Business Networking Organization Helped Spur Company’s Growth

When Jim Curoso wanted an education on business matters he was lacking knowledge in, he turned to the Business Network Institute and got what he was looking for

Business Networking Organization Helped Spur Company’s Growth

Jim Curoso

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Jim Curoso may be the sole owner of Curoso Plumbing in Santa Rosa, California. But for several years after he took ownership of the company founded by his father, Jim Curoso Sr., he nonetheless relied on a host of business “partners” for advice, courtesy of the Business Network Institute.

With more than 270,000 members worldwide and 9,500 chapters, the BNI (www.bni.com) is an invaluable source of not only business referrals, but advice on topics ranging from legal matters and accounting to marketing and branding. Membership in the group contributed significantly to his company’s rapid growth, Curoso says.

“I wanted to grow, but I didn’t know how to drum up more business,” he says. “I was used to putting an ad in the phone book and waiting to see who called me.

“But the BNI opened so many doors in terms of learning how to market my company, especially with developing a presentable website,” he adds. “The input I received is a large reason why we’re now so busy. I learned how to run a business from a whole lot of like-minded people. I didn’t have to learn as many things the hard way because I learned it from other companies in our group.”

Speaking of busy, there are times when Curoso — who has only three employees and finds it difficult to hire more — can’t handle all the customer calls coming in. But through the BNI, he developed contacts with other local plumbers to whom he can comfortably and confidently refer work.

“It’s so great to have a good group of friendly competitors that I can refer work to,” he says. “And it’s also not uncommon for them to call me with questions and vice versa.

“I thought the value of this would be a way to get more business referrals. But what I really learned was the value of having people to bounce questions off of about things like insurance, customer service or legal issues. It’s invaluable to have a network of people on whom you can rely.”

The annual cost of membership was $2,000 during the three years Curoso was part of the BNI, and he says it was worthwhile investment. Membership included weekly meetings where members of the local chapter were required to provide updates about their businesses.

“Stepping out of my comfort zone and talking about my business in front of people I didn’t know was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” he says. “But it was a great learning experience.”

Read more about Curoso Plumbing in the December 2020 issue of Plumber magazine.



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