Tradesman generate £1m for rural economy

A meeting of the Diss Mere BNI in the town's Corn Hall Exchange. Picture: Diss Mere BNI

A meeting of the Diss Mere BNI in the town's Corn Hall Exchange. Picture: Diss Mere BNI - Credit: Archant

A rural economy has received a cash injection of £1m after tradesman used word of mouth to generate business.

From left to right: Martin Cobbald, Owen Couperwaite and Paul Campbell of the Diss Mere BNI. Picture

From left to right: Martin Cobbald, Owen Couperwaite and Paul Campbell of the Diss Mere BNI. Picture: Diss Mere BNI - Credit: Archant

The Diss Mere Chapter of Business Network International (BNI) says it has contributed £1m to the area's economy through working with its 27 members to share work and experiences.

Owen Couperthwaite, of Anglian Floor Craft. is the group's president. He said listening for business opportunities for fellow members has been key.

He said: "We are a word of mouth business referral organisation.

"As well as running their own small businesses, our members look and listen out for business opportunities for the other members of the group.

Left to right: seated member Matt Howe, Martin Cobbald, secretary/treasurer, Owen Couperthwaite, pre

Left to right: seated member Matt Howe, Martin Cobbald, secretary/treasurer, Owen Couperthwaite, president, Paul Campbell, vice president. Picture: Diss Mere BNI - Credit: Archant


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"A plumber might be working in a customer's home and the customer mentions that they would like to replace their kitchen, the plumber can recommend our member, a skilled carpenter who specializes in bespoke kitchens and bedrooms.

"He can recommend him with total confidence as we meet every week, see examples of each other's work and learn what each business can deliver."

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The members of the group range from home improvements and maintenance to money and housing experts.

Since a new leadership team was put in place in April last year, the group has been working towards reaching its £1m target.

Mr Couperwaite added: "Breaking the £1m benchmark is down to individual members going the extra mile for each other.

"It was a target we set as the leadership team, myself as president, Paul Campbell of Mortgage Response as vice president and Martin Cobbald from Dealey Associates as secretary treasurer.

"We set a target to share £1m worth of business between ourselves and to have 30 members. At that time, based on the performance of the group we were ranked 425th out of more than 500 chapters in the UK and were ranked 12th in Norfolk.

"In the previous 12 months we had shared £670,530 worth of business between 22 members. Last month we were ranked the best performing chapter in Norfolk and 17th in the UK.

"But we are still punching above our weight and outperforming chapters with 100 members."

The business group has now set a target to share £1,75m worth of business in the next year.

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