BFG has been providing Business Networking in Leigh for over a decade. The group includes a number of local, well-connected business owners who are dedicated to helping each other. We meet up every fortnight on Friday morning at around 7:00am with tea and coffee available on arrival.
We are always looking for local business owners who are of a similar mindset to add value to group – as long as your business doesn’t clash directly with an existing member you will be invited to join. That said, we have been known to have three firms of solicitors sat around the table which resulted in a fair amount of business being passed between them.
Due to the excellent location, that is easily accessible (with plenty of FREE parking), we have members from Wigan, St Helens, Bolton, Rochdale and Manchester – as well as Leigh, of course. BFG meetings are held at Holiday Inn Express, Leigh Sports Village, Sale Way, Leigh WN7 4JY.
Group Leader, Steve Witkiewicz (Director at WildShark Ltd), is a founder member of BFG. He is an experienced networker and has been running business networking meetings for a number of years.
With regards to the “Secret to Success” with BFG, Steve has distilled this down into three core disciplines:
As well as committing to membership and paying fees on a monthly basis, BFG members should commit to attending meetings regularly too. So as to get the most from their membership, BFG members are encouraged to attend a minimum of 75% of meetings (we appreciate that people need to take holidays or attend business meetings). It’s no accident that the members with the highest attendance rates tend to receive the most referrals.
Members are also encouraged to allocate at least 10-15 minutes of their busy week to “BFG Time” – following up on potential referrals, inviting guests, etc.
It is important to not only understand what people do around the table, it will make it easier for people to refer contacts to you if you can help them to understand what you do and what a good referral looks like for you and your business.
Tips include refining your 30 Second Commercial, devising relevant and specific WDYKW‘s, complete 1-2-1’s regularly and take notes during the meeting to make BFG Time more effective.
Trust is earned not given and the best way to earn someone’s trust is to follow up on anything that you have promised to do in a timely fashion. For example, make sure ALL referrals are followed up and provide constructive feedback to both the referrer and the group. If you’re not sure how to follow up on a promise or idea, ask them for help, it is in their interest to help you.
When referrals develop into business, say “thank you”, it’s nice to feel appreciated and remember the golden rule – treat other members how they wish to be treated!
To sum up…
If you’ve ever wondered why a milking stool has three legs, it’s so that it is stable on almost any surface but if one leg is missing it is useless and falls over – it’s the same with C U T above…
No commitment means fewer referral opportunities (empty chairs rarely give or receive referrals!), a lack of understanding results in low quality referrals and if you don’t trust someone to follow up on a referral then you’re unlikely to pass them the referral in the first place.