Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"Growing Your Business with Referrals"

In previous posts, I've discussed many ways to grow your business through referrals; some of them include offering incentive programs for customers, teaming up with other business owners in your field - however not in competition with you, and even joining your local Chamber of Commerce.

I've come across another, and I think it's well worth the small yearly investment to become a member!

Business Network Int'l (or BNI) is an internationally based organization that helps small business owners build their business through a referral network of other business owners. Most major metropolitan areas have local chapters, and some such as Orlando, have several. (We have 7!)

The premise is built on the fact that if you know, and hang out with, a select group of business owners every couple of weeks, you'll be able to refer people you come across to them, who need their services. (And, of course, in return they'll do the same for you.)

Unlike your local Chamber of Commerce, these chapters only allow one representative per field. This way there is no competition within the group! For example, Royall Media creates influential marketing media - we create videos, print materials, and web sites. No one else in my chapter does this, and no one else will be allowed to join my chapter that does, so long as I am a member.

Yearly dues are $295.00, and the group meets about once a month. Depending on your type of business, one referral can easily help you to recoup the yearly investment.

Check out the international BNI website, and find your local chapter. When I joined, they even let me come to a few meetings without paying dues, just to check it out. With the free trial, what do you have to loose?


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