List of Business Referral Groups

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List of Business Referral Groups

Postby Texas-gal on Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:53 am

Since this seems to be a topic people are interested in from time to time, I thought I'd add a place to make a list of the known networking and other groups that are out there.

Please add any that you know of to this thread and we'll compile an ongoing list.

It doesn't matter what country you are in... all are welcome here!
Last edited by Texas-gal on Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

Postby Texas-gal on Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:54 am

A Woman's Place

All Cities Resource Group - California

Beermat Ecademy

BNI (Business Network Int'l),1,Documents

Business Referral Exchange

Chambers of Commerce - (find a chamber online - State & Local US/CAN/National)

Company of Friends
List of meetings:

CoolTea (seems to be mainly in Conneticut, but there is an online source too)

Ecademy (seems to be based in the UK)
Ecademy Asia Pacific (Incorporating: Australia, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, New Zealand)
Ecademy Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg)

Ecademy India (Ecademy India is part of the Ecademy Asia Pacific Network)

Ecademy Japan

Ecademy USA


E W Forbes Report - Networking Greater Houston - (book/report)
Forbes, E. W., E W Forbes Report - Networking Greater Houston
(713-551-9900 or 1-877-479-6736)

Grapevine Network - (Minnesota & Wisconsin -- they are set up to be in all states, if there is someone who wants to launch a group)

Ladies who Launch - (Women Entrepreneurs & Successful Women - multi-states & Canada)

Meet-Up - (List of Small Business Meet-Up Groups World Wide) ... unt&desc=1


Networking For Professionals

Regus Business Club


United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) - (for people between the ages of 18 and 40)

Washington, DC - (list of Networking Groups)

Women's Network Australia
Last edited by Texas-gal on Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:40 am, edited 23 times in total.

Postby Texas-gal on Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:56 am

Want to Join a Networking Group?
With six types to choose from, narrowing the field will help you find the groups that are best for your business.
December 23, 2002
By Ivan Misner

Q: There are many types of networking groups out there. How do I know which ones to join?

A: There are at least six types of business organizations to consider joining in order to develop your business through networking. Depending on your time constraints, select at least two or three groups for participation. However--and this is critical, no matter what groups you end up participating in--remember that it's not called "net-sit" or "net-eat," it's called "net-work," and if you want to build your business through word-of-mouth, you must "work" the networking groups you belong to.

Casual Contact Networks
The first of the six types of networking groups are casual contact networks. These are business groups that allow many people from various overlapping professions. There are no restrictions on the number of people represented in any profession. These groups usually meet monthly and often hold mixers where everyone mingles informally. Casual contact networks may hold other meetings where there are presentations by guest speakers on important business topics or discussions on issues concerning legislation, community affairs or local business programs.

The best examples of these groups are the thousands of Chambers of Commerce and similar groups active worldwide. These groups offer participants an opportunity to make valuable contacts with many other entrepreneurs in the community. They offer significant breadth to your goal of developing a word-of-mouth-based business because they enable you to meet hundreds of other businesspeople.

Strong Contact Networks
Strong contact networks are groups that meet weekly for the primary purpose of exchanging referrals. They often restrict membership to only one person per profession or specialty and tend to be more structured in their meeting formats than casual contact networks. Their meetings include open networking; short presentations by everyone; a longer, more detailed presentation by one or two members; and time devoted solely to passing business referrals.

Such organizations require a far greater commitment from their membership. They usually have a set agenda, with part of the meeting dedicated to actually passing referrals you've picked up for members during the previous week. A good example of this type of organization is BNI, a group I founded in 1985 that is now one of the largest of its kind.

Community Service Clubs
Community service clubs give you an opportunity to put something back into the community where you do business while making valuable contacts and receiving good PR to boot. Community service clubs can be fairly good sources of word-of-mouth business. Such groups exist primarily to serve the community; however, they can also provide an excellent opportunity for businesspeople to meet regularly and develop relationships.

Although there is almost no overt networking, long-term friendships, which are critical to the success of a solid word-of-mouth-based business, are established. Good examples of these groups include Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis Clubs. In many ways, community service clubs were the original networks. The oldest, Rotary, was established in 1905 by Chicago lawyer Paul Harris with the idea that one person from each profession would belong and members would, among other things, help each other in business.

Professional Associations
Professional associations, or what futurist and author John Naisbitt calls "Knowledge Networks," have existed for many years. Association members tend to be from one specific type of industry, such as banking, architecture, personnel, accounting or health. The primary purpose of a professional association is to exchange information and ideas.

Your goal in tapping into such networks is to join groups that contain your potential clients or target markets. A simple procedure for targeting key groups is to ask your best clients or customers which groups they belong to. This will give you an immediate list of at least three, and probably as many as 10 to 12, groups from which to choose.

Your best customers retain membership in the associations that offer the greatest value or for which there is some key strategic or competitive advantage. Similarly, the prospects you wish to target may, in many ways, operate like your best customers and have many of the same needs.

Here are some examples of professional associations:
  • American Society of Personnel Administrators
  • Certified Life Underwriters Association
  • National Association of Professional Organizers
  • American Bar Association
  • American Medical Association
  • National Speakers Association

Social/Business Organizations
Each year, more groups spring up that serve as both business and social organizations. Groups such as the Jaycees and various singles/business clubs openly combine social activities with business or networking, giving you an opportunity to combine work with a little pleasure. If you're interested in combining work with social activities, I recommend the Jaycees. They tend to be very focused and professional.

Women's Business Organizations
Women's business organizations have been instrumental in shaping the nature of contemporary networking organizations. With the proliferation of women business owners in the 1970s and '80s and the difficulties they had in joining the "old-boys' networks" in place, many women formed structured, well-organized groups that met to network and provide professional support. These groups were created not as service clubs but as bona fide networking organizations. Many made no pretenses; the members were there to network, and everything else was secondary.

Women's business organizations are very diverse. The one thing they have in common is that they tend to be concerned with education and professional development as well as networking. Some are casual contact networks; some are strong contact networks. Others are industry-specific professional associations, such as Women in Construction. The benefits of membership depend on the type of group you join.

For many women, such groups can be an excellent and nonthreatening way to increase their business. Surprisingly, many women's organizations allow men in their membership. Assuming the man conducts himself professionally, he can truly benefit from membership and participation because he'll be more widely recognized within.

Despite all that we've covered thus far, some people tell me they simply don't have time to go to business meetings regularly. I understand that objection well. If you feel this way, let me suggest that you stop reading this article, pick up your telephone and start making cold calls instead. Or, if you prefer, open your checkbook and start writing checks for more advertising. If you're serious about developing word-of-mouth business, there is no quick fix; you must meet people in a planned and structured way.

Which groups should you join? Don't let chance decide where you're going to spend your time and effort. Remember, the key is to diversify your activities. Don't put all your eggs in one basket; one type of business organization won't serve all your needs. Consciously select a well-rounded mix of organizations, with no two of the same type. If you have associates, partners or employees, consider their participation when deciding which groups each of you will target.

Ivan Misner is the founder and CEO of Business Network International (BNI), which has more than 2,700 chapters throughout the world. He is also the author of five books, including his New York Times bestseller, Masters of Networking, as well as Entrepreneur Press' forthcoming Masters of Success.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.

Postby Texas-gal on Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:58 am

Ten Commandments of Networking!

1.) Thou shalt drop the "what is in it for me?" attitude.
2.) Thou shalt listen.
3.) Thou shalt build a relationship.
4.) Thou shalt give the first referral.
5.) Thou shalt not tell others of the referral you require; thou shalt "show them" with a story.
6.) Thou shalt be specific of the type of referral.
7.) Thou shalt reciprocate when appropriate.
8.) Thou shalt participate in the network executive, functions, and network time.
9.) Thou shalt thank the person who gave a referral.
10.) Thou shalt follow up on the referral within 24 hours.

Postby Texas-gal on Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:03 am

Online Business Groups -- example information:
Don't Forget About Online Business Groups

The Internet isn't just for finding information. Business-related newsgroups, forums, and mailing lists can also be excellent sources of support, networking opportunities, and information exchange.

You already know about my Small Business: Canada Forum, but whatever business you're in, chances are good someone's already started an online group for discussing it. For instance, if you search Yahoo groups for "Canadian Business", you'll find groups ranging from Canscrapbiz, for retailers and teachers in the Canadian Scrapbooking business, through canaden, for Canadian dentists. There are also several excellent general business groups in the list, including my favourite, CEW (Canadian Entrepreneurial Women).
Last edited by Texas-gal on Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

Postby Texas-gal on Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:10 am

Toastmasters International
How Toastmasters Can Help You
Your success in business is based on how effective you are. Through participation in the Toastmasters Communication and Leadership program, people from all backgrounds learn to effectively speak, conduct a meeting, manage a department or business, lead, delegate, and motivate.

Postby StressSolutions on Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:56 pm

Great thread Tex, thank you. I don't really think Toastmasters is a referral group, I feel it is a great organization to get better at networking. I'm glad you added it.

In MN, we have the Grapevine Network available. Very active in Minneapolis area, there are groups in smaller areas, like here in Rochester. here's a link.

Remember, you don't have to belong to a group, you can network on your own. Go through the home shows, pick up cards, meet the people, exchange cards. Call them later, go for coffee, learn about their business.

Postby pueppi on Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:14 pm

Thought I'd add this one - not exactly massage related, but may be of help to some women out there.

85 Broads
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Postby maestra on Thu Apr 12, 2007 7:49 am

Professional Referral Exchange (PRE)
with chapters in CT, MD, PA, IN & OH
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Postby Joyful_Qi on Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:35 pm

The holistic business group

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Postby henryjohnson4 on Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:05 pm

The holistic business group is one of great quality. I was going to post that I was beaten to it.
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Re: List of Business Referral Groups

Postby massagebiz on Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:18 pm

If you contact your local Chamber of Commerce, most cities have a regular business exchange meeting or luncheon where business owners can meet once a week to get to know each other and network.
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