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I was invited to join a local one today by an associate of mine. he stated this group meets once a week to discuss how we can help each other and things like that. Only one person from each profession is allowed in the group and I will fill the HI slot. I have read about these in business books and elsewhere but never knew how to join one. This group has about 60 members with 40 showing up every week at the breakfast.

Do any of you guys belong to one? Has it helped? I can't see any real negatives to joining. The only cost is the $10 per meeting for food. Is there any advice before I goto my first meeting with them? (I already accepted to at least see how it goes)

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Beats the donut game all to heck. It was one of the best things I did early on to get business. It naturally depends on who else is in the group and how you get along with them.

Your best day in the group will be when you get so busy that you'll have to quit the group. Hope that day comes soon for ya.

Advice? Smile a lot, and listen more than you talk.

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I am a member of BNI (Business Networking Intenational). It is all about the people in the group. Some of these groups are great. You can make some good connections with other people in the industry. Referrals do not come over night though. Like any source of referrals you will have to spend time building these contacts. There are also may be resources that you may want to use yourself. The flip side of the coin is that some of these groups can be more of a political or social events. You may be treated as an outsider and thier only interest in you is what buisness you bring to them. It is good you are visiting but if there are other groups out there, seek them out and visit them. Pay attention to who the core members are and are they passing business around or just getting business.

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Originally posted by carle3

I am a member of BNI (Business Networking Intenational). It is all about the people in the group. Some of these groups are great. You can make some good connections with other people in the industry. Referrals do not come over night though. Like any source of referrals you will have to spend time building these contacts. There are also may be resources that you may want to use yourself. The flip side of the coin is that some of these groups can be more of a political or social events. You may be treated as an outsider and thier only interest in you is what buisness you bring to them. It is good you are visiting but if there are other groups out there, seek them out and visit them. Pay attention to who the core members are and are they passing business around or just getting business.

BNI also has a annual fee. It is a franchise and the owner wants to make some $$. I've been in a number of groups. You should float between your local groups to see which ones are the movers and shakers. Anyone can send you biz but look to the naturals. If you don't like them/get along/ or they want a toad you are wasting your time. My wife attends and we get 2 or 3 jobs a month right now.

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You can go to the BNI website and search for groups in the area, there are groups that are breakfast, lunch, and in different areas.

There are probably 15 groups that would be within driving distance for me.

I have visited several, but none seemed like a "fit"

I finally started a group with a few friends that is on a similar format. Bottom line, you get out what you put in. It can be a great way to expand your reach.

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They are what you make them. I was in one of the more known groups, BNI, back in CT, and I started an independent one in AZ a few years back.

I would get about 10-20 inspections a year as a direct result of being in the group. Probably a handful more indirectly.

You'll likely be asked to do a 30 second "commercial". I'd advise you to have something to say that makes an impression on people. Too many speakers get up and rattle off a list of services that no one remembers.

I met a lot of great people in network groups, but like anything else, there are also some worm-holes. Get to know the agent in the group before you align with him/her.

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