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BNI – Pride of BNI Interview @ 4th Sept 2017

Pride of BNI goes to Lymington graphic designer.

Director of Lymington based Absolute Graphics, Graham Bell, was left speechless when he had a call from the Hampshire Director of BNI (Business Networking International) congratulating him on winning the “Pride of BNI”, beating 1200 other delegates nationwide.

With around 200,000 members worldwide, the annual “Pride of BNI” is held across the UK and Ireland.  Graham, member of the successful Brockenhurst based business referral group “BNI Furlong,” joined nearly 3 years ago and became eligible for the draw by introducing a visitor who then signed up in the first quarter of 2017.  Graham explained “BNI Furlong has made a huge contribution to my business, I’ve billed about £20,000 as a result of referrals within the group and have a number of regular new clients from it too.”

As the World’s greatest business referral organisation BNI held the live prize draw on Facebook, Graham told me “I couldn’t believe it, I had to watch it twice to make sure.”

The prize was £5,000 towards a trip of a lifetime for Graham and his family, who booked a fun-packed 3-week trip through Travel Counsellors.

“It really was an unbelievable experience for us all, not something we could ever have done without BNI.  We visited Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Newport Beach California, Disneyland, Universal Studios and even whale watching, and that was just for starters.”

The best bit?  “Getting held up and robbed at gun point by (make believe!) cowboys on horseback when we were taking the train to the Grand Canyon, it was incredible. The boys loved it.”

Graham added “Massive thanks to BNI, a network which has not only supported and helped my business grow over the years but for such a life changing experience, we never could have done this trip as a family without it and we’ll never forget it.”

For more information about your local BNI business networking group, who help each other build better business, in a friendly mutually beneficial environment across a broad range of sectors.  For more information or to book a visit simply click on or email

Southampton Central Chapter launched

Southampton Central has officially launched as a Hampshire Chapter. Twenty member companies drawn from local trades and professions are already benefitting from BNI’s proven referral marketing system.

Alyson Roach, BNI Hampshire’s Executive Director, says: “It’s fantastic to welcome a new Chapter to BNI Hampshire and I wish the Chapter every success.”

The Chapter’s President, George Goodband, Founder and Managing Director of Affordable IT, says: “Our members are working together towards one goal: generating more business through referrals both within and outside the group.

“Our Chapter meets every Tuesday from 6.45 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. at the Novotel Southampton Hotel, 1 West Quay Road, Southampton SO15 1RA, so if you would like to come along and find out more about becoming a member, we’d love to hear from you.”

What a Welcome from BNI 

 After launching Cutler & Co HR Consultants in August 2015, I decided to research various networking meetings in my area.  During one particular networking event, I met an Insurance Adviser who invited me to his local BNI meeting. I had never heard of BNI, but I did a bit of research and decided to give it a go.

Due to my recent networking experiences, I knew that they could be quite daunting, however, my first impression of BNI was anything but.

Already apprehensive, I found myself slightly lost in the car park! Thankfully I was spotted by a member of the group, who instantly came over and introduced himself. Slowly my nerves started to disappear and I began to feel more at ease. He proceeded to show me inside the venue and introduced me to the rest of the group, who were all very warm and welcoming. To top it off, people listened to what I had to say and were genuinely interested in me and my business! I loved the idea and structure of the meeting and was lucky enough to have visited on a day where everyone was sharing their BNI Successes. I was blown away by the effect BNI had on them and their business.  Not wanting to miss out I signed up then and there.

I thought it would take a while to start receiving referrals and for members to start using my services, but I was wrong! I swiftly started receiving referrals and quite a few of the group have used my company to provide their HR support. I have had 21 one to ones with Members so far and after a one to one with a Business Coach in our Chapter, I received a referral to one of his clients and now work for them on a weekly basis.

However, for me, it’s not all about the referrals. One of my worries when I decided to leave paid employment and set up on my own, was being isolated. Through BNI I feel part of a team and know that if I have a question/concern, I can call one of my colleagues in the Chapter and get good advice. I am learning from business owners with years of experience, who have put me in contact with various people that can help me grow my business.

Recently Alyson Roach, Executive Director of BNI Hampshire, emailed me with a referral from an HR Consultant at the Fareham Chapter who was retiring and wanted to pass his clients to another HR Consultant within BNI. Alyson put us in touch and I have gained three new clients as a result! When I joined BNI I hoped I would gain business, I have, more than I hoped. I’ve also expanded my network and have met a group of people that have really taken the time to help me succeed.


Tammy Cutler


Cutler & Co HR Consultants

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