Member Interview – Q & A with Paul Wilkinson

BNI Member Interview

BNI Member Interviews We’ve been doing member interviews on all the members of our BNI Chapter, BNI Resolute Haverfordwest.  These interviews are set so that our website visitors can get to know our individual members a  little bit better, and maybe reading these will convince you that you too want to become part of the

What’s your business called and what does it do?                                 

Signspeed Ltd.

We’re based in Cresselly in mid-Pembrokeshire

Design manufacture and installation of signs * corporate design * banners * vehicle writing * safety signs * site boards * display * digital print * brochures * stationery * posters * leaflets * flyers * business cards *  advertising * screenprint * window graphics *shop fascias * architectural lettering

 How did you decide on this business?

Signspeed in its current form is a natural evolution of the original sign business founded in 1983 in Pembroke Dock.

The constant theme of “affordable quality” is the reason for our continued success, and the current wide product range reflects demand from our customer base.

 Why did you decide to join BNI – and when was that?

We’ve been members of the Resolute Chapter of BNI since its inception  back in 2006

 When did you realize that BNI was going to work for you?

We immediately realised that BNI was going to work for Signspeed. A room full of local business people constantly on the lookout for work to refer to you. What sane salesperson would say “No.” to that opportunity?

 What tools or resources in BNI did you find most helpful?

BNI members respond well to the structured agenda, which ensures that business is the primary outcome of every meeting.

We get to know each other well, and often people make real friendships within the group, but BNI always re-focuses us on the key to attending the weekly meetings, which is to achieve more business for each of us.

 What other networking groups have you tried, and which ones have worked well?

Are there any other business networking groups? Who knew that?

 What’s kept you coming back all those years/ What made you want to join?

Joining BNI was an intelligent decision from day one, and over the years it has exceeded almost any other method of introducing new customers, so vital to any business.

One aspect of our membership that we find particularly useful is the benefit we gain from listening to the other members of the group.

Hearing about how other local businesses work from the business owners and partners is a great way to reflect on the functioning of your own business,….and there’s a whole informal support network there for members who need advice from one another.

 From your experience, what do think makes the difference between a successful and not so successful BNI chapter?

Resolute Chapter is working very well at the moment, and it’s for two main reasons;-

  • The high standard of the membership where members can have full confidence that the referrals they pass will be treated professionally.
  • The energy of the group members. Success breeds success, and there’s nothing like the enthusiasm that can be created during a successful BNI meeting. We all put in hard work to make the group a success, and it pays off.

 What proportion of your revenue do you generate through BNI?

That’s a figure that grows over the years, because not only do we find business coming on a weekly basis from other members’ referrals, but also there is an increasing volume of repeat business from customers we have been introduced to through BNI over the years.

Sometimes, more than 50% of our week’s work can be for customers we were originally introduced to via BNI.

 What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned as a member?

OK, that’s a difficult one. I’d like to say that it’s modesty. After all, I’ve plenty to be modest about!

 What would you do differently if you were starting your membership again, from the beginning?

There’s not much I would do differently.

It is a learning experience, and over the years I’ve learned a huge amount through BNI about the way the world does business. This in turn affects and informs the way I am able to view our business. I have always tried to be involved in the group, rather than an “also ran”, and that’s definitely the way to get the most out of BNI.

 What key networking lessons have you learnt?

Mostly, I’ve learned or honed skills.

A lot of BNI involves communication. Communication skills that you can use on a daily basis when promoting your business and products. Communication is a key skill for all businesses, and as a sign, print and marketing firm, we are especially aware of its importance.

There’s no doubt that the “safe” atmosphere of a BNI meeting is a great forum to practice your sales technique.

There’s also no hiding place. Shrinking Violets gain confidence and become competent sellers.

Any key partnerships? What did you do that made the relationship successful?

Over the years we have formed many strong business relationships.

We have also found strong friendships within the group. That’s probably the key to the business relationships….finding people you want to do business with.

That, and being good at what you do.

What was the question?

 How can people get in touch with you?

T: 01646 651799 E:  Facebook/Signspeed  Twitter/Signspeed

Do you have any other comments about BNI? 

You’d have to buy the book.

If I have whetted your appetite, and you’d like to come along and see for yourself just how BNI could help your business, call me or email me to ask for an invitation to one of our morning meetings.