Be Successful, Be Inspired – BNI

Over £100k this week!

Chapter Director Rus Rogers was pleased to welcome Gita Patel of Laser and Aesthetic Clinic as a new member to the Gravesend Chapter. Gita visited the Chapter previously, enjoyed the business networking and decided to apply for membership. We all welcome her and look forward to doing business.

Peter Vandervennin of Financial Consultancy took the education spot and reminded us all how important business cards are in first impressions. He said that the standard within the Chapter was generally high, but said it was always worth looking again and asking yourself whether your cards actually reflect the quality of your business and carry enough useful information.

For this week’s 60 seconds some members swapped presentations with each other which certainly livened things up and showed familiar businesses in a totally different light. There was of course plenty of humour and theatre involved and Damon Trott took the opportunity to cross dress (again!)and don lipstick and eyeliner as he looked at Camilla Seton’s permanent make up skills from the male perspective. Jas Rai and Todd Miller provided the theatre with step ladders and tool bag, presenting the health and safety work of John Winson. Dan Insley did a very funny and accurate impersonation of John Ogden, our peripatetic personnel consultant, which won him the 60 second award.

You want me to do what?!

Peter Vandervennin of Financial Consultancy gave his ten minute presentation on Buy to Let mortgages, how they were assessed and how Peter will work to get the right deal for his client. I can’t pretend to understand the technicalities of Peter’s work but he clearly understands the market and is prepared to research all aspects of a particular deal before recommending a lender or a course of action. There are many firms ready to provide finance for Buy to Let but but only one will offer the right deal for the buyer. Peter is the man to read the small print and weigh up the mortgage offer before the final signature.

Referrals and testimonials are of course an important part of any BNI meeting. This is the direct, work generation section and this week we had 82 referrals for work exchanged between members. A referral is not a guarantee of work but should offer a clear opportunity and introduction for a member to take up. The fact that the system works is demonstrated by the high value of business conducted within the Chapter. This week alone £105,613.05 worth of business was recorded.
Testimonials to excellent work or service supplied are read out and often supplied in writing. This week the work of the following companies was recommended: Financial Consultancy, Specialist Dog Training, Minuteman Press, S&O Windows and Doors, Focus Electrical, and Roger Crosby Photographic.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the Gravesend BNI Chapter should ask any member or talk to our Membership Co-Ordinator, Dave Meaney on 07894 670237.

With some regret, I have to tell you that this blog No.75 is my last Blog for Gravesend BNI. I took the blogs over from Kathy Carter and have enjoyed writing them.  I hope you have enjoyed reading them and found them useful. Best Wishes to the Gravesend Chapter and all it’s members and every success in business. Roger Crosby,

Chapter Director, Rus Rogers was pleased to present Mike Thornton of PCL and Thornton with his BNI Eleven Year membership badge. Congratulations Mike!

Peter Vandervennin of Financial Alliance took the education slot and, following his “back to basics” policy, reminded us of the importance of one to ones. He said that they provide the best way of getting to know  more about a member’s business, their personality, background and contacts.  If you are looking for that Golden Referral, a 121 with a fellow member may just provide it.

The 60 second presentations tell us a little about the members and something of their goals and aspirations. Within the 60 seconds we should learn who they are, what they do, why we can refer with confidence and what type of referral they are looking for. Some members bring visual aides to liven their presentations and Chris Warden of Move2Clear and Andy Olsen of Zine UK. always try  to get attention and make us laugh with their props and well prepared 60 seconds.  This week the prize went to me, Roger Crosby of Roger Crosby Photographic  – so I must have ticked all the boxes!

The  ten minute presentation was by Jackie Murphy of Specialist Dog Training. Jackie has a list of qualifications as long as your arm and these are backed by years of experience, so she is not just a dog trainer but  an Accredited Animal Behaviourist. Jackie looks for three levels of referral from BNI. One is selling dog treats and food. Second is training puppies and dogs to walk on leads, sit, wait etc. Thirdly she can help pets with behavioural problems like chewing furniture,  slippers or the postman!  Jackie is also qualified to educate junior school  children about their pets and pet care so she would like referrals to local head teachers.

In the referrals and testimonials that followed, Specialist Dog Training was praised around the room by the many grateful dog owners. There were also testimonials to excellent work and service of: S&O Windows and Doors; Performance Carz; PJ Office Services and North Kent Cleaning Services.

An impressive 115 referrals were passed this week and Thank You for the Business was recorded at £37,408.13. so BNI is working for its members.

Estelle Gillett of A Healthier Life Wellness Centre is the new Events Co-Ordinator and reminded us that the next membership support training will be held on 19th November, 6.45 -10 am at The Village Hotel Maidstone. Estelle said  that all members, new and old, can benefit from attending these courses at least once a year.

Anyone interested in finding out more about BNI Gravesend should ask any member or speak to Membership Co-Ordinator, Dave Meaney on 07984 670237. Comments and feedback always welcome on LinkedIn or to me,

Business Breakfast Meeting

A business meeting within the BNI structure so familiar to members this week.  The education spot was taken – off the cuff- by Damon Trott of Utility Warehouse. Damon’s message was brief but very important for self employed to remember. He said that NO is not negative. If you get a rejection, just smile and move on to the next YES.

Members were told that small jobs and large projects passed between members over the last six months within the Gravesend Chapter was recorded at an amazing £1.7 million! Proving once again that BNI really works.

The 60 second presentations were businesslike and to the point this week and Andy Olsen’s clever use of props won him the prize.

Andy Olsen of  Zine Uk Ltd gave his 10 minute presentation of his Web Design Agency.  Zine is a pan European digital media company with 23 franchises and Andy works hard  providing on-line training for small businesses who want to control their own websites. Zine also works to gain page one on Google for its clients. This increases their web traffic and improves credibility on line. Andy told us that Zine provides a bespoke media marketing package which helps with social media and even takes time to tweet for a busy client!

Referrals and testimonials are the life blood of any BNI Chapter and must be taken seriously by all members. The Membership Co-Ordinator, Dave Meaney has a time-consuming job reading and recording each referral and would very much appreciate more clarity and accuracy on the pink slips. He is asking everyone to write clearly with full names and to remember to tick the internal/external box. This week 93 referrals were passed and business between members recorded at £30,600.

Anyone wishing to find out more about this leading Gravesend Chapter should ask any member or speak to the Membership Co-Ordinator, Dave Meaney on 07894 670237. Comments and feedback always welcome on LinkedIn or to me Roger Crosby on 07740 919451.

As Chapter Director, Rus Rogers of Ambition Driving Academy introduced his management team. There were some familiar faces and some new faces but all had the same ambition, – to build on the Chapter strengths, keep us in the lead and provide more business referrals for the members.

Power teams have always been problematic so the management have come up with a new military styled approach which hopefully involves all members to some degree.Called Operation Harbour Wall, it was explained to us by Chris Warden in clear, army briefing style.Members are allotted to a team or regiment with a leader and given a new mission each month. I could tell you more but I would have to kill you afterwards!

This being the first meeting, there was no ten minute presentation. Instead some of the team outlined their goals and duties for the new term.
Peter Vandervenen of Financial Consultancy is the education officer and will go back to basics and ask members to suggest education topics that they particularly want to know about.Peter will do the research and provide the information.
Dave Meaney of DKM Consultants is Membership Secretary and will also provide information and explanation of the Traffic Light and PALMS statistics.
Chapter Director Rus Rogers of Ambition Driving Academy is looking to raise individual contribution from members and encourage them to work as a team. Because of the excellent strength of the Chapter, he will “keep on keeping on” and promote Team Gravesend.
He has a point about the Strong Chapter. In September Gravesend passed 415 referrals and £500,088.00 in business between members with £1.2 million passed over the last six months. This week we had 105 referrals and nearly £28,000 in business between members recorded, – so a great start to the new season.

Anyone wishing to the visit this outstanding Chapter should ask any member or talk to our Membership Secretary, Dave Meaney on 07894 670237.
Comments or feedback on this blog always welcome on LinkedIn or to me, Roger Crosby email

End of Summer

Today was the last meeting for the present management team headed by Jackie Murphy. The last six months have been lively, fun and with record breaking quantities of business referrals and business value passed between members of the Gravesend Chapter. In this meeting alone members passed 101 referrals to each other with over £21,000 of business. Over the last six months, business passed has topped the £million mark.  Jackie and her team led the chapter to growth and set the bar high for the next management team which is led by Rus Rogers of Ambition Driving Academy who is certain to be ready to meet the challenge!

It was Rus who gave the education spot this week, recommending a bit of light reading to help our business goals and ambitions. Russ said there were many good business books and brought several to our attention. An old classic from 1937 – Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill: The slight edge by Jeff Olsen and Screw it let’s do it by Richard Branson.

The sixty second presentations were entertaining to say the least! The theme was “Props” as used in business but there was also a great display of talent with members loving the chance to show off a bit! Ryan McKenzie showed his flamboyant side with his eye catching baby- grow, see photo! I don’t know what his message was but it won him the sixty second prize anyway. Chris Warden wheeled in his bike and called us all “pl*bs”. (Might be some work for our solicitor Mark Blenkarne) Todd Miller showed that good plasterers can stand on their head. Jas and Jag brought along a radio controlled car to play with. Kasan Goh brought along electric guitar and accompanist to sing a rendition of a Beatles number and Dan Insley, not to be outdone, jumped on stage and tickled the ivory with a fast, jazzy little number.

Damon Trott of Utility Warehouse was next on stage with his Ten Minute presentation. Damon said that Utility Warehouse was quite simply about saving money on services. Broadband, telephones, gas , electricity, all covered by one simple bill at substantially lower prices than the competition and he handed round a summary of price comparisons for all to see. Another way to save money is to use the Utility Warehouse Discount cards which could save enough money to pay the monthly services bill! A major strength of Utility Warehouse is their UK call centre and the fact that if his customers have a problem, Damon in person is the first port of call. He is not merely an employee, but a business owner and he will chase and resolve any issues that may arise.

After a brisk round of referrals and testimonials and social announcements, Jackie brought her last meeting to a close. She thanked her management team and all the members for their support and the Chapter in turn thanked Jackie for her hard work and leadership and presented her with a large bouquet of flowers which nearly stopped her saying anything else! Jackie did recover enough to welcome the new team led by Rus Rogers of Ambition Driving Academy who then introduced his new team members. I am sure all Chapter members will support the team in work to keep Gravesend BNI at the top of the tree.


How do you get attention here?

It’s my go now!

Sittin’ at my pyanna

Guitar boogie

Oi! you lot of Pl*bs!

Ok which ceiling is it?


The sixty seconds presentations were brisk an to the point this week highlighting a wide range of services with many members including their USPs. One strength of BNI is that it makes us examine not only what we do but who we are before we stand up in front of 40 people and try to sell our services.Until asked to do this, one can be too introspective and imagine everyone will want to beat a path to our door. Someone who understands the need to communicate her business goals and services is Anita McAloren of Autosparx Auto Electrical who won this weeks best presentation award.

Someone else who takes his work very seriously and has a no-nonsense approach to industry is John Winson of Chapter Safety. During his ten minute presentation John explained that he will look at workplace practices and suggest safe and legal work procedures which are relevant to the company, rather than a list of general requirements which do nothing to promote a safe working environment. He said that managers should use the Government Health and Safety website for guidance but beware of the small detail within other commercial Health and Safety sites which can be misleading. John wants to de-mystify health and safety and offers a bespoke service without a retainer because he believes everyone has the right to return home safely after a days work.
Referrals and Testimonials which are the heart of BNI was next on the agenda.  A testimonial to the fine service of Alan Johnson of Hometyre was read out and 75 referrals were passed between members. £14,094.30 worth of business was recorded.

With a reminder about next Thursday being Visitors Day, the meeting was closed by Chapter Director Jackie Murphy.

Anyone wishing to visit this busy Gravevsend Chapter should ask any member or talk to our membership co-ordinator, Karen Lewis on 07977 813406. Comments and feedback always welcome on LinkedIn or to me

Russ Rogers of Ambition Driving Academy took the education slot this week and recommended a book he had been reading called The Slight Edge which teaches you how to achieve success in all aspects of your life – in your health, your finances, your personal relationships and family life. It deals with the small behaviours we choose to do or not to do that makes the difference in your personal productivity. Brilliant in its simplicity.
Russ summarised it as “little things make a difference” and pointed out that if we each sent one invitation a week to join visit our Chapter, this would add up to 2,300 for the Chapter a year which certainly would make a difference.

The sixty second presentations saw a huge range of businesses and skill being showcased. The sixty second time limit makes us all concentrate our thoughts and produce something of interest for the meeting.  This week it was won by Rus Rogers of Ambition Driving Academy who obviously practices what he preaches!

The ten minute presentation was given by Dan Insley of Clicks Media Studios who gave a high tech presentation which actually worked and certainly held everyone’s interest. Clicks Media Studios is a video production company working for all size companies from SMEs to large, high profile clients. Dan said he was working on Animated Videos for web sites which were very cost effective for small companies and could make them 53 times more likely to be on Google front page than a static site. His latest project is to promote on-going video packages which refreshed their sites each month with a short video ensuring a fresh look.

Referrals and testimonials were delivered with military precision this week when our two ex army runners dressed in uniform and did a lot of shouting(and running). Business leads keep flowing in this Gravesend BNI Chapter with an amazing 103 referrals passed between members this week and £35,306.31 worth of business recorded.This is why Gravesend BNI is a Gold, Number 1 Chapter.

Testimonials to exceptional work and service were read out to; Riverview Clinics,Medway Flooring, PCL and Thornton, Clicks Media Studios and C. Howell Painting &Decorating

Anyone wishing to visit this busy BNI Chapter should ask any member or talk to our  Membership CoOrdinator, Karen Lewis on 07977 813406.

Comments and feedback always welcome on LinkedIn or to me


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