Meet the Member: Bruce Campbell, Director, addMASS

AddMASS is a fast-growing technology company based in Cardiff Bay. The company began its life just two years ago with one director and now employs 12 people and aims to take that number to 40 in the next year.

The company – who describe themselves As “Cloud Integrators” – attributes the speed of its growth to BNI. South African born Bruce Campbell says that even though he had been living in the UK for 8 years, when he arrived in Cardiff in July 2013 he knew only one person. Through BNI he grew his networks rapidly, tested and honed his offering, quickly received work and testimonials and also met his business partner, Jason Dunlop. Together they grew the company fast, responding to significant market demand for their services.

In case you’re wondering what Cloud Enablers do every day, take the example of Trinity St David’s University Students’ Union: AddMASS took them from a traditional accounting set- up and installed a full cloud (web)-based system (Xero) along with 14 EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) cash registers across 3 sites. The outcome for the client was a system that gave them complete, real-time visibility of transactions and management information that could be accessed quickly and easily, helping them to operate and plan far more efficiently.

AddMASS helps select and integrate software to make people’s lives easier. They called it “life-changing technology”. Director Jason Dunlop says “The ability for different pieces of software to talk to each other is fundamental to what we do: Integration is critical when it comes to getting the best from a company’s data.”

AddMASS works across the UK and has major clients in London and Aberdeen, both of which were acquired through BNI. Director Bruce Campbell says “We wouldn’t be where we are without BNI. I’m always happy to tell people that.”

As cloud technology becomes the de facto standard for the management of digital information, AddMASS is poised for further expansion, citing the 3rd sector, government and accountancy as growth areas. You can contact AddMASS at http://www.addMASS.co.uk/contact or visit them in their quirky, hi-tech headquarters, aptly called “Technotopia”, in Cardiff Bay.

 

2014 referral and TYFTB totals for the UK & Ireland

We’re delighted to share the 2014 referral and TYFTB totals for the UK & Ireland.

Please share these figures with all of your members.

  • UK – 611,179 referrals worth £378 million
  • Ireland – 60,025 referrals worth €40 million
  • UK & Ireland combined – 671,204 referrals worth £409m or €522m

While the number of referrals is down by 1%, the total value of business recorded by our members on BNI Connect has increased by a phenomenal 20.6% compared with the previous year.

Thank you to you and all of your teams for the hard work that you put in to help our members achieve this!

Let’s keep moving towards our £1billion goal…

Meet the Member: Steve Western

A Walk on the Wild Western Side

Steve Western is Membership Co-ordinator at BNI Evans James that meets in Nantgraw – between Pontypridd and Cardiff – Wednesday mornings.

Owner of Westmore Insure, an insurance brokerage that was set up in April 2013, Steve says that without BNI – which he joined just after setting up the business – he would not have succeeded.

If it weren’t for BNI I wouldn’t be trading. It’s tough when you start and BNI gave me not only business but a network of support from more experienced members” says Steve, who attributes more than 60% of his business in the first 6 months of trading to BNI.

Father of four, Steve loves hill-walking, cycling, running and sailing – all of which are less demanding than the Membership Co-ordinator role, he jokes!

Steve regularly raises money doing activity challenges for various charities. His next adventure sees him teaming up with fellow Evan James members to tackle the Three Peaks Challenge in aid of Cerys Griffiths, a 5 year old girl from Bridgend who has Cerebral Palsy and needs to go to the USA for treatment that will cost £60 000 (at the time of writing over £24,000 has already been raised). Read her story here http://www.treeofhope.org.uk/cymorth-i-cerys and email Steve and the team at Evan James to sponsor them to help Cerys: westmoreinsure@hotmail.co.uk.

Westmore Insure offers competitive premiums on all types of insurance from house and car to business cover including Professional indemnity, Public Liability, Employers’ Liability as well as general office and package insurances.

John Calleja – Lawrence Lyons

BNI member John Calleja runs a kitchen and home furnishings business in Pembrokeshire. He is part of a highly effective Trades Power Team, which holds regular get-togethers in addition to the weekly BNI meetings. Being a member of a strong Power Team is key to John’s success.

We asked John some questions about his business and his experience at BNI.

How do you find new customers?

We advertise on the front cover of ‘Pembrokeshire’s Best’ Magazine, which is distributed to every household in Pembrokeshire every six weeks or so.  We also have a lot of work through word of mouth from previous customers and of course at the Resolute Chapter BNI meetings!

Why did you decide to join BNI – and when was that?

I decided to join BNI after attending two meetings as a visitor. After the second meeting I was convinced it was the right thing for my business. Not only did it give me an opportunity to promote my business, it also gave me a number of reliable tradesmen who I could use to help grow my business.

Did you attend as a visitor the first time you were asked?

Yes I did visit the first time I was asked. I was invited by Tom Kinver of Kinver Kreations, who said that it worked for him and that he gained 40% of his business from BNI. I had nothing to lose apart from a few hours sleep!!

When did you realize that BNI was going to work for you?

After the second meeting. In both meetings there was a varied attendance of different businesses, which gave me an opportunity to promote my business to other visitors.

What other networking groups have you tried, and which ones have worked well?

I used to attend lots of network groups in my previous job all over the UK but only BNI in Pembrokeshire. I found that the BNI meeting had more structure than most other events and it’s more personal as you get to know other business owners over a long period of time. This builds trust and friendships.

What tools or resources in BNI have you found most helpful?

I probably haven’t utilised everything that is open to me as regards tools and resources from BNI but I am working on it!!

What proportion of your revenue do you generate through BNI?

I am a relatively new member as I only joined in September 2012. So after the first six months as a member new business gained through BNI would be around 16%. However I envisage that this will increase to around 30% over the next year.

How does the Trades Power Team work together?

I think that it works well as we are all like minded and put our customers first. I feel that we have a real opportunity in Pembrokeshire to service both existing home owners and second home owners. At the end of the day, it is a one stop shop of good reliable tradesman and suppliers.

When the opportunity arises, we collaborate on jobs. For example, I can ask Grant Bowen or Karl Fyfe to install a kitchen, and Steve Ousley to handle the electrics. Equally, they introduce my services to their customers where appropriate.

How much of your BNI work comes directly from the Trades Power Team?

At the moment I would say that all of my converted referrals have come via members of the Trades power team. Although I am following up on others from outside the trades power team, these tend to take a little longer to convert.

As we meet every six weeks at my showroom premises and I have taken on the role of heading the Trades team, I have an opportunity to remind everyone what I can offer as regards new products and services! Again this is an example of “Givers Gain”. It is well worth the sandwiches, fresh fruit, tea and coffee!!!

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned as a member?

The biggest lesson to date is that givers really do gain; if you are an active or pro active member then BNI will work for you.

What would you do differently if you were starting your membership again, from the beginning?

I’m not sure, I might have asked more questions early on and have had more meetings with my mentor.

What key networking lessons have you learnt?

The most important networking lesson is that you really do need to listen to what the rest of the members say in their 60 seconds and, more importantly, in their 10 minute presentation.

How can people get in touch with you?

If anyone would like to contact me please call 01437 762945 or visit our existing website www.lawrencelyons.com. Our new web site will be up and running in the next few weeks!! (Come on Angus do your magic!)

The Entrepreneur, The Manager and The Technician

Most owners of small businesses work long hours on the day to day tasks of their business – making sales, doing work for clients and dealing with administration. Is there time in the day to be an entrepreneur?

In The E-Myth, Michael Gerber suggested that there are three roles in any small business: entrepreneur, manager and technician. All three are needed, but often there is too little entrepreneur or manager work carried out. That’s why most small businesses struggle or fail.

Though many of us would have our own definitions of a manager and an entrepreneur, let’s start by looking at what Gerber had in mind.

For a start, the three roles do not necessarily mean that there are three members of staff. In the case of a sole trader, one person will be performing all the roles. In a fifty strong organization, there might be one entrepreneur, five managers and 44 technicians.

The job of the entrepreneur is to think about three main ideas:

  • Where the business should be heading long term
  • The principles by which it will operate
  • How it is going to position and differentiate itself in the market

The job of the manager is to translate those ideas into a practical implementation plan. So this is an organizing role.

The job of the technician is to carry out all the day to day tasks of the business by following the standard procedures laid down by the manager. Without the technician there would be no sales generated, and no work carried out for clients.

This entrepreneur / manager / technician categorization can also be a useful way of looking at your role as a BNI member. Here are some suggestions about how you can apply it getting the best return on your investment in 2013.

Entrepreneur – thinking

  • What do you want from your BNI membership in 2013?
  • How do businesses of your type in other Chapters derive most benefit from BNI?
  • What type of referrals do you most want to receive this year?

Manager – organizing

  • Which existing BNI procedures (eg 60 seconds) are going to form the basis of your strategy?
  • What new strategies of your own do you want to implement?
  • How are you going to monitor your performance in 2013?

Technician – doing

  • How much time will you need to spend on BNI between meetings?
  • How will you schedule this ‘BNI time’ into your working week?
  • How will you remind yourself week by week of your ‘BNI strategy’ for the year?

The main value of ideas like these is to use them to escape the normal routines we all tend to follow. Without new thinking, we tend to do the same this month as we did last month – even if that didn’t work too well!

So, if you want better results from BNI – or any other aspect of your business – put on the entrepreneur’s hat, sit back and think. Thinking, according to Gerber, is the most valuable task any business owner can do.

The harder you practice the luckier you get!

Success in all its forms consists of simple fundamentals. There’s a well known saying, “the harder you practice the luckier you get”. Well, it’s true in any walk of life.

Whether you refer to these fundamentals as ABCs, 123s, rudimentary skills, basics, foundational principles, universal truths, elementary steps, or simply as square one, they are the foundations on which all success stands.

Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Of course, having a natural talent for something does help but, mostly, it’s down to applying basic fundamentals consistently.

Whatever your profession, you have to learn the fundamentals before you can achieve high levels of performance. It’s like serving an apprenticeship. There are no shortcuts to mastery.

Professionals respect fundamentals while amateurs loathe them. Professionals master while amateurs neglect them. Professionals practice while amateurs undermine them. The common denominator for success in any profession is a focus on the fundamentals.

You must crawl before you walk, ski the bunny hill before attempting the double diamond trails, and you must learn the fundamentals first. Success in any sport, career, or hobby is built on a foundation of timeless, universal, and pragmatic principles.

From accounting to astrophysics, education to engineering, fly-fishing to fire fighting, computer programming to construction, rock climbing to rocket science, and from raising kids to raising capital, all consist of fundamental principles and each fundamental counts.

The same can be said for getting the most out of your BNI membership. It’s critical to learn:

  • How to bring more referrals
  • How to bring more visitors
  • How to present an effective 60 seconds

If you feel that you’re weak in any of these areas, work out a way to improve. One idea is to have a one to one with a fellow BNI member who is strong in the area you want to improve. Another suggestion is to attend BNI training.

The great golfer Jack Nicklaus (who still leads Tiger Woods on major tournament victories) once said, “Don’t be too proud to take lessons. I’m not.”

One final thought: fundamentals once lost are always found in humility. Even world class high achievers like Jack Nicklaus are never afraid to go back to basics, because that is the secret of success.

The minute any of us gets away from the fundamentals – whether it’s proper technique, work ethic, or mental preparation – our entire game and reputation begins to break down.

This inevitably leads to embarrassment, missed opportunity and finally to a helping of humble pie. Humility leads you back home, to the fundamentals of success.

How Can I Make Referrals or Introductions Consistently and With Ease? Part 2

In my last blog, I introduced the concept of ‘anchoring’. Anchoring is based on the idea of helping a prospect form a link in their mind. This link is between the product or service being offered and a specific improvement to the results of their business.

Anchoring improves the chances of closing a sale. The prospect wants a result, and they’re willing to look at a product or service that can deliver. Anchoring a referral can help make it a ’5′ on a BNI referral slip.

Anchoring also has the great advantage of making selling seem less like selling! Because it starts with questions about a prospect’s business, there is no immediate leap into a sales pitch.

The anchoring technique requires four types of questions:

  • Today questions
  • Problem questions
  • Affect questions
  • Performance questions

With a bit of practice this becomes a natural process and helps to show that you care about the prospect, their needs and wants. The key point is that the right questions help create rapport – based on listening and creating empathy, which are key traits of top sales people.

When making a referral, anchoring can help you suggest a sales path for the person you’re referring because you’ve already worked out the link – and also the right questions to ask.

It also helps your colleague tailor their sales approach and should increase the chance of your referral leading to a sale. And, of course, if a referral is properly anchored and worth the investment, it’s easier to track through the referral process.

So, next time you have a prospect in front of you, try anchoring their referral. I’m sure you’ll find it makes referring business so much easier.

Questions to use when anchoring a sale

Today

  1. Tell me about some of the processes you are using. How do they work?
  2. Why do you have that number of sales people?
  3. What sort of things are you doing to improve sales or turnover?

Problem

  1. Tell me about the problems you’re having in the company / with sales / etc?
  2. What management problems are you having personally?
  3. What management problems are you having as a team?

Affect

  1. How are people handling these problems?
  2. What’s the atmosphere like in the company / team?
  3. How consistent are your sales?
  4. What’s your turnover of people?

Performance

  1. How’s the sales team’s performance, given these problems?
  2. With sales being down, how are things affected?
  3. Sales could be better. How are things affected?
  4. What sorts of things are helping your sales team perform better?