For most SME’s marketing and sales can be a daunting prospect. Cold calls are not much fun; in fact many dread the thought. Posting on social media is great, but it needs a strategy, a plan, and most of all, it takes time. There must be a better way.
One great place to find work is through business networking. But even that can be intimidating for many business owners. Walking into a room of strangers, introducing yourself, and worst of all talking about your own business. Imposter syndrome is rife amongst small business owners, and many hate the thought of talking themselves up. They do not want to be arrogant.
So, then business networking fails for a lot of people. Not all business networks are equal. Much of the time, it is not about the business network per-se, but it’s about the people in the room. Are they the ideal referral partner for you? Do they know the right types of clients for your business?
If you are a great estate agent, you will be able to pass loads of work to a mortgage broker. But a mortgage broker may not be able to pass work to you. But a builder who is doing home improvements on a house in order to increase the value may find it easy to pass work to you.
Different business networks attract distinct types of people. They have different structures too. Some need a lot of commitment; some need hardly any. I have been networking for many years now, and from my personal perspective, I’ve enjoyed BNI the most. That is not to say I would avoid other networks or not recommend trying them; it’s just what has worked best for me.
BNI is one of the networks that require commitment – weekly in fact. But seeing the same people each week, with each productive member bringing value to the group, helps me to reach my business goals.
Furthermore, the additional free training I get has really helped. Through their training, BNI helped me reinforce how to deliver a concise message about my business to a room full of people. Something I would not have been able to do in the past.
BNI Networking has worked for Aspire to Learn for a number of years and even more so during the last 18 months, where BNI reinforced the value of my business network. In Lockdown, we placed over 20 Apprentices and have created over 30 new vacancies in just the last couple of months, generating revenue and creating opportunity for young people in the community. In addition, we have created over 50 placements on the Kickstart scheme. For me, there is no question as to the ROI.
If you are an SME looking to grow, I would highly recommend visiting a BNI group to see what they’re about. The first couple of sessions are free; there are lots of groups around the UK, to ensure you will find the right network for your business and have the right reach for your product or service.
I know it can be daunting, which is why I am offering to bring you to a meeting, hold your hand, introduce you to people, and sing your praises. Just drop me a line via the contact form if you would like to come.
Ziggy Pindoria-MD Aspire to Learn
25 May 2021