Friday, September 25, 2020

Business Spotlight: Bring Your Own Business 'BYOB' Virtual Happy Hour

Hosted by BNI®-Referral Network to help local and independently owned businesses succeed

Most business owners, solopreneurs and professionals would agree that the growth and success of their company is due, in large part, through their connections with others. This is especially true for local and independently owned businesses where every connection with members in the communities they serve offers financially significant transactions.

But how does a small local business make sincere professional connections and attend networking events under the present circumstances? Windham’s local BNI® Chapter – Referral Network has had continued success in networking and sustaining business connections despite today’s challenges and they want to share their achievements with you.

If you want to succeed, both professionally and personally, members of BNI® Referral Network invite you to learn the secret of their networking success by joining them on an online Bring Your Own Business “BYOB” Virtual Happy Hour event. The BYOB Happy Hour will occur from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30. (See RSVP contact information below).

“One’s professional accomplishments do not necessarily have to be dependent upon the ups and downs of the economy or other circumstances beyond our control,” said Mark Morrison, who has been a BNI® Referral-Network for the past three years who Financial Advisor whose office is located in Portland. He has also been a Windham resident for 30 years. "When you are part of a national professional networking group like BNI, you are working with businesspeople who are committed to providing the best possible products and services. We set high standards are are accountable to each other. Our reputation is on the line ev ery time we give and receive a referral. Key to the success of our group is knowing that when we identify an opportunity, the person we refer will be treated fairly and provided with solutions that are best in class. If you desire to grow professionally and build business relationships with other professionals and entrepreneurs, then I highly recommend you join this virtual happy hour."

Attendees will get to share what they do, who they are and what they need for their business growth. They will also get to connect with other local businesses and meet area BNI members to learn how building relationships with others has helped them professionally and personally.

Darlene Pratt, a Personal Lines Insurance Professional with Clark Insurance has been a member since 2015 and Real Estate Broker Rick Yost of NextHome NorthEast, who is number two in the nation for selling residential real estate, will both be available to share their own success stories.

“BNI® has helped me grow my business, focusing on building relationships and making myself invaluable to my clients,” Pratt said. “To date, BNI has generated an average of 20 percent of my business each year.”

“I had heard about BNI through a real estate broker that I used to work with,” Yost said. “She invited me to attend a couple of her meetings. I was attracted by the professionalism of the members and the real sense of comradeship in the group. I joined for those reasons, but the business generated through the group is why I stay.  I have done countless transactions through BNI and it has contributed to my success.”     

The professional growth that BNI® members experience also transforms into their personal lives, helping to reach individual dreams and goals.

“My experience with BNI-Referral Network has helped me in ways I did not imagine when I joined almost two years ago,” Referral Network member, current writer and former editor of The Windham Eagle newspaper, Lorraine Glowczak said. “As I was learning to precisely share with fellow BNI® members the ways they could help The Windham Eagle newspaper succeed, I was learning to do that for myself as an author. I now feel confident when I pitch my book of essays next week to an editor of a Maine-based publishing company."

The concept of BNI® began in January 1985 in California by Dr. Ivan Misner who was looking for ways to increase clients for his personal consulting business. With the help of a few friends and associates, Misner created the first network gathering. Within a year, 20 BNI® chapters were established throughout California. Moving forward 34 years, one can find over 9,500 BNI® chapters world-wide with 20 plus chapters and over 450 members in Maine. Referral Network is among them – and all of this is available to every BNI member.

“That’s a pretty big sales force and is part of the reason for our successes,” Morrison said.

“If your business is just getting off the ground, struggling or booming, I would highly recommend visiting a chapter and seeing all the ways you can benefit and make yourself invaluable,” Pratt said. 

This Bring Your Own Business “BYOB” online happy hour event is open to everyone. To obtain the Zoom link, please RSVP to BNI Member, Rolf Olsen at Please note that an RSVP is preferred but is not required. To obtain the Zoom link, go to The Windham Eagle website at or the Referral Network Facebook Page.

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