With the province of Ontario opening up again, we can take the time now to reflect on how our lives have changed over the past 15 months. Being a part of a networking group has helped all of our members. Whether it be through interactions with other people or growing your clientele, having the other members to lean on has been a great support through the pandemic. Here are just a few reasons why joining a networking group is important to help businesses thrive during hard times.

Kathleen Vincent, STG Health & Wellness – “Being part of this networking group has helped increase my network for social media and marketing because tagging the business on Facebook is huge. I was doing the numbers and before this, 89% of all of the business being brought in was done by me and all my grinding. Any time we can curate even 1% more coming in from social media or the website is a huge stress off me in the long run.”

Nancy Blunden, Dominion Lending Forest City funding – “This networking group has been great for me, besides the referrals that I get. The knowledge that I receive about other people’s businesses. If I didn’t have this group and people were looking for a contractor or security, it’s always nice to give their names out to people because you trust them. It’s a good feeling to know people that you trust and that you can refer. My referrals, it’s a cheap way to market yourself. People talk. Especially this last year, we’re not face to face with anybody and everything’s social media. So, I think it’s been an asset for that.”

Trevor Cherewka, Smashing Pixels – “When everything kind of went off the rails, the ability to quickly get together and continue to meet on that weekly basis. To keep that normalcy that we were used to. That was one important key for me because there’s board meetings. It was really nice to have that clock that went off once a week that said ‘hey, let’s meet.’ Also, the challenge of keeping up with the pack. It was a nice kick in the back side to get my name out there.”

Ray Petro, Petro Real Estate – “Consistent for me, is the best way to put this group. In a time where everything came to a screeching halt, I knew that every Wednesday morning at 7:00, sometimes 7:30, I was here. That helped me with consistency. From the inception of this group, in a crazy industry where your schedule’s all over the place, I always knew on Wednesday’s at 7:00 a.m. I always had somewhere to be. That’s been huge for me.”

Sherri Barna, Purple Bean Media – “The group has been good for me because I like the discipline and sanctity of Wednesday’s. As entrepreneurs, we don’t work for anyone. We make our own schedules. It’s awesome, but can be a little difficult. So, I appreciate having Wednesday mornings set in stone.”

Victor Verburgh, Forward Contracting – “This group has been interesting from the very beginning, for me. I grew up in Brantford but I lived in B.C. for 10 years. When I moved back to Brantford, I was disconnected from the entire community. When I joined the group I got reconnected to everybody. Anybody who is coming to the community, it’s a great opportunity to get connected to it. Having said that, being a part of Brant Business Builders with Forward Contracting, I can’t even begin to tell how much it’s exploded for us. We’re hiring and we’re growing. It’s fantastic. I couldn’t imagine this business going like it is, in large part, since I’ve joined Brant Business Builders.”

Geoff Milson, Financial Security Advisor – “For the group, and myself, it’s been new friends and roots. It’s been important and pretty crucial for myself to have a whole assortment and array of  local people with different careers to provide a foundation and outlet for myself.”

Jen Munro, Twisted Sisters – “What I found about this COVID pandemic is how important it is to be part of a group. Just having the support of everyone in the group. I’ve been with the group a long time and I realize the importance of having everyone there to support you, and look after you and ask if you’re okay. It’s become more than just a business group. It’s a collection of friends as well.”

Tracy Bucholtz, CPA – “It’s nice to be able to connect with other people. I’m a social person and this year and a half has been pure hell.”

Michael Harrington, Millennium Security Services – “I feel bad for those who don’t have this kind of outlet. Even if I sit and say nothing, it’s still helpful. I know that people are still out there and we all have the same struggles. It’s humbling and makes me feel very fortunate that we’re still able to keep our head above water in terms of the company. It’s great to expand your sales and create brand awareness.”

Mandy Yallop, treasurer for Brant Business Builders, travel agent – “This group has helped me since I lost my job last year. It’s been helpful in putting me in touch with people to find work. All the support from everyone has been really great.”

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