The breakfast club – Quay’s early birds get down to business
7th June 2011
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Doing business over breakfast is proving profitable for a group of North Wales entrepreneurs – last year they turned over a cool quarter of a million

The Quay Chapter of worldwide business referral organisation BNI – Business Network International – who meet every Thursday at the Quay Hotel, Deganwy, are doing a roaring trade.

They are ranked in the top ten of over 620 BNI Chapters in the UK – the first Welsh Chapter ever to do so – as well as being number one in Wales and the North West.

That’s a staggering achievement for a small group of businesspeople who have been meeting for only six years and who have just 27 members.

BNI chapters are made up of businesspeople from different sectors who meet on a weekly basis and pass work and business contacts out to each other.

Every Thursday the members of the Quay Chapter are up with the larks to meet at 7am over a full breakfast of bacon, sausage and egg and in just the last two months they have racked up over £30,000 worth of business.

The chairman is financial adviser John Bowden, of Compass Financial, who said: “It’s something we’re very proud of and something we’re looking to build on by attracting even more businesses to join.

“The ranking is done not just on how much business we turn over but also on other factors like retention of members and even punctuality.

“One of the rules of BNI is that we have just one person from each profession or sector so we would only have one electrician or one accountant but we do have some interesting businesses as well.

“We include a wine merchant and a commercial lawyer in our number and we even have a decluttering service represented as well – they can tidy up your home or your business.”

Gareth Jones, of renewable energy firm Carbon Zero UK, is another member and he said: “It’s about referring business to each other and recommending someone whom you trust.

“Word of mouth is always the best recommendation and they know they have to deliver because they will be sitting opposite me at breakfast the next week.

“It has worked well for me in our business which is installing new renewable energy systems for homes and businesses and it has also worked for me in terms of getting work done.”

The Chapter treasurer is Phil Harding, who runs Balanced Marketing, and he said: “I moved here from Leeds for family reasons and found new clients through being a member.

“We offer training courses for businesspeople in things like making effective presentations and tendering and we’re even on Facebook – you can go to Quay BNI.

“If you’re in business and you’re a sole trader it’s a really good social outlet and a way of meeting people from a similar background and getting feedback from them – we help each other and that’s as important as getting the business.”

Quay BNI hold regular visitors meetings with the next on Thursday, June 30, at 7am – contact 01745 472008 or 07932 141877 to reserve a place at this or future meetings.

Photograph: Members of the Quay Chapter with their certificate for coming in the top ten of UK BNI Chapter
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