By John Tannous 29/10/2019

How did I find out about BNI

Networking was a concept completely new to me. Being a tradesman who cut his teeth running cables and rising through the ranks to eventually settle into a sales role, I never had a need or desire to network, in fact, I actively avoided it. As I gained more experience in sales, I found that networking was going to be a key component in my role.

I was first introduced to BNI through Alison Attard whom I met at an unrelated function. She asked some key questions regarding our business and what would help us grow. Then she facilitated our first visit to another chapter. After meeting members and getting a feel for what BNI was about, my colleague and I decided to find our own chapters to join.

Why BNI Edge?

After visiting a few chapters, I stumbled across BNI Edge. The location was convenient, had parking available and the Electronic Security seat was available. I attended a meeting as a visitor and was greeted as soon as I arrived. The chapter was warm, engaging and entertaining. The meetings were fun and filled with characters but most importantly, the chapter was filled with amazing business owners who took their business as serious as I took mine.

At this point, I knew I had found the chapter for me. I submitted my application and after going through the process, I was approved and am now proud to hold the Electronic Security seat at BNI Edge.

What do I want to gain from BNI?

As someone who has an eclectic range of hobbies and interests, I’m never short of words when it comes to general conversation and I’m able to find common ground/interests with just about anyone I converse with in a One-on-One or small group conversation. The same goes when talking about my industry with others. Put me in front of a crowd, however, and I’ll be a deer in headlights.

I never went to University, well I did do Electrical Engineering for a semester at UWS but that’s almost irrelevant, I’ve never done any form of public speaking, never done any type of networking and I really didn’t know how to stand up and address a crowd. I didn’t even know how to talk about my business, ask for referrals or even know what type of referrals I needed!

The main reason I joined BNI was because I needed some personal development. I needed to learn these skills and learn how to communicate 15 years of technical knowledge in a way that non-technical people could understand.  I needed to be confident when given the opportunity to talk about my business and I needed to learn how to actively listen and provide referrals to my trusted business network.

As a fairly new member of BNI, I am amazed at just how much I have learned just by attending the meetings every week, getting up and talking about my business, participating in weekly One-to-One meetings, generating referrals and trying to bring in visitors. I have learnt how to talk about my business to a crowd of people I am starting to build mutual trust with, who are always there to help guide, advise and support me. I have developed relationships with business owners in similar positions to mine and one of the single greatest advantages is being able to ask people in similar industries how they have overcome common challenges that we face.

BNI Edge has had a huge impact on me and my business even without the referrals. If you are thinking about joining a chapter, visit a few chapters and then come visit Edge so you can see the difference for yourself.

John is one of the members here at EDGE Business Network. And you can find him on his profile page or his own website

By Rick Williams 18.11.19

What is Managed IT?

Managed IT is an outsourced IT service which includes a stack of security software to protect your systems, automated patching and security updates for your network, content filtering, advanced email security, Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity and other services depending on your requirements bundled with unlimited user support.

Why is this better that just fixing my computer if it breaks? Surely, that is cheaper?

The main problem with break fix IT support is it doesn’t protect your data and it is not cost effective. With a per user per month all inclusive model your systems are constantly being monitored and security is always a high priority. With break fix, once something is broken or compromised it’s already too late, your network could have been infected and resolution will inevitably take longer as a lot of background updates and testing will need to happen before the issue can be resolved.

If a system is managed the tech can jump straight into the resolution phase because we have confidence the system is up to date and has all necessary security already installed. In a break fix support environment, a problem can impact the whole network, meaning down time is multiplied by the number of users. So, if there is a server outage for 1 hour and you have 50 employees you have lost 50 hours and your tech is not always on hand to start immediately so potentially even more lost time.

So how does it work?

A Managed IT Solution enables users to be more productive and feel more supported in their workplace. Systems are maintained, so they run faster without compromising security, and business owners can be assured they are getting the most out of their staff. The business gets full time IT support offering a broad range of skills and levels of expertise in diverse areas allowing your business to adapt quickly to the ever-changing technology landscape, security and compliance requirements.

Platform 24 spend a lot of time researching and testing new hardware, software, systems and tools, meaning you don’t have to, and this saves you time and money. You have a fully skilled IT department for a fraction of the cost of managing this in house – think about it, no super, no sick days, no holidays no additional cost for emergency work on your network or servers and best of all no stress.

Managed IT allows you to budget for growth with fixed costs whilst allowing your business to stay ahead of the pack.

So why use Platform 24?

Platform 24 only offer Managed Services – this means that you as a client get our full focus and highly consistent service delivery. Customer Service is at the forefront of everything we do, so much so that our techs get reviewed quarterly in 2 main areas.

  1. Customer Satisfaction survey scores. On the close of every ticket end users get a short survey where they are asked to rate our support – good, bad or indifferent – we value all feedback and our techs take it very seriously. Not surprising really because their bonuses are dependent on them having a positive rating over 90% – so far no-one has missed a bonus!
  2. This does not just mean billable hours, it’s so much more, our techs get 2 days a month to do training, and have to hit documentation targets which also go towards their quarterly bonuses. Motivation indeed to make sure we are always improving our service delivery, speed and accuracy of support.

We are Microsoft partners, HP partners, Sophos partners amongst others, and across the team have an enviable range of Certifications ensuring professional support is delivered at all times.

If your IT is not delivering you a strategic advantage over your competitors then give me a call because we can help.

Rick is a BNI Edge Member who holds the Managed IT Services chair for the chapter, you can get in contact with him here or if you would like to hear more about becoming a BNI Edge Member and opening your business up to a whole world of networking opportunities click here.

By Michael Menzies 6/11/2019

In today’s presentation, Michael explored the relationship between marketing and the broader objectives of a business and how marketers can actually influence business well beyond communications and sales tactics. His insights were based around Porsche, a company that is well known, but at one point was close to bankruptcy.

Michael described how the marketing team conferred with the engineers and company officials of the business to find a brand new product niche in the form of the Porsche Boxster, which changed the fortune of Porsche forever, the insight that was given was that businesses, often look at marketing only as a function of communication for the promotion of the business but  what really happened here was the marketing team were able to give the product team insights into the changing market place and, as such, were able to influence the products that were being developed to reach a valuable audience segment otherwise neglected by the business.

The Boxster provided a new entry level product to allow more people access to an otherwise expensive and relatively inaccessible product.

Now, the example of Porsche a large global business may seem obscure for the SMEs in the room but the point Michael raised was, although the scale of the business may be different, the conundrum faced was very much the same – with things not looking good for Porsche instead of contracting their spending they strategically doubled down, with both product development (innovation) and marketing spend.

Michael highlighted that so many SMEs even in good times fail to invest in either innovation or marketing and think of marketing as an expense rather than an investment.

So, if we look at what Michael had to say today. It’s clear that the opportunity is to work with marketers, not in a hierarchal relationship but instead, have them as a key functional partner within the business with a keen understanding of the product set and look to them to help shape not only the business communications but to, through their insights, influence the product, so that the business can drive sales and profit through market led innovation.

Michael is one of the members here at EDGE Business Network. And you can find him on his profile page or his own website

By Nelson Dueza 20/11/2019

Today’s presentation featured Marijke Walker from Taylors Property Management Specialists. This was her first presentation to our group so it really did give us a very good overview of the Taylors business.

Taylors is a family run property management real estate company that was started in 1926 by Hugh Taylor, then passed down to his son, Brian Taylor. It is now run by Hugh’s grandson, Mark Taylor. As a side note, Mark is a really nice guy; I have personally known him for over 15 years.

Mark says that ‘Our Team’s Passion Has Never Solely Been About Property; It’s About The People. We Exist To Create Intimate Customer Experiences Where Passion And People Come Together And Long-Term Goals Are Realised’.

Professionalism, Communication, Integrity, Proactiveness and Passion are the team’s values.

Marijke went into detail about how they help their clients and use a principle called the three P’s – Price, Presentation and Positioning – in marketing the property and finding the best tenant in the shortest period of time. They only use professional photos, copywriting and premier online listings to secure the lease. They run checks on all their tenant applications – they even check on the tenants pets!

All the property managers have over 10 years’ experience in the industry and they carry out routine inspections twice a year. This is huge as some agents don’t even do these compulsory inspections once a year.

Marijke also spoke about how Taylors go the extra mile with their owners by sharing the knowledge through investor nights and online through their Taylors Insights.

They have a fantastic panel of strategic partners and tradespeople who they entertain every couple of months at their Tradies BBQs.

This was a fantastic presentation from a very energetic professional who I have no problem referring to.

Great work Marijke!

Marijke is one of the members here at EDGE Business Network. And if you’d like to find out more check out her profile page or her company’s site

By Nelson Dueza 29/11/2019

I have been a member at Edge for approx. 3-4 years.

I always tell new members that in my line of work selling houses, it is a big ticket item so I never expected referrals to come through straight away. But this wasn’t the only reason I joined, ideally receiving referrals is great but it is also about the networks at hand to help other clients, the training and the presentation skills learned through our weekly Edge meetings.

I am a sales director at Colliers international based in the CBD so I have many different referral partners through my corporate network and it works really well for me to also have an external Edge network to connect the two together, it makes you very valuable as you have the contacts on both sides to help each other.

As it worked out it took me approx. 1 year before I received my first house to sell through Edge ,after this I have received approx. 3 properties to sell per annum, this is great on top of everything else that you get out of being a member in a very positive group of people who I would consider friends.

Nelson is one of the members here at EDGE Business Network. And you can find his profile page here or visit his company’s site Colliers.

By Marijke Walker 28/11/2019

Nelson has a passion for property. Having spent over 20 years in the real estate industry, award-winning Nelson Dueza thrives in his role as Director of Colliers Residential as he shares the company’s value to empower people and their mission to maximise the potential of property to accelerate the success of of their clients and their people.

In today’s presentation, Nelson also shared how important it is for him to find solutions for all his clients. ‘People come to you with a problem’, he said, ‘and it’s important to find the right solution for their particular situation’. Nelson and his team do this by structuring marketing campaigns that best suit the property. Part of this includes identifying the target market and what is important to that particular market. His strategies have lead to successful outcomes in numerous sales and leasing transactions, whether it be residential, commercial or rural. Nelson also emphasised that videos are an important part of selling, particularly drone footage to show location and how close the property is to the beach, shops, etc.

The BNI referral network is also important to Nelson as he knows he will be referring his clients to a member, who not only is an expert in their profession, but will genuinely help his clients. Likewise, with his years of experience and unique insight into the into Sydney’s residential property market, Nelson can be trusted to work tirelessly for those clients referred to him to negotiate the best possible result for their properties.

Nelson is one of the members here at EDGE Business Network. And you can find his profile page here or visit his company’s site Colliers.

By Marijke Walker 10/12/2019

#1 Marketing

It’s vital that you market your property to put you ahead of the game. You can beat the odds by engaging a property management specialist who will put together a strategic marketing campaign following the 3 Ps:

  • Price – listen to the market, do the research and get the pricing right
  • Presentation – have your property’ on point’ to get it leased and avoid extended vacancy rates
  • Positioning – think about the type of tenant you want to attract then use professional photography and copy in premier listings on Realestate and Domain to stand out

We know this works because the majority of properties we have listed within the past 2 months have leased within 7 days whilst the market average has been 4 to 6 weeks.

#2 Leasing

Once the strategic marketing campaign is complete, your property management specialist will coordinate open homes and private viewings to find the right tenant for you. At the end of the day, you want someone who can pay the rent, will look after your property and someone who will stay long term. A property management specialist will arrange solid reference checks will get you this information.

Remember, you are leasing your biggest investment to a stranger so you want a property management specialist who will get this right and if they have any doubts at all, will say no.

#3 Ongoing Management

Traditionally this has been seen as collecting rent and handling maintenance and repair issues. But it is important you have a property management specialist who does this well. We recommend six monthly routine inspections to ensure the property is well maintained by the tenant and to identify any potential maintenance issues. There is also a legal obligation when it comes to smoke alarms, window locks and ensuring that there are no significant health or safety risks.

Then there are major issues like:

  • A financial crisis: a tenant loses his or her job and can no longer afford to pay the rent
  • A vacate: a tenant moves out, another moves in but you don’t know about it and the new tenant is not on the lease
  • A disturbance: you receive complaints about excessive noise and late night parties from strata and your neighbours are not happy
  • Illegal drug use: drug labs are an endemic problem in some suburbs and the cost to have it cleaned can run into the tens of thousands of dollars

If something does go terribly wrong, you want a property management specialist on your side to present a case for tribunal to get possession back of your property and compensation for any losses incurred.

After being with Taylors Property Management Specialists for 3 years, I have no hesitation in recommending you have a team of professionals on your side. Each of their property management specialists has over 10 years experience in the industry and is passionate about what they do. For between a 5 and 7% management fee, you will not only have peace of mind for the professional marketing, leasing and ongoing management of your investment property, but a great team on your side when things go wrong.

If you would like to learn more about how an experienced property management specialist could help you with your investment property, please contact me.

Marijke is one of the members here at EDGE Business Network. And if you’d like to know more – find her on her profile page or her company’s site

By Ly Dan 12/12/2019

Today’s insight was delivered by Louise Hethorn, BNI Edge’s Conveyancer from Cohen and Krass. The presentation was delivered as a “Day in the life of a conveyancer”, which provided the group with a run down of the process associated with property conveyancer, where no two days were the same! Different clients, different circumstances, different requirements, different timelines or deadlines! But regardless of the situation, Louise is focused on what the client needs. The client always comes first!

Louise went through an example where a client was referred to her by Craig Forman of Cane Financial. The client was bidding at auction and won, and needed the contract process to be reviewed and looked after. Louise went the extra mile to support her client’s home buying journey. Louise then circulated sample contracts around the group, so we can get a sense of how in depth she goes into reviewing contracts to support her clients.

Many of the Edgers has worked with, or has referred their clients onto Louise. Knowing how well their client will be supported by Louise, regardless of day of week or time of day. She not only supports clients during their home buying process, but also Sales Agents requiring that competitive advantage to quickly make negotiations.

Well done Louise on your continued dedication!

Louise is one of the members here at EDGE Business Network. And you can find her profile page here or visit her company’s site Cohen and Krass.

As a lawyer, I am no stranger to networking events but what I have found with BNI is that it is so much more than networking. We get to know each other through our weekly breakfast meetings and also at our regular social functions and catch ups. This structured approach leads to great business connections but also a sense of community as I now have access to such a diverse group of like minded individuals with the same goals. I’ve found BNI has provided me with great training that I’ve been able to apply in my office, at home and even with friends who are thinking of starting a new business.

Thanks to the friendships that I have formed in BNI, I have been able to generate more revenue through this direct source of networking than in any other networking groups I have been involved in before. I’m looking forward to what the next year of BNI will bring and what I can bring to my fellow members.

Samantha is one of the members here at EDGE Business Network. And you can find her profile page here or visit her company’s site Nolan Lawyers.