Strategy Plus started 2007 in a secluded office on the Aston Science park, surrounded by medium sized businesses, not interested in mingling with others. After a couple of years passing each other in the car park and coffee shop without a hello, we decided to move to the Jewellery Quarter. A slightly less glamorous office but surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands of small businesses.
The potential to build our customer base was obvious but after a few months of knocking on doors and leaflet dropping, we realised this was no way to build relationships. Our wondering around door to door did however work in one way. I happened to bump into Rich Morris, an old Uni friend, printer and now a BNI member!
One thing led to another and a few months later I became a BNI member myself. I could see the potential of meeting the same business people every week. This was the only real way I could build relationships with well established businesses in the area.
I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan of the 6.30 start, 60 second pitches, point system and the perceived pressure to pass referrals every week. Yet here I am today renewing for the 10th year! After a year or so I realised the rules and regulations were the key factors as to why BNI is the most successful networking organisation in the world.
Every year when it’s time to renew I think to myself, like every business decision, is this is a good idea? I didn’t just weigh up up the investment of time and money against the new revenue received each year. I’m also very aware that I get more than the £20k of new business, I also have the benefit of the expertise around the room. It’s very handy having your HR consultant, Graphic Designer and accountant in the same room once a week.
The fact is I wouldn’t give up our seat for five times the membership fee……..just don’t tell BNI head office this.
Ps. I’m also happy to Say Rich Morris is still a member, no ones actually know hows long he’s been a member.