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Last year’s Suffolk & Cambridge figures are out. 98 new members joined in 2013, with more than 7400 referrals and over £4 million of new business being passed. BNI groups to watch in Cambridge are BNI Corpus Christi of Cambridge which meet every Friday and showed the greatest growth, BNI Granta of Cambridge which meet every Tuesday and passed the most referrals and BNI Fitzwilliam of Cambridge which meet every Wednesday and showed the biggest improvement last year.

BNI Success Stories

Come in From the Cold   

I have been a member at BNI Granta in Cambridge for 14 years and it has been responsible for approximately 40% of my business. Yet it was only by chance that I was introduced to BNI and business networking. Indeed, it nearly didn’t happen at all.

Picture the scene; it was a cold, wet, sleeting January evening. I had been out delivering leaflets to promote my brand new leaflet distribution business that I had reluctantly started just a couple of months earlier. The work had already begun to dry up and I was running out of money. The weather was so cold that my hands had gone numb and started to stiffen. I had nearly finished and was at the last row of shops in a less well-heeled part of the city.

The last shop had a letterbox very low to the ground and as I was so stiff, I didn’t want to bend down to put the leaflet through. It was a pretty shabby looking place, the window was cluttered full of poor DIY point of sale. All of the shops in the road, mostly charities and takeaways, could have done with a lick of paint. The shop’s name was “Party Day’s” which led me to think it was a party supplies business. I assumed that they were unlikely to want my services. I turned around and was about to walk away when I changed my mind. I decided that the letterbox was really only a few feet away. It was the last one, and I would have to take my leaflet home anyway, so I might as well take a “punt”.

The very next day I got a call from Peter Day of Party Days. He wanted me to deliver 1,000 leaflets, so I went to meet him. That tatty old shop seemed worth it after all. However, when I arrived at the shop, Peter seemed more interested in telling me about his life as an Elvis impersonator rather than his party shop. I humoured him, took the leaflets and left.

I called him once I had finished to make sure he was happy. He said “I have a referral for you”. I thought it strange that an Elvis impersonator who owned a shabby looking party shop, would use such sophisticated marketing language as “a referral” but actually, he was really giving me a lesson about assumptions. He went on to say that he met a chap at “BNI” who had asked if anyone knew a reliable company to deliver leaflets in Cambridge. I thought it all sounded a bit odd, but I went along with it anyway and was introduced to a man called Tim Gale.

Tim wanted 2,000 leaflets delivered every week to promote his furniture care business. This doesn’t sound much now but at the time it was wonderful because it was my first decent piece of business. During our conversation, Tim also alluded to “BNI.” I suspected this was some sort of marketing club. No doubt an “American” idea that would be very annoying and relentless in their determination to make me join. However, I now had three clients, two of which belonged to this BNI business networking thing. I thought I had better go along, if only to demonstrate my support for my new clients, Peter and Tim. I prepared a stack of reasons as to why I couldn’t join, so when they started the hard sell, I’d be ready to repel them.

I turned up on my bike because I couldn’t afford a car and hid it a few streets away. One and a half hours later I had a car that I could afford courtesy of the car dealer who was member at the chapter. A couple of weeks later I had enough business from the group to pay for my membership and so I joined. I have never looked back.

I cannot believe I very nearly didn’t deliver that last leaflet through that last letterbox on that last street, but I am glad I did. Joining BNI has helped me go from grudgingly delivering leaflets to get by while I looked for a ‘proper job’, to making a commitment to create a thriving business I can be proud of.

I now have up to 17 staff at any one time in my company. Business is going from strength to strength. I am still a member of BNI Granta in Cambridge and I am proud to have been asked to help launch a new BNI group within my region.

 

James Neal

Managing Director

LDS Leaflet Distribution Services

www.ldscambridge.co.uk

BNI Granta of Cambridge

 

BNI News

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