Hall Of Fame

It's Who You Know

Broaden your business contacts the easy way.

By Elaine W. Teague

Being a big fish in a small pond can be all it's cracked up to be when you join Business Network International (BNI). One of a growing number of referral organizations designed to promote the exchange of business contacts, BNI members enjoy profession-specific exclusivity: "Each BNI group has only one real estate agent, one mortgage lender, one financial planner and one chiropractor," says 12-year BNI member Kelli Holmes. Holmes and her husband, Mike, are Diamond Bar, California, painting contractors whose business relies entirely on referrals.

How does it work? At weekly meetings, members give 60-second presentations about their businesses, including the types of business referrals that would be helpful to them. "It's a lot more fun doing business relying on referrals than it is going out and cold-calling or spending a fortune on advertising," says Kelli. "We're not in the phone book, and I bet we're one of the busiest painting contractors around."

Call (800) 825-8268 or check out http://www.bni.com for the BNI group nearest you.

Contact Sources

Babson College, (781) 239-4420, http://www.babson.edu/entrep

Mitchell & Co., (419) 243-7600, mmitchell@mitchellco.com

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This article was originally published in the November 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hall Of Fame.

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