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New BNI chapter in Marlborough gets down to business

March 4, 2011 – In a down economy, businesses need all the help they can get. That’s where Business Network International comes in.

A new Marlborough BNI chapter launched in October and has about 25 members.

“There’s nothing like having 24 people listening for business opportunities for you on a daily basis,” said Eric Asman, president of the group, which is called BNI United.

Asman, vice president at Fairway Independent Mortgage, holds the seat for residential mortgage member. Only one seat is available per profession.

Members refer potential business to one another. BNI includes several different spheres, such as real estate, which includes the residential mortgage and realtor members. Members in the same sphere naturally refer business to each other, but there is some crossover, too, Asman said.

The group has already hit nearly $400,000 worth of business income in referrals.

“The amount of business passed is almost unprecedented for a brand-new chapter,” Asman said. “We’re an up-and-comer.”

Networking helps businessmen connect with the community and pick up new work, which is especially helpful in a down economy, said Mark Evangelous, president and general manager of Gemini Sign and a member of BNI United. Evangelous, who paid about $600 for two years of membership, has picked up close to $3,500 in business from the group’s referrals.

“It definitely paid off,” he said.

Evangelous, who is also on the membership committee, said the group’s goal is to have 35 members by May.

BNI United is looking for members to fill several key profession slots, including a mover, accountant, acupuncturist and chiropractor, Asman said.

The other chapter in the city, BNI Marlboro, launched in 1997 and has about 55 members. Two chapters in the same community can work if there’s enough interest, said Patti Salvucci, executive director of BNI Massachusetts, which has its regional office in Sudbury.

“I think the members are very excited,” Salvucci said of the new chapter. “They’re doing a lot of business.”

Asman said the two Marlborough groups share a camaraderie.

“The original Marlborough chapter was so successful,” he said. “Because they’re so strong, I felt I could start another.”

BNI Marlboro is the biggest chapter in Greater Boston, said Steve Tannuzzo, an assistant director of BNI Massachusetts.

“It was time for us to add another chapter in Marlborough,” said Tannuzzo, who worked with Asman and a couple of other people to start BNI United.

The BNI organization began in 1985, and BNI has 93 chapters in Greater Boston, Salvucci said.

When Asman first started in the mortgage industry, he said BNI helped him pick up 50 percent of his business.

“I don’t know if I would have succeeded without BNI,” Asman said.

BNI United meets on Fridays at 7 a.m. at the Saints Anargyroi Greek Orthodox Church, 9 Central St., Marlborough.

For more information on BNI United, call Asman at 508-481-5626. For more information on BNI Massachusetts, visit bnimass.com.

This story originally appeared here