Times are tough, and it’s easy to feel down when thinking about business at the moment. I know that in hard times there are opportunities. I know that it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it (this lesson from my friend, W Mitchell). But there is a recession on, and it makes business tough. Especially for small businesses.

BNI logoSo, it was an expected and delightful tonic last week to attend a networking event near my home in SW London. The group is the Business Network International, which apparently has thousands of members around the world. The members are grouped in small “chapters” of anything up to 40 members. They commit to meet once a week, and to generating leads for each other and to supporting each other in their businesses.

I was skeptical, but I was blown away. The group I attended was vibrant, generating hundreds of thousands of pounds of business for the members annually, and was a total shot in the arm for me last week. There may not yet be green shoots of recovery, but if there are groups like BNI around, there certainly are green shoots of hope! It won’t work for everyone, but I’d highly recommend small and medium sized businesses – or anyone who has small or medium sized business clients – check out the BNI in your local area.

The website for my region in London is http://www.bni-lnw.com – I think you can from there to all other regions around the world.

(And, no, just in case you needed to ask, I am not being paid in anyway to say this :-). I genuinely was blown away).

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