Complementary Therapists Association - Forums
Posted by Angela Rawlins, Apr 12 2008 3:31PM

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Athena Networking groups

Hi

Has anyone joined and had experience of these groups? Do they work for our type of industry?

They charge £180 to join for a year plus £18 per lunch meeting, that's only if you jpin on the day other wise it's £230 per year. You apparently get profile on the Athena site, no other person can join a group doing the same thing....
Sharon Lorimer
Apr 16 2008 9:13AM
Hi Angela,

I've never heard of this networking group but having taken a quick look at their website they appear to be 'similar' to the Ecademy networking group. Ecademy run loads of networking events, which are a good way of getting yourself 'out there'. I'm not too sure about the cost, I think they have different levels of membership you can choose from.

Kind Regards
Sharon
Amanda Clegg
Apr 22 2008 12:05AM
Hi there
I've not heard of Athena, but I guested at a BNI meeting - VERY expensive- £100 joining fee and £400 pa!, and probably not that useful for the one-person band, as they primarily do business networking. Check out Biziwomen: we meet every couple of months in Guildford for coffee, at a cost of £5 per meeting, no sub. Very useful contacts gained.
Gillian Kenyon
May 14 2008 8:09PM
Hi all,

I have, for 30 years been a member of both the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the British Institute of Management. Both have local networking meetings that I have attended on the basis that networking is a great thing for building reputation and referred work.

Very, very many years ago I was one of the Founder Members of Manchester Breakfast Rotary Club - unusual that they let a lady in (me). Their stringent policy on attendance meant that after a year of trying to juggle planes and client visits, I had to leave because I wasn't in the place they needed me to be in to attend required meetings.

Over the intervening years I have also been involved with the siroptomists (ladies version of the masons), and been invited to join Women's Institute, BNI and many others.

From my experience, if you have a well founded group with lots of members in different industries - then it can help everyone to know what you do and you know what they do - but only if you pass work between you and cross refer.

However, the hundreds of pounds cost of membership pyramid franchise groups like BNI and the limited membership numbers at each meeting does not make economic sense. You could utilise your investment in a far more effective way in smaller amounts of contribution to far more organisations and your time better across a wider number of people.

Please do consider these groups carefully - the number of client referrals you get is very limited from my experience. It's just that the theory sounds great when the recruiters to the membership franchise are telling you about it.
Angela Rawlins
May 15 2008 5:05PM
Thanks Gillian

You have a wide knowledge and experience - much appreciated. It seems a lot of money to stump up, which I wouldn't mind if it only had success.


Angela
Amanda Clegg
May 16 2008 8:40AM
Hi - I guess I'm with Gillian on this - loads of money for not much guaranteed return. We'd be better off spending it on general advertising (now there's a sore point with the media). However, you can go to BNI meetings on visitor days - they try to recruit you, but it's not obligatory. I think they are quite happy for you to try it out several times (before deciding not to commit! :) )

I recently met Penny Power when she gave a presentation about ecademy (funny coincidence but she only lives about 8 miles from me!), and it looks really good if you have the time to use it effectively, Bit of a learning curve I think. Basic membership is free, but that's a bit limiting. the next level is about £10 per month which allows you to advertise and blog, which looks quite good and seems quite cost effective compared to some of the other netwroking organisations we are discussing.

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