Local business owners support each other at BNI

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Nancy McNamara of Linwood holds her “Oscar” award for best 30-second commercial. At right is Bo Markovich of Northfield. Nancy McNamara of Linwood holds her “Oscar” award for best 30-second commercial. At right is Bo Markovich of Northfield.  EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Nearly every Tuesday morning, in the back room at the Diamond Diner in Egg Harbor Township, one local professional holds up the “Oscar” as nominees wait to see if they’ve been chosen. The category is “Best 30-Second Commercial.”

It’s a weekly award ceremony that few outside the room know about – but it’s just another way members have fun at the Atlantic City 1 Chapter of Business Networking International, a group of business owners who gather to trade referrals and share tips on growing business.

At the meeting on March 18, the main subject of discussion was the upcoming Visitors Day on Tuesday, March 25. Although guests are welcome at any meeting, the annual event is a special time for the group, when newcomers are invited to apply for a position as the sole representative of their profession’s category in the BNI chapter.

It’s a coveted spot for some, like Bo Markovich of Northfield, who heard about BNI in 2006, but was unable to join because his profession was already represented.

“You really have to be the cream of the crop to make it in BNI,” he said.

Markovich’s company, Yanbo Solutions, offers web design, social media and email marketing. He joined the Margate chapter of BNI about a year and a half ago, and takes pride in the fact members are required to uphold a code of ethics.

“You really can’t fake it,” he advised. “Live up to your name, otherwise it’s not going to go well.”

Daniel Crines of Egg Harbor Township, owner of cleaning company FinnSki Household Services, learned about BNI in 2009 after placing an ad in The Current.

“I had just started my business, and I felt it was a good fit. There were a lot of parallels between me and other business owners,” he said.

Nancy McNamara of Linwood – who won the “Oscar” this week – joined the group in January 2012 after several months of evaluating BNI to see if it was right for her home-based business, Sea of Tranquility Massage.

“For me personally, the most successful way to build a reputable, profitable business is by word of mouth. Having other reputable, skilled professionals and business owners is the best source of solid references,” McNamara said.

McNamara said that since she joined the group, 100 percent of her clientele has been referred through BNI. She also appreciates her fellow members’ dedication to their own businesses.

“We have Andy [Parker] with Aire Serv that will drop whatever he is doing to put the heat back on, and stay for hours until the job is done,” she said. “[Lawyer] Mark Kargman is available 24/7 and will pick up the phone at 3 a.m. to help a client.”

L. Marie Zumwalt of Pleasantville, owner of Zumwalt Accounting Services, said she loves the energy in the group.

“Each member is carefully vetted, so we feel confident in referring our best clients to each other,” she said.

According to Zumwalt, the benefits extend beyond individual businesses.

“When we refer to others in our group, we know we are supporting businesses in the local community,” she said.

Members of the chapter live and work across Atlantic County, in Absecon, Galloway, Northfield, Mays Landing and anywhere in between.

Breakfast networking meetings are held 8-9:30 a.m. every Tuesday at the Diamond Diner, 7611 Washington Ave. in Egg Harbor Township. Visitors are welcome, and the only cost to attend is the price of breakfast.

For information or to reserve a seat, call Chuck Finkelday at 609-412-4651 or visit www.BNIDVR.com and click “Find a Chapter.”

From left are BNI members Deniss Culkovs of Egg Harbor Township, Daniel Crines of Egg Harbor Township, L. Marie Zumwalt of Pleasantville and Alex Clark of Absecon. From left are BNI members Deniss Culkovs of Egg Harbor Township, Daniel Crines of Egg Harbor Township, L. Marie Zumwalt of Pleasantville and Alex Clark of Absecon.

Members of the Atlantic City 1 Chapter of Business Networking International gather on Tuesday, March 18 at Diamond Diner in Egg Harbor Township. Members of the Atlantic City 1 Chapter of Business Networking International gather on Tuesday, March 18 at Diamond Diner in Egg Harbor Township.


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