Sometimes It Makes Ya Crazy....
"Follow Me To Failure..."

Business Networking on Steriods...

I've just attended my first business networking event hosted by the national business networking group BNI founded by Dr. Ivan Misner, "The Father of Modern Networking". 

It is an amazing process and conception:  A very structured meeting that forces attendees to talk about their business, make referrals and build on relationship marketing.  And, for BNI, they get to monetize "getting to know each other".  Brilliant!BNI 2

There were roughly 45 people who met for this breakfast meeting.  (They meet everyThursday at 7am) Most of them were independent business folks with a smattering of "corporate" PR people building brand awareness on a local level.  I was invited by my friend H.A. Gross of Plaza Printers. (Photo: John Burns, Independent Mortgage and Shelana Laing, Glen Oaks Country Club)  The "hook" we believe is the focus on actually building business on relationship marketing and the interesting "side benefit" of locking out your competition.  (only one insurance person, car dealer, investment banker, printer...or advertising agency can belong.  Per chapter - another brilliant BNI move.)

BNI 1 Here is the interesting "insight" from our vantage point:  What happened to the local Chamber of Commerce?  When you think of it, this should beTHEIR deal.  They should be the ones who create a way and a method for intense business networking. After all, that has been their "mission" on the local level for years.  Somebody was sleeping and now private industry steps in?  Could spell trouble for the future?

Are we going to dump our chamber membership?  Nope.  Are we going to join BNI...not sure.  However, from a marketing and public relations standpoint this can only spell troubles for local chambers or it can spell HUGE opportunity to step in, create a program and increase the value of membership dollars.  That world VALUE is the key.  (For those of you involved in "tweetups" you really know about value!)

So is the word, "focus".

What is your main business objective and what are the very best ways to achieve it?  Who is your market and what value can you bring to the market place with your product or service? 

In the economy we are all facing there is not an inch of room for guessing.

We'll let you know more about how all this shakes out...thanks for reading.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

(Second photo: Travis Peterson of Artistic Concretetalks about his business and how to add value to concrete products.  Love the sign behind him....$1,950 for an Oliver four row picker...ahhh the history.)