Business group makes £5million

Terry Martin
Terry Martin

Members of the Berkhamsted chapter of Business Network International (BNI) have raised more than £5million for each other since it was launched six years ago.

The group has now referred more than 10,000 customers to each other. And to make that figure even more impressive, there are just 28 business leaders currently in the BNI.

Members get together for a breakfast meeting at 6.30am every Thursday, where they give a 60-second pitch on the kind of trade they want.

Leader of telecoms firm Just2Connect, Terry Martin, recently told the group that most people don’t change their phone systems unless they are moving office.

He said to the other members: “If you know someone who’s moving office, give me a call.”

Mr Martin thinks that word-of-mouth referrals from BNI Berkhamsted members will earn him up to £40,000 a year in extra trade.

Chapter director Angus Merelie said: “I think it’s amazing actually, considering the group started in the teeth of the recession in 2008.”

The Berkhamsted BNI grew into a thriving organisation in the face of the great slump, which became the worst that the world has faced since the Second World War.

Part of its success is down to the fact that its members are rigidly assessed on how many customers they refer to each other.

“A record of each referral is kept on a pink slip, and they are added up before each of the weekly meetings.

Mr Martin said: “It’s very formulaic, it’s very focused and it makes people do what you need them to do in a networking group.

“This is a formula that works and since I joined six months ago, it has worked really well for me.”

Only one person from each business category – be it law, architecture or plumbing – is allowed to be represented in the Berkhamsted BNI.

Membership costs £400 a year and its meetings are held at Berkhamsted Golf Club.