Derry business: Local businesses join forces to forge ahead at FBN

Simon Marks, Director of FBN.
Simon Marks, Director of FBN.

For Foyle Business Network members the term ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is much more than just a well worn cliché.

Businesses who have signed up to the new not-for-profit networking group have bought into the whole ethos behind the commonly used phrase - so much so they spring out of beds all over the North West to engage in weekly dawn meetings while competitors are sleeping soundly.

FBN was set up in May to help drive members’ businesses forward through word-of-mouth marketing – a method widely regarded as the most credible form of advertising.

The group has been growing week on week since its formation with members reaping the advantages of being a part of the network. The aim of FBN is to facilitate £20,000 in business for members each week solely as a result of in-house referrals.

“The whole idea is for members to get to know, like and trust one another – and most importantly to generate business for one another through referrals,” explains FBN Director Simon Marks.

“The phrase ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ loosely sums up the ethos behind what we’re about. Through building strong business relationships within our group we plan to generate on-going, quality business referrals for all members of FBN. Our target is to generate £20,000 of business referrals per week, totalling in excess of £1m of business per year and we’re certainly moving in that direction”

Mr Marks describes word-of-mouth marketing as “the worlds best kept marketing secret”.

He explains: “Practically everyone knows how important it is, but few learn how to develop it. FBN members are doing just that in Derry and the potential of the word-of-mouth method is being realised in real business gains.

“Our weekly meetings include education slots from existing members and outside speakers to increase members’ knowledge. Members also have 60 seconds each week to promote their respective businesses and educate other members on what makes them different. All members are also given the opportunity to deliver a ten minute presentation on their business on a round robin basis.”

Membership of FBN is made up of a wide range of businesses from various sectors, all of which work in harmony for mutual benefit.

Mr Marks explains: “Only one business can be represented in any business sector, effectively locking out competition.”

He adds: “We are currently seeking to grow our membership and FBN has a target of 35 members with each offering something different to the marketplace.

“FBN will host an open night entitled ‘Driving Legenderry Business Growth’ in the Tower Hotel on Tuesday October 28 from 6pm – all businesses in the North West are welcome to attend to learn more of what we’re all about and perhaps join in the buzz.”

FBN comprises businesses from both sides of the border and all over the North West region. It meets every Tuesday at 7am in Da Vinci’s Ramada Hotel. To register for the upcoming open night or for further information on the group check out Foyle Business Network on Facebook and Twitter.