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Are you scared of your competition? An event we recently attended showed that you really don’t need to be: that open-minded collaboration between organisations with overlapping interests can create exhilarating dynamics and exciting possibilities.
The event was the Royal Spa Chapter of BNI; our director, Siobhan Stirling, has been a member for two years and it has been an effective way of creating great business leads. But this meeting was not a regular one: it was a special visitors’ day for the Care Power Team, a group of companies who work closely together in the care sector, most of them invited into the Chapter by the truly awesome Debbie Harris of Chosen With Care
If you know anything about BNI, you will know that it operates a policy of only one person per profession or trade per chapter; membership effectively locks out your competition. The Care Power Team decided to abandon this rule for this one meeting: they welcomed their competitors into the room. They wanted to create relationships with other businesses within their sector to enable them to provide more effective services to their clients.
BNI Royal Spa is a silver chapter, meaning we have 35 members. A typical visitors’ day might mean an extra 10-15 guests in the room. At the Care Power Team visitors’ day we had an extra 50 people in the room. The result was an electric atmosphere, with new relationships being formed and the foundations for effective collaboration being laid, with dozens of follow-up meetings booked in the room. Rob King, cameraman and editor, did a brilliant job capturing the spirit of the event in this video.
Towards the end of the meeting, visitors were invited to say who in the room they wanted to talk with further; it was fantastic to see so many follow-up meetings being arranged.
Networking is an essential element of many marketing strategies. As a referral-based networking organisation, BNI offers one of the more focused structures; as members, the Care Power Team have all found its policy of locking out the competition creates a successful prong in their marketing activities. But the buzz in the room at the Care Visitors’ Day, and the momentum it has created, showed that collaboration can also bring new business opportunities.