The one thing you're likely to miss when you consider Manhattan BNI3

Organized business networking is similar to a franchise operation - every local chapter follows the guidelines from the ‘home office’, a manual with systems and processes designed to maximize the return on investment for each chapter and its members.

Whether you’re a business owner or an employee in a firm with some responsibility about growing the business. Contrary to a common belief, the majority of our members do not have a “sales” title -everyone around the table is there for one purpose: Get qualified referrals and grow their business.

I was thinking about visitors who were clearly impressed by the quality of professionals around the room, our testimonials about each other, our confidence in our ability to help each other grow, etc. But few wind up taking the leap and committing to joining.

Why is that?

If you dispense with the typical (and really unacceptable excuses if you’re serious about growth) reasons, some are literally scared of the commitment (show up every week, meet other members, give referrals, etc.), some are uncomfortable with the accountability that is expected and some simply don’t have the courage to elevate their game and get out of their comfort zone.

But here’s the one thing everyone seems to miss - even if some of the reasons listed above are somewhat valid - the one big advantage franchises have over starting your own business on your own: THE TEAM. Where else would you find a group of like-minded professionals, united for a common cause (growth) or very quickly become your extended team, your support group, your extended group of friends?

We show up every week because all of us know how difficult it can be to find clients, good ones, qualified ones. We know how expensive and frustrating it can be to chase social media ghosts or to spend every available evening doing the “networking circuit” - bumping into selfish strangers who will stick a business card in your face, tell you about synergy and drag you for a coffee meeting just to sell you something?

The one thing everyone misses when it comes to business networking is the circle of support and friendship that is formed very quickly - your ability to brainstorm, ask for advice, kvetch and whine and not feel that it’s “you” but instead that you’re not alone.

Even if you’re an employee in a firm, more often than not you’re guarded for obvious reasons. With us, you can let your guard down, be yourself, learn, thrive, screw up and get better. It’s part of the process of being part of a group - its value and benefit far outweighs the cost of membership or the requirement to show up every week at 7 AM.

We’ve seen shy, quiet and introverted members become outspoken and confident. We’ve seen obnoxious, selfish and overconfident members leave because they simply didn’t belong. To succeed in a group setting you really have to check your ego at the door - be ready to serve your members/friends first instead of focusing on “what’s in it for me?”

Is all of this worth getting up early on Wednesdays? You bet. Those of us who thought they would hate the alarm clock on Wednesday morning are surprised to discover that they miss the meeting when we’re off and actually looking forward to being in a room with your business development team.

If you’re addicted to laziness or have allowed excuses to stop you from growing, think of us as the AA group that will help you fix that. We don’t even have 12-steps before you get cured and feel a part of something productive and fulfilling.

This is the greatest value of being part of our group - a sense of comfort, security, belonging, adventure and of course making money by working smart not hard.

Zev Asch