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BUSINESS: Networking group helps to generate business

By Herald Express  |  Posted: December 09, 2015

MEETING: Members of the Torquay business group BNI

MEMBERS of a Torquay business networking group are celebrating generating more than £500,000 income in just 10 months.

The 24 businesses which are part of the Locomotive chapter of BNI, bring in an average of almost £5,000 a week with their unique brand of referral networking. But the group, which meets weekly at the Livermead Cliff Hotel in Torquay, is keen to encourage more members to join and boost everyone's earning potential.

Membership secretary Jacqui Shaw, co-founder of Brixham-based health insurance company Coralline Health, explained: "BNI is a brilliant way to set up referral arrangements and businesses that you can really trust to provide an excellent advice and service to customers. This creates confident referrals and makes sure that our members provide the best service to their customers introduced through BNI.


"The structure of BNI enables businesses to obtain a really good insight into how fellow members work and the type of business they specialise it. This makes is easier for members to refer to each other for their speciality."


BNI is unique among networking organisations because of the structured way it brings in business. Members are expected to bring in referrals for fellow members to be accepted and to attend the weekly breakfast meetings regularly. Only one member can belong to each chapter from individual professions.

Current members at Locomotive include a locksmith, IT support services, insurance, landscape gardening, solicitor, architect, optician, roofing contractor, financial advice and lettings agent.

Member Dan Veasey, 25, from Paignton, runs Beardsmore Veasey Electrical Contractors with his business partner James Beardsmore.


Dan estimates their company makes £60,000 a year from membership of BNI. He said: "It's between 20 to 30 per cent of our turnover. The more you get to know people, the more you promote your company and the longer you are a member, the easier it becomes."

Dan, who trained as an apprentice electrician, joined partner James three-and-a-half years ago and now the pair employ nine people.

He explained: "My business partner trained me as an apprentice and when he had too much work to cope with, asked me to help out, eventually we went into business together. I was asked to join two years BNI two years ago and it has gone from strength to strength since."

Chairman Steve Gaskell, a business coach of Newton Abbot, says the group wants to attract new members. "The more members we have, the more business we have." Retired Army captain Steve, 47, who runs Action Man Action Coach and took over as director of the chapter in October, reckons the return on his investment is in the region of £60,000 in almost two years.

He said: "Without a shadow of a doubt, it's worth it. I joined after inviting myself along, knowing its reputation and realised if there was a BNI in the area, join it. It's not for everyone but the reality is, it is for every business.

"Any business will benefit but it's about the individual, putting in the commitment, every week."

Membership includes training in how to make referrals, presentation skills to perform in front of an audience and promote the business and invite visitors along.

BNI is a global business networking organisation which has nine active groups in Devon and Cornwall.


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