BUSINESSES in Chichester have demonstrated the power of networking.
In the past year, members of the Chichester branch of BNI (Business Network International) have generated £247,550 through referrals, according to their website.
The BNI is an international organisation with different groups, known as chapters, throughout the world.
“I joined BNI three years ago when I set up SME Advisor, my own HR and health and safety consultancy,” said Paul Beard, Chichester BNI’s membership secretary.
“I’d been involved with BNI before while working for another firm and so it wasn’t a difficult decision.
“It really works for me as week by week I educate my co-members about what I do and they regularly introduce me to their contacts, which has resulted in me benefiting from more than £30,000 of business each year since.”
The group said there was no competition from members as the group was structured around having just one representative from each profession, so no two businesses will be identical.
Members claim this allows businesses to develop ‘strong personal relationships that lead to trust’, with ‘the entire charter membership acting as your sales force, actively looking for work to refer to you’.
The group has 23 members and recruited five members in the past six months.
With membership spaces available, the chapter is seeking representatives from other professions to join and pass business to.
“Business is literally going begging at the moment,” said Paul. “Where we don’t have someone to introduce potential customers to, business is being lost. We have a number of available spaces for new members at the moment.”
Current vacancies include: office supplies, printer supplier, estate agent, letting agent, florist, architect, pest control, garage door supplier, travel agent, garden maintenance, bookkeeper, fire safety, blinds and shutters, surveyor, medical insurer, interior designer, locksmith, flooring, car valet, web design, physiotherapist, photographer and caterer.
The group meets every Thursday from 6.45am-8.30am at the Chichester Park Hotel. Visitors are welcomed, so text, call or email Paul Beard on 07787 557256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.