I was recently asked about networking group, and BNI networking in particular, which meet once a week (usually early in the morning) so members can refer business opportunities to each other. It costs around £500 for membership for a year, plus around £10 per meeting to cover your breakfast. So, that about £1,000 per year. Is it worth it?
I was a member of BNI about 5 years ago. I did get business (and business off the back of that) which did cover my costs, but not by enough to make it worth continuing.
If you’re a local printer and can knock out small batches of business cards for the local start-ups then you’re on a winner, otherwise I’d recommend spending a £975 a year on Google Adwords, £25 on breakfast cereal and stay in bed until a sensible time!
Is BNI networking worth it for professional magicians?
Actually, it did open my network up and put me in contact with people who’s services I have used. As I had only moved into the area a year or so prior it did have it’s uses, but in hindsight I do wish I’d allocated my time and money elsewhere.
I have heard some real horror stories about BNI though, but these are probably from people that just think you rock up and get given business. It is a two-way street, and you do need to put work and effort in to generate leads, and I know some magicians, particularly in the corporate sector, who pretty much use networking (though not BNI) to generate a large percentage of their new business.
Most groups will let you visit once or twice for free (you’ll probably still need to pay for your food though) before you need to pay to join, and it’s possible that if you do a good enough job of making yourself memorable you may be able to make some contacts who can pass business your way.