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Steve Rigley

Talk Green Ltd provides a complete comprehensive service within the property market. Our expertise covers residential, public and commercial energy surveying as well as 2D and 3D…

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Face-to-Face Networking Boost

Source: Mail on Sunday, by Vicki Owen
Date: 02.04.13

Firms in a jobs blackspot have boosted business by £6 million in six months by referring work to each other.

The 75 members of the BNI business network group in Stockton-on-Tees, who range from sole trader plumbers to an IT company with 20 staff, are encouraged to share their contacts and ask for connections to people directly.

Linda Fisher, 55, formerly in the RAF, set up her £45,000 turnover cleaning business in 2011.

Through a referral from the network she has won a cleaning contract for the residential part of a centre that offers canoeing and rock climbing for children.

She says: 'For me this was huge.  It's 120 beds plus common areas and will push my turnover into a healthy six figures.  As I have experience in the Forces and my counterpart is ex-Army we speak the same language.'

Meanwhile, Ian Kinnery, 56, a business coach in Stockton, say he has generated £600,000 of business for other members in less than six months. 

While many argue that online networking is less expensive than joining a business network and can give greater exposure, Russ Sawdon, BNI's executive director for Teeside, says the £654 yearly membership fee is good value and more owners are willing to pay in the current economic climate.

He says: 'We expect to increase from 150 members last year to 250 this year.  It is growing because of the economic climate, not in spite of it.

'Stockton has one of the highest unemployment levels in the UK and is finding shops on its high street are increasingly vacant, but businesses are not waiting for Government support, they are holding hands and getting on with it themselves.'

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