I started Great Business Networking 6 years ago for the very reason you are all sitting here. To meet people and develop referral partners. Despite being a Charleston native, I found 4 years into ownership of Stingray Branding that I didn’t know a lot of business professionals in Charleston and needed to meet a few and start networking. So after visiting some other groups I decided to start my own as a hobby.
So many others found value in what we were doing they followed suite and branched off under our name and using our resources to develop their own. 6 years later we have an active organization of more than 130 members and 9 chapters. With the help of some amazing people like Bryan Hatfield, Steve Nettles, Jason Whitewing, Steve DeTomi, Cliff Ryaba, and so many others (too many to name) I learned how to network and help others. Like you, I didn’t know how to network at events or groups, felt uncomfortable giving a 6o second commercial, and it made me nervous every week to have to get up and talk (still does). Yet, I know that it was necessary and I loved getting to work with others.
My sole focus and hope over the past 6 years is that the leaders and members of Great Business Networking continue to evolve like I have and become masters of their craft. GBN has directly resulted in numerous local businesses thriving and expanding much beyond what anyone imagined. We have had people run for office, start new companies, create multiple successful companies, obtain dream jobs, and meet the love of their life through our local networks here in Charleston.
The purpose of GBN has always been and always will be, friendship first and business second. Through that focus of our members you can rest assured that other members will have your best interests in the front of their minds and that regardless of the future, you’ll have friends for life. Those bonds are what hold us together and why so many of you are willing to pass quality referrals that actually produce sales. We don’t have to create referral quantity rules, because you actually want to pass referrals that matter to each other.
GBN will continue to provide a large impact to business professionals for years to come, and it is only because you care for each other and have a vested interest in the development of each others. By following Darin’s education and your leader’s directions to find a mentor, attend events together, and focus on your community… you will find success.
I am very proud that more than 50% of Stingray Branding’s sales comes from GBN. That shows me that you trust yourselves and your clients with my team’s abilities and that is the entire point of GBN. The emotional and trust deposits you make today in another will pay you back ten-fold as the time carries on and I challenge you to focus more on how many deposits can you make, rather than how many withdrawals do you get. If it wasn’t for all of you and what you have helped GBN become today, I wouldn’t own a company and would have so many amazing friends. Thank you and continue to invest in each other and this community every day.