Business Networking Groups

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by knox gsl, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,251

    I'm wanting to know how many of you are members of these networking groups like BNI and REO. There are others but these are some of the more popular ones. I would like to know if these organizations are effective and what to expect as far as membership requirements of attendance and cost.
  2. New Leaf Maint

    New Leaf Maint LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I belong to one called Letip. The dues do cost a bit and it does require some time but overall it has been worth it for me. I maintain the lawns for two members of the group and do small stuff for others and I also got the HOA maintenance/mowing common areas that one of the members lives in and am starting my second year maintaining it.
  3. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,251

    I just looked into them more and have a group near me. They seem to be about the same price, but my hang up on these groups is that I need to be there every week. I travel alot during the winter and during the spring and summer its kind of hard to stop for the day to go to a mid day meeting during dressed for business while other things are sitting on hold. All these groups seem to be a good enviorment for networking and getting me out of my comfort zone.
  4. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    I'm in BNI, and it's paying off huge. There are two big things you need to consider first, though. 1) are you enough of a rockstar that you're bringing something to the group? By that I mean quality of work, diversity of what you do, and the size of your network(s) from which you can bring referrals? And 2) can you make every meeting? BNI doesn't screw around. More than three absences in a six month period and you're gone.

    If you can find an early morning meeting that could be the way to go. I used to be in a chapter that met at noon, and it killed my entire day. My current one meets at 730 am and it's great, still leaves me the day.
  5. New Leaf Maint

    New Leaf Maint LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    The mid day meeting would be hard. Ours is at seven AM and for me isn't the best :sleeping: but at least it doesn't get in the way of work. The attendance requirements can be strict depending on how your local chapter of any group enforces it. Mine is fairly lax. However the more your there and contribute to the others the more you will get out of the group IMO.
  6. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I'm part of BNI and it's been a big payoff for me.

    Our region offers a sub-list so if you need to miss a meeting, you can look at the sub-list and find someone to fill in who might be a member in another group.

    Or you can have someone from you business, or even a friend to sub for you.

    The reason for the attendance policy is givers gain. If you are dedicated enough to keep your attendance, then other in the group see your dedication and will trust you more as a quality member.
  7. WheatBookkeeping

    WheatBookkeeping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    Guys, you are all probably already aware that any costs associated with the mentioned networking groups is a legitimate business deduction. So, remember to document and retain everything.
  8. LawnsRUsInc.

    LawnsRUsInc. LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 916

    I think those groups can be good if A. you have the time to spend 2 hrs at a meeting or B. You have other sales reps from your company that you can rotate the schedule. Me personally I didnt like the feeling to have to sell for others on a weekly basis. But to gain 2-3 accounts I feel there is much better routes to go for more work. Worry about #1 your biz not others.
  9. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    It's not like you're going out prospecting for the other members. You just keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to connect people. Oh, you're looking to do a sunroom addition as part of this project? Let me introduce you to this great architect/remodeler I work with. Not sure about financing? Here's an awesome mortgage guy who can help you pull money out of a refi. It's that simple.

    What ends up happening is your customers realize that you're a heck of a resource, which a) elevates you in their eyes and b) encourages them to stay in contact with you after the job is done. It takes me no time at all to respond to an email and send someone a name and phone number, and in so doing you've built good will with the customer and the person you referred them to.

    The advantage to you is getting access to the other members' networks. Now, if you're in a small area and you already know the other members, it's probably not worth it.
  10. jdutcher003

    jdutcher003 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 181

    Does a group like BNI cost money to join? Sounds interesting to me and I think there is a group in my town

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