Before getting the keys to the London office I decided to spend a few days there meeting people.
My first point of call was BNI. For the last 3 years, Ascensor has held seats in various BNI chapters in Yorkshire, it is without a doubt one of the best organisations of its type in the world. Whilst not everyone’s cup of tea, I love the fact that there is pressure for the members to contribute. In the North, I am in one of the most successful chapters in the world, yes...world. Last year my group passed more than £2million in business between the members, on average we each receive £50k per annum in business.
As a member, I am not permitted to join another group, but I was keen to see what a BNI was like in London - I chose Chelsea!
Even though the web design and search engine optimisation categories were still open in the group, there was a good membership with 3 visitors including me. A significant power team (individuals who can easily share clients) existed in construction and it was clear this group worked well together. I found the atmosphere to be very laid back and relaxed, you could see business was being passed but this certainly wasn't as an aggressive group as I had encountered and probably not for Ascensor.
I find that BNI works because of its structure, rigid framework but with room to have a good laugh with people who become friends, but the key is structure. You can go to a relaxed networking group every day of the week, but BNI succeeds because its members are determined to help you win more business. When we take on a permanent London sales person we will be looking for a BNI slot straight away. With BNI only one company can fill a category so a position can be very valuable. Web Design is apparently the 5th most filled seat in the world when the positions become available you take it.
Chelsea BNI is not for Ascensor, but we'll keep looking.
After the meeting, I spent the next 2 days visiting clients and an old school pal.
Other than Facebook I hadn't spoken to Nick for over 10 years but I wanted to meet up as he is a highly acclaimed graphic designer and I figured we could maybe get involved in some projects together in the future. It was great to see Nick again; he has set up an advertising agency and has some great clients. I explained the benefits Ascensor could bring to the table, a proven bespoke E-commerce website track record that could save his clients money and also earn him a few quid too. With comparatively low production costs Ascensor should do very well in the capital.
The few days were a great success, roll on the new office.