer introductions made at business networking events rose from £185m in 2008 to £269m in 2011.

Charlie Lawson, national director of BNI, said its members are “embracing a much wider range of networking tools beyond face to face, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, These tools help to develop relationships long after meetings, networking events or making new contacts in the pub.” I like the idea of the pub!

More on the BNI figures

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