Questions about the Group answered:
What is the background to the Group?
The Group was set up around 2014. The BNI Airport Chapter had just closed, due to the severe recession of the time – many members had lost their jobs, closed their businesses or just couldn’t afford membership fees. A small group of us, ex-Airport Chapter members, met and were determined to continue some sort of networking, to keep our business relationships going. Our preference was for a fortnightly meeting (compared to a weekly one), a shorter meeting (60 minutes, compared to 90), a simpler meeting format, no “franchise” structure and NO fees!
How often does the Group meet?
The Group meets every second Wednesday, alternating between a Zoom call, and a physical face-to-face meeting in The View, at Malahide Marina, North Co. Dublin. A small fee (monthly) is charged for use of the View venue.
How many members are in the Group?
We currently have circa 20 members. Their business categories are listed here.
What vacancies exist in the Group?
The vacant seats in the Group are actually limitless. There are a few provisos to this: we are “white collar” category focused, and we insist that members do not compete with each other in their chosen business fields. This is not really a group for the construction and trades sectors. The bottom line is that if your business is word-of-mouth driven, and you are looking for an active and vibrant group to help you get new customers, you should visit us and see if the fit is right. We do have a shortlist of “open” categories here, but it’s only a “suggested” list.
How do I get to visit?
Contact one of our Chairmen, Ian Jackson
Phone: 086 832 6541
How many times can I visit?
After that, you should have a good idea whether the Group could work for you as a source of referrals, and that you feel the “fit” would be good. You would then make a formal application to join the Group (by email).
How do I apply for membership?
Once you have decided that membership of the NDBN would work for you, and established that there is no category “crossover” or conflict with an existing member, you are free to make an application.
This takes the form of an email, expressing your interest in joining, to our co-Chairman, Ian Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You will normally hear back from Ian within a few days, as to whether your application has been successful, or not.
What are the costs of membership?
There is NO cost of membership. Other networking groups, like BNI and Venture, have annual membership fees, and typically have one-off “registration” fees. We have neither. We do, however, have a small monthly charge for members for use of the View venue, in Malahide.
What would be my obligations as a NDBN member?
The obligations of membership are:
- Attend as many meetings as possible (80%-90% attendance is the norm)
- Arrive early at the meetings (before 8am), and stay for the duration (9am)
- Be prepared to give your 2 minute pitch at each meeting, and do your 10 minute presentation, when your turn comes round.
- Get to know the other members of the Group.
- There is NO obligation to bring “referrals” or business opportunities for other members. Our experience is that this happens naturally, once you get to know the other members and their businesses.
What is a "referral"?
A referral is defined as “an opportunity to do business“.
A referral from you: This is typically a direct piece of business with another member (getting your business cards printed by Bronwyn at Printcom, having your printer or photocopier repaired by Daniel at CMS, talking to Eoin at Leahy O’Riordan about accounting or tax matters, and so on). Alternatively, you may be aware of an opportunity within your contact base for a NDBN member to quote for a piece of business.
A referral for you would be another member being interested in doing business with you (paying for your services) or referring you on to someone they know who is in the market for your services.
How soon will I be expected to bring referrals to the Group?
For everyone, the answer to this question is going to be different.
If you are an experienced networker, this will come naturally to you. You may be able to pass referrals quickly.
For most people, it is going to take time to:
- Get to know “who is in the room”.
- Understand what products and services they offer.
- What makes them special, or “referrable”.
- Train yourself to look out for, and listen for referral opportunities.
It was always said in BNI that year one was spent getting to know the people in the room, and in year two, you could leverage those relationships to get the referrals you were looking for. This is true for all referral networks.
Unlike BNI, where every aspect of your performance is scrutinised and recorded, however, we take a relaxed view: referrals will happen. Putting undue pressure on members to bring a quota of referrals is counterproductive.
Can I expect to receive referrals from the Group?
Typically, yes. That is the whole point of being a member of a group like ours.
Once the other members get to know you, and your business, referral opportunities will flow.
For some, this may be immediate; for others, it may take a little time to make this happen. “Be patient” and good things will happen!
What is the definition of a 1-2-1?
In any network, be it business or social, you won’t get a lot out of it if you’re not prepared to put effort and time into it. In the case of the NDBN, the process of getting to know the other members is built around the 1-2-1: meeting the other person, on zoom or in person, to understand their business, what customers they have and are currently looking for, what makes them different from others in their sector. In addition, we like to get to know the other members as “people” – what are they passionate about, their life goals and so on.
1-2-1s are vital to establishing these group relationships: the fortnightly meetings are only an hour long and you currently only get 2 minutes to tell your story. As our numbers grow, this will probably be reduced, so we don’t run over the 9am finish time. You do get a chance to do a more detailed presentation (10 minutes) in rotation with other members, but that’s approximately once a year.
Is the network all about business, or is there a social side?
Yes, most definitely!
In past years, we have managed to get together for one or two social nights out a year. A meal out in a restaurant, in a suitable location, followed by a couple of pints for those interested.
Now that we are through the horrors of COVID and “lockdowns”, we will have a couple of nights out during the year to meet less formally and enjoy each other’s company!