How to Create a Community Around Your Business

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Networking groups build the trust and recognition today’s mass marketing struggles to attain.

was a strong and stable group that was the core of an extended network involving every member’s friends, business associates, clients, vendors, even competitors.

The way business used to be, services and goods were traded in small communities. The people you sold to and bought from were friends, or friends of friends. But in today’s cities full of strangers, deafened by the noise of mass marketing, creating a community feel around your business seems impossible.

Most professionals today wouldn’t dispute the fact that it’s much better to do business with people who trust you. The best way to build that trust? Referral business. What today’s mass advertising attempts to do on a large scale can be done on a much smaller scale – with big returns.

In a small, close-knit community, helping others goes without saying. That selfless attitude, in turn, keeps the community strong. It is this same principle of generosity that led Dr. Ivan Misner to found BNI, (Business Network International).

In the mid 1980s, Misner came up with the idea of a group that would meet once a week to exchange referrals. “The result,” he explains, “was a strong and stable group that was the core of an extended network involving every member’s friends, business associates, clients, vendors, even competitors.”

The core philosophy of BNI, now 4,000 chapters strong, is “Givers Gain.” And it pays off. This idea has created over $1.5 billion worth of referral business for its members world-wide.

“Really, it’s the way business used to be,” says Misner, also a business professor at Cal Poly in Pomona, CA, “when running a business meant serving a community of people you knew.”

BNI (http://www.bni.com) is a referral networking organization, which at last count had over 4,000 individual chapters in 25 countries worldwide. BNI’s Founder & CEO, Dr. Ivan Misner is the author of several book’s including the NY Times best-seller, Masters of Networking, (http://www.MastersofNetworking.com) and the recently released #1 best-seller, Masters of Success (http://www.MastersofSucces.biz).

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Michael Drew
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