January = survival. Cold, frosty days, wet dreary days... holed up in our HQ, plotting and planning for the best year yet. We have emerged into February, ready to mingle and set 2017 alight.

Networking, networking, networking!

CBZ Photo is now a proud member of the world esteemed Business Networking International (BNI), we are absolutely delighted to be part of an energetic, and inspiring team of likeminded businesses, which make up the Reading Central Chapter.

Like most good things in life, there is always a compromise. In this case, it is rising at 05:15 every single Friday morning. I must confess, I had written off, this frankly ludicrous idea as a permanent feature in my life shortly after defrosting my windscreen in the pitch dark for our first visit to a BNI meeting. A mere two hours later, I'd backtracked; in fact, performed a handbrake U-turn to concede there was something pretty special about this group.  

If I am being completely transparent, during our first meeting I don't think either Peter or I had the first clue what was going on. However, what was clear, is that there was a very definite structure, which everyone else seemed very au fait with, so at the very least it appeared to be organised chaos! Amongst the frenetic scribbling of pink, white and yellow slips to my left and right, I felt a real sense of something incredibly powerful happening around me.

Despite the whirlwind experience, in a round about way both Peter and I drew a similar conclusion to our experience with BNI. Our most impressive take-away has to have been the sheer amount of business that was passed around the room, the way in which each and every member contributed to the meeting, in some form of positive manner was, nothing short of impressive. There is no denying, I had gone in with, as it turns out, an unfounded, misconception that BNI was going to be far too formal, and dare I say it, 'old boys club' for my liking. I can 100% confirm this was not the case. The camaraderie and group dynamics sealed the deal on our decision to apply for membership... and the breakfast was pretty good too!

I have no doubt there are going to be lots of exciting opportunities to get involved with through our new found friends at BNI. Exciting times (and early mornings) lie ahead!