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Pampered Chef: Networking groups- thoughts on them?

  1. esavvymom

    esavvymom Legend Member Staff Member

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    I've run into a few folks lately who either belong to a group, or who were trying to get me to join as the PC rep in the area.

    One that I had an opportunity and see some "openings" in my area is one I'm not so sure about- you pay $10 a year, $1 a month. You are supposed to attend the meetings, missing I think maybe 2 a year at most without consequence (getting kicked out). Everyone puts their flyer/card/coupon or whatever into bags, and everyone takes several bags when they leave the meeting. You are supposed to then leave the bags in various places -not sure about that... I'm not crazy about that particular setup because of the "homework". :D

    Others I've seen don't do that, but times aren't good for me (weekly meetings in the daytime). I know of a few around here limit the number of reps from any particular industry.

    I'm actually considering starting my OWN with a rather large network of women from my church who own their own businesses.

    So I'm just wondering thoughts on Networking Groups? I know not all are created equal..but at a general level, what are they, how do some of them work, etc? Do you recommend giving them your valuable time? :D
     
    Aug 4, 2009
    #1
  2. chefann

    chefann Legend Member Gold Member

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    There was one around here that I looked into. It is affiliated with a national organization, but I don't remember which one. They had a very hefty membership fee, and very stringent attendance requirements (meetings every 2 weeks, plus evening mixers). I was invited because the PC rep who had been in the group was moving out of state. She said she had gotten some small business from it (a small show or 2, and a few individual orders), but I determined that it wasn't worth it.
     
    Aug 4, 2009
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  3. pampchefsarah

    pampchefsarah Senior Member Gold Member

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    Ann, if that group starts with a B, ends with an I, and has an N in the middle, I agree - not worth the money and effort, at least for home-based businesses.

    Bobbi, what are you looking for in a networking group? A brick-and-mortar version of CS, where you share ideas and training? Or, are looking for business leads? The answers to this will help you decide what kind of group you want to join or start. By the way, if you already have 'charter members,' I think starting your own is a great idea.
     
  4. ChefBeckyD

    ChefBeckyD Legend Member Gold Member

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    LOL!

    I belonged to one of those when I was a Personal Chef. It was great then, but it so totally goes against the grain of my other PC business. I'd have to be at a meeting WEEKLY at 7am, and the one I was in, you paid something like $350 up front, and then another $50 quarterly...it just wasn't worth it for what I do now. (If I was still Personal Cheffing though, all of my best leads for business came from this group!)
     
    Aug 4, 2009
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  5. PamperChefCarol

    PamperChefCarol Veteran Member

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    I am in the minority when it comes to this. I do belong to a BNI group, a very large, highly functional one. Yes, the dues are pricey, the committment is every week, 7 Am Thursday morning (for our group) and we hold our members accountable. Not everyone is cut out to participate in this sort of organization, and not every one of these sort of groups works, but I do very well with our group and our group works very well. Conservatively speaking, the group generated approximately $9,000 in business for me last year and has surpassed that amount so far this year.

    Networking groups only work when people attend to network and not just "show up occasionally" to see if they can get someone to purchase something. It's about building relationships and that takes time. For those that this sounds interesting, there are a bunch of similar groups out there, and I would suggest you visit as many as you can.
     
  6. chefann

    chefann Legend Member Gold Member

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    That's very true. Maybe because I was coming in to a well-established group, I just felt uncomfortable at the "trial" meeting I attended. Everyone there felt very pushy, including one woman who sold personalizes marketing materials who wouldn't leave me alone even after I told her that PC has very strict rules on logo usage (and I therefore couldn't use her services). I didn't like the homework they assigned - everyone had to bring 5 completed contact slips to each meeting. There are some weeks when I literally don't leave my house, so getting those would be a hardship.
     
    Aug 5, 2009
    #6
  7. etteluap70PC

    etteluap70PC Legacy Member Gold Member

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    Aug 5, 2009
    #7
  8. PamperChefCarol

    PamperChefCarol Veteran Member

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    I will admit my results may not be typical, but that's because for the $$ I pay, I am darn sure going to make it work for me. My group has been in exisitence almost 10 years, and it will be 3 years for me this Oct. We have a great group, and right now the painter is painting my family room. The organizing lady is helping me with my "clean house" style yard sale next weekend and the interior designer used my family room, before and after for a project.
     
  9. etteluap70PC

    etteluap70PC Legacy Member Gold Member

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    The first group I was in cost me over 200$ and I had the best attendance of all the members for the year I was in it. I passed every referral I could. I attended as many group events as I could even those that cost me extra$. I kept an open mind and really tried to get to know and support everyone.
    I BARELY made back my $ investment and certainly not my time (1 1/2 hrs every tues AM).

    Every group is different, they are worth checking out just make sure it fits with you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
    Aug 5, 2009
    #9
  10. ChefBeckyD

    ChefBeckyD Legend Member Gold Member

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    For me, the Networking Group wasn't going to work, because I am at a totally different place in my life now. Before, I was a DINK. I didn't have a child then, and could spend whatever time I wanted furthering my career. The early morning meetings were easy to do, because my time was all my own...and the cost for a year was MUCH cheaper than one weeks newspaper ad.

    Now, I'd have to get a sitter to go to those meetings. A sitter at 6:30am so I can make a meeting at 7:00am? And then, what if my little guy was sick and I had to miss a meeting? I made a life choice when I had him, and the Networking Group I was a part of no longer fit into the life I was fashioning.
    Yes, I want my PC business to be successful, and I work hard at it, but I'm not driven to succeed like I was before. Now, I just want it to be successful so that I don't have to be driven - if that makes sense. I get more leads than I have time to follow up with as it is...and I don't have to ever leave my house at 6:30am!:D

    All of that aside - again I will say that when I was in the middle of my other career, all of my best leads came from my BNI group. I highly recommend a networking group if it fits into your life and budget.
     
    Aug 5, 2009
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  11. legacypc46

    legacypc46 Senior Member Gold Member

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    I belonged to a group when I lived up North. Annual dues were over $300 and then we paid quarterly for our weekly meals. It was definitetly worth it to me (and then some).

    To echo some others, it helped that
    - the group was well-established
    - the members weren't pushy (w/a few exceptions...who I refused to refer business to)
    - members understood it was about generating referrals because we respected each other as business owners
    - I was 100% committed to make it worthwhile
    An added bonus are the three very good friends I made while in the group. :)

    Like Becky, my life is in a different place now (figuratively and literally)...and therefore my business is too.

    A good networking group can help your business, but it has to feel right to you. Also, once you join, it can take a couple months to reap any benefits while other members get to know you.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Aug 5, 2009
    #11
  12. raebates

    raebates Legend Member Staff Member

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    Hmmm, this is interesting. I've been invited to join a Christians in Business networking group. They meet monthly for lunch. It's $50 to join and a monthly donation. I've been considering it. I can go to the first meeting just to see. I'll have to give this more serious consideration.
     
    Aug 5, 2009
    #12
  13. Patty Davis

    Patty Davis Member

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    I belong to American Business Women's Assoc. It is a national organization with local chapters. There are 3 chapters in my city, that meet at different days/times, so you can choose what works better for your schedule. We meet monthly. Before I became a member, I was friends with someone in the group and did some vendor events for them. I have steady business from the contacts there and like that it also about professional development in a generic way. We have annual dues ($120) and a monthly fee ($20) to cover the meal.

    It certainly doesn't hurt to look into it! Good luck!
     
    Aug 6, 2009
    #13
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