Forest Entrepreneurs Business Networking: The Rules
A broad based membership is desirable, reflecting the diverse nature of the community in which the network exists, with the full range of professions and businesses operating in the catchment area.
a) The intention is to achieve one representative of each type of business or profession. Members may represent only one main business activity, as documented on their membership application form.
b) There can be exceptions where one member’s business overlaps with those of another member in respect of minor fringe activities. For example, in the finance world where there may be a mortgage broker and a banker, or in the property world where property letting would be seen as a different business to estate agency, eg there is no direct conflict. It is important, however, that members with fringe conflicting activities agree between themselves those activities that they will not present to other members.
c) In order for members to be able to promote each other it is imperative that there is trust and confidence – both on a personal and business level – between members of the group.
d) Existing members will be the authority for the adoption of a new member, which will be proposed via email.
e) Attendance: In order to achieve maximum business networking support, members should achieve an 80% attendance.
f) If a member cannot attend a meeting their business may be represented by a substitute person (who can be from the members business, or an existing Forest Entrepreneurs member may also take this role). This will also maintain their attendance levels.
2. Conflict in Membership
Where a prospective new member is introduced and an objection to membership is raised, or there is a perceived conflict of interest, that person’s membership shall be determined following discussion and (if necessary) a vote at the next subsequent meeting of the committee.
3. Membership Complaints
As with any problem between two parties, they should meet and talk and endeavour to agree a satisfactory outcome. It is not the role of Forest Entrepreneurs to act as an arbitrator, however, if the committee receives a written complaint about the services rendered or goods sold by a member, they will interview the member about whom the complaint was made. Any decision made by the committee will be seen as final.
The good reputation of Forest Entrepreneurs and its members must be maintained.
At all meetings, guests are very welcome. Guests may benefit from business referral by becoming better known within the network. Notice of Intention to bring a guest should be given to the Chairman/ Membership Secretary with full details of their profession or main business activity.
Prior to inviting guests, members should consider Rule 1a.
If your Guest has not visited the Group before, then their initial visit will be free.
However, if they have visited before, then the Meeting fee is currently £20.00, and payable at the start of the Meeting, either to the Chairman or the Membership Secretary.
Each Guest will be allowed a maximum of 3 visits in total. And we would expect to hear from the Guest within 3 months of attending as a Guest, to advise if they would like to be considered as a Member.
5. Referrals & Testimonials
In acknowledging their membership of Forest Entrepreneurs, members will recognise that it is agreed to promote the aims of the Club and above all interests of members whenever possible to refer any new business opportunity.
Every club needs to have some structure to enable gentle leadership and some accountability. Forest Entrepreneurs have agreed the following key posts requiring minimal input but sufficient for accountability in the event of a legal challenge.
At the present time, these key posts will be reviewed at annual intervals. Officers of the Club are shown at Appendix ‘A’ below.
Chair: Forest Entrepreneurs will appoint a Chairperson whose responsibility it is to represent Forest Entrepreneurs, guide and organise the meetings business.
Vice Chair/ Secretary: Supporting and assisting the role of Chairman, and, on occasion, standing in for the Chairman.
Treasurer: A Treasurer will be identified to afford for the legal accounting of any monies of the Club.
Membership Secretary: Responsible for recording and managing membership details as well as co-ordinating meetings with the Chairman.
Hospitality Co-ordinator: This person will be responsible for meeting and greeting guests and signing them in and collecting any monies due from visitors. The role is likely to be the Membership Secretary and/ or other committee member.
7. Financial and accounting
Forest Entrepreneurs will hold a bank account, this has been opened through our banker with NatWest Bank. The account will be used to hold existing funds and additional reserves raised through club business.
Members, once they have joined will be required to set a standing order in favour of Forest Entrepreneurs, and the cost will be £33.00 per calendar month paid in advance.
Guests/ Visitors will pay £20.00 per visit. This to assist in raising funds for the Club to cover legitimate Meeting expenses.
Historically, greater funds have been needed to facilitate postage etc. To keep all stationery and associated costs to a minimum Forest Entrepreneurs will work electronically via the use of email.
The financial status of the Club’s funds should be reported on quarterly basis, more frequently should the Treasurer need to seek the guidance of members.
Forest Entrepreneurs have agreed to meet on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month with networking commencing at 6pm. The meeting will consist of a light dinner until approximately 8.30 pm. Everyone present has the opportunity to introduce themselves, their business and current business needs, for 1 minute.
There will be a Member Presentation at each Meeting, unless it is an Open Event, of which you will find the future ones for the next 2 months on the Meetings page.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact either the Chairman or Secretary.
Appendix A: Officers of Forest Entrepreneurs as at 20th March 2017:
Chairman: James Mann
Vice Chair/ Secretary: Jane Porter
Membership Secretary: Gill Hepburn
Treasurer: James Mann
Hospitality Co-Ordinator: Deborah Vaughan
All Committee Members are: