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It’s a group of business people that is intentionally organized and designed to help members help each other get new business. Specifically, the meeting format includes both open networking and structured, one-at-a-time sharing for each group member so everyone gets a chance to promote their own business to the entire group.

Each member of 1st & 3rd Business Builders is committed to helping the other members grow their businesses through qualified business referrals (sometimes referred to as “hot leads”). When you receive a referral from another member, you know that prospect needs your products or services, and you’ll most likely have a receptive audience since they’re already acquainted with your fellow group member. Most small businesses find that their best and most loyal customers come from these types of high-quality referrals, and our group is specifically designed and structured to encourage and reward passing them.

The first 15 minutes is open networking, which is an informal time where members and guests can mingle freely to meet visitors, catch up with other members, make plans for face-to-face meetings later or just to talk shop. When the structured part of the meeting starts, we all take a seat and go through a flexible agenda that includes a 60-second presentation by each member and visitor; passing of referrals and testimonials or thank yous for past referrals; an educational moment, which is a brief lesson or reminder about business networking; one to two 10-minute presentations by group members about their business; and announcements related to group business and upcoming events. Meetings generally last 1.5 hours or less.

It’s our short-hand for a general category, industry, or type of business you’re a part of. Some examples are Realtor, mortgage banker, insurance agent or financial advisor. The group intentionally only allows one member per classification so there’s no direct competition as we work to help each other grow our businesses.

Anyone can join who represents a business in a sales or marketing capacity. This includes sole proprietors all the way up to a sales rep or marketing manager for a global firm with a presence in the Roanoke Valley. However, our members generally have the most success giving referrals in the individual and small business markets.

We encourage you to attend a meeting or two so you can see if our group is right for you. You should be given an application form at the meeting, or you can download a PDF version. Just fill out this form electronically and email it to our facilitator, or print a copy and bring it to the next meeting along with a check for your application fee and dues.

We have an application fee of $100 (refundable if your application isn’t accepted for some reason) and annual dues of $80. We’ve agreed on these fees as a group to promote high-quality applicants while not imposing yet another burdensome business expense on our members.

We encourage you to email our facilitator, submit our website form or talk to one of our members you may already know. You’re also welcome to just show up for a meeting — be sure to mention that you found us online!

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