Small business owners in Springfield supporting one another

One of our main focuses at Eighteen21 is local businesses and the importance of shopping, eating, and buying local. Our recent 12 Days of Local campaign sparked interest in small, local, businesses throughout Springfield. One of the ways in which small businesses are able to succeed is through word of mouth and referrals. There are three BNI chapters in Springfield. BNI is a networking organization, which has members across the world. Locally though, those who are involved in the organization are able to develop long-lasting professional relationships, grow their businesses, and make lifelong friends. We spoke with three Springfield BNI members whose businesses are succeeding, and continue to do so, because of their investment in BNI.

Jeremy Logue is a mortgage loan originator at Security Bank and has been a BNI member, on and off, for approximately four years. Having previously been a member of the Springfield Thursday Lunch chapter, Jeremy is currently involved with the Springfield Thursday Morning Business Builders chapter, which meets at Schnucks on Chatham Road from 7.30am.

“I believe that the most rewarding part of BNI is the connections and friendships that are obtained, which may not have presented themselves without the organization,” said Jeremy. “The relationships that are developed through the group are based on trust and respect, which I feel are two essential parts of long-term friendships and lasting respect for one another.” Jeremy said it helps to always be honest, responsive, and branch out to meet as many members as possible. “It never hurts to have a large group of contacts,” he said.

Kevin Lloyd of Lloyd IT Services, providing on-site and remote computer tech support, network installation, and security camera systems to commercial and residential clients, has been a BNI member for five years. “I decided to join because I saw the unlimited potential to help grow a business. In beginning a new business from scratch, word of mouth is absolutely the most critical component. BNI is literally like having your own sales team out there helping you grow,” said Kevin.

In joining BNI Kevin said he has gained great relationships with other business leaders who have provided their experience, insights and friendship. “And when your clients or friends have a need for services in other industries they appreciate it when you can steer them in the direction of experts in those respective fields.”

BNI has also provided the opportunity for Kevin to learn about other industries, how they operate, and the importance of referrals to small businesses.

Many of his fellow BNI members in the Springfield Thursday Lunch chapter, which meets at Brickhouse Grill & Pub on Iles Avenue at 11.30am, have become clients of Lloyd IT Services and referred their friends, family, and clients too. “Advertising by other voices across multiple industries is an incredible asset.”

Jane Hay is a broker/partner of Jane Hay Sales & Staging at The Real Estate Group and has been a member of BNI since 2012.

She also attends the Springfield Thursday Lunch chapter and has received tens of thousands of dollars in referrals over the years. “I have also made some good friends and had a lot of fun. We have a tight and small group, but very effective,” said Jane.

Jane advises anyone that has the opportunity to join a BNI group in Springfield to do so. “If you can find a group definitely join – and be active.”

If you are interested in joining a BNI chapter in Springfield get in touch with Central Illinois director, Jeff Ensinger, on 309 453 2463 or email jeff@bni-il.com or you can visit the BNI website.