The City Club’s Executive Networking Forum is one of the programs that caught David Lapp’s attention when he became a Nashville City Club member about two years ago.
The forum meets monthly for breakfast, with a guest speaker or small group discussions, plus time for questions or feedback, depending on the format. The conversation is candid; the atmosphere is friendly and for 1 hour and 45 minutes representatives from small-to-medium sized firms in Greater Nashville spend time with true peers.
The next breakfast is Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Enough time is reserved at the end for participants to give their “elevator pitch” and identify the types of clients they seek. Members are encouraged to bring a guest, which expands the base of potential referrals and also plants the idea of Nashville City Club membership in visitors’ minds.
For David, breakfast expanded into new business more than once. He is owner of Preferred Benefits Solutions, an independent brokerage that provides health insurance and benefit plans for companies, groups and individuals.
“It has opened up some doors and given me some additional revenue,” David says. “I’ve picked up a few small-to-medium sized clients and some individuals, seen a lot of future potential and made some nice acquaintances, too.”
That’s the idea, says Steve Minucci, who runs the Executive Networking Forum with Todd Bowman of Snapshot Interactive. “It is all about new business development,” he says.
Steve, managing director of The Tenney Group, a transportation company brokerage, also has used relationships made through the forum to help clients who need expertise in another field. With participants who are business brokers, accountants, estate planners, web marketers, insurance providers, investment advisors, health care executives, attorneys and IT specialists, the forum gives each member a built-in “cabinet” of experts.
ENF contacts allowed Steve to help one client who needed a CPA in the franchising space and another who needed a real estate developer. In making the connections, Steve enhanced his and his firm’s standing with existing clients.
Between meetings, attendees are assigned “triads,” or groups of three, and encouraged to meet over coffee, breakfast or drinks to share business contacts and referral possibilities – and get to know each other better. The Executive Networking Forum tries to maintain a diverse mix by limiting the number of participants from the same sector – in a group of 25, for example, six estate planners or three commercial real estate brokers creates a lop-sided feel.
Still, membership rules have relaxed under Steve and Todd’s leadership with the goal of creating an interesting, varied group of professionals.
David Lapp is among those who keep coming back. “It was good before, and Steve has taken it up a notch going forward,” he said.
The next ENF breakfast is 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, January 22. For more information contact Ashlee Polk at 615.620.1329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.