Calaveras County’s local chapter of the meet-and-greet group Business Network International has re-christened itself the Calaveras Professional Association.
The change came due to a desire to focus more on education, particularly using social media like Facebook, Twitter and MerchantCircle to generate more business.
BNI’s rules limited the amount of time alloted for education during meetings, according to group president Mara Naber, who runs a skin care business called Footpath to Health.
The group’s weekly meetings, abundant face-to-face time, practice “informercials” where members sell their products to the group and emphasis on earning referrals will continue, Naber said.
“We all act as a sales force for everyone else in the group,” she said.
Member Donna Stevenson, a wealth manager with Pacific West Financial Group, has been a past president of both the Angels Camp Business Association and the Angels-Murphys Rotary Club.
She thinks highly of both, but she says her contacts through CPA have brought in far more dollars.
“This organization, because of the weekly meetings, has generated more business for me,” said Stevenson, who was a founding president two years ago of the Angels Camp chapter of BNI. “They’re not about generating business for you — this is.”
Newcomers also say the association has helped them.
“This has been a great springboard for me to grow my business,” said Phyllis Sheridan, who started her screen printing business, Northwood Creations, in late 2008.
“It’s been a wonderful way to learn about business, how to run a business,” she said.