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Anyone a member of BNI?

(6 Posts)
whistlestopcafe Mon 08-Oct-12 14:27:54

Hi, just wondered if anyone is a member of the above networking group and how you are finding it. How do subscription networking groups differ to the free groups?

TIA

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 11-Oct-12 10:35:33

Hi

I don't have experience myself (which is ideally what you are looking for I know) but a few people I know are members. The printer near me says it is by far her best networking group and she belongs to a few. She gets up at 4am to goes to hers!

I also met up with an ex consultant who went back to work after a year, but she also said it was very good. And she in particular liked the structure.

And the VA I use goes to her local one & tweets about it a lot.

From what I know about it, it works well for services that have a wide appeal. So accountancy, VA, insurance types etc. If you do something really niche I wonder how well it would work.

I personally am scared don't want the pressure of having to develop leads for others in addition to my own. I appreciate they will do it back, but it all sounded a bit full on for me.

I think the general idea behind the paid for groups is there is more obligation to develop business. And there is some restriction on who else attends, which you won't get at a general free for all. So you would be the only person that does x.

However, I have been to a few of the women only meetings and it just seemed like naice ladies swopping services. I got the sense it was more about developing a network of colleagues/support rather than red hot business leads, but each to their own.

Not sure if that helps. What is your line of business?

MML

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 11-Oct-12 10:37:27

And what I would say and as you might already know most groups welcome you along for a first session without having to commit to the full one membership fee. I would definately try a few. I found they all had a different feel.

Good luck.

whistlestopcafe Thu 11-Oct-12 11:15:27

Thanks Margo. I'm in HR. I think I might try a few of the free groups first before committing to something like the BNI. It is quite a daunting thought securing business leads for other businesses! This might be easier when I am more established.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 11-Oct-12 12:33:52

Free is always appealing! Have a poke around www.eventbrite.com when people use it to manage their online bookings their events appear in the calendar/search, you never know who will be offering what.

I think the key is to find networks where your likely clients are going to be - which I know sounds obvious (and very simple - which it isn't!) but is something I struggle with. In my head I want to be supporting local businesses with marketing support, but actually I have a particular niche which is better paid (as the orgs are generally bigger) so really I ought to stay away from the local networking groups, but I still find myself drawn to them!!

I have found (outside of my niche) that lots of networking events are full of people like myself, sole-traders, who generally have limited budgets. Having said that, I have rarely found networking a waste of time, you always find out something interesting/make a least a connection. It isn't always about a red hot lead etc.

I have always wondered if the Chamber of Commerce might be a more fertile ground for finding slightly bigger SME's, as the fee is a couple of hundred so you must be doing ok to afford that I think.

I am guessing if you are in HR you are either offering outsourced HR support or training. So your audience is prob SME owners. Further down the line maybe you could pair up with a complementary service provider (eg an accountant) and set up your own networking event. That is what my accountant has done!

Anyway, good luck.

whistlestopcafe Thu 11-Oct-12 17:08:22

Thank you Margo that is great advice! smile

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