BEN (Business Expansion Network)

A Discussion and Leads Group through the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Upcoming Events

New Members

Explore BEN

Are you looking for a unique way to build your business? The Grundy County Chamber’s Business Expansion Network (BEN) will give you the opportunity to meet with numerous other business professionals. During the meeting time, you will have numerous chances to explain your line of work in order to educate those around the room. In time it will seem as if those people will be working for you. If you are the type of person who enjoys discussing different business topics and sharing your wealth of knowledge with others and enjoys referring businesses to others then BEN is right for you!

This unique group provides additional opportunities for members who are interested in a smaller, more focused, structured and frequent form of networking. It is a combination of individuals from the business community who meet to share ideas, information and ultimately exchange leads/referrals.

Although the main focus is on generating more business, the group can provide a great way to become more comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. Also, you will have a chance to perfect a short sales pitch, pick up on ideas and practices that you may have never thought of, and bounce ideas off of professionals from different walks of life.

Send us an email or call 815-942-0113!

Visit a meeting!

We meet the 1st and 3rd Tuesday mornings (8 a.m.) at the Chamber's Main Office in Morris.

Join BEN

The Business Expansion Network is an affiliated group of the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce & Industry, whose objective is to help businesses grow through a networking meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to generate new business through quality leads and referrals.

Grundy chamber Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Simple Communications

"Our B.E.N. Leads Group is a great way to meet and interact with other business contacts who share the same goal of promoting their growth. I have made some significant leads through B.E.N."

Current BEN Members

  • Cloud Nine Communications

    Ed Ellingham
    (815) 585-4800

  • Grundy County Chamber

    Samantha Yeager-Walrath
    (815) 942-0113

  • Kathy Cherven Grief Counseling Services

    Kathy Cherven
    (815) 416-9036

  • First National Bank of Minooka

    Christy Lister
    (815) 941-0044

  • Artful Marketing

    Ariana Nuccio
    (815) 585-5223

  • Barvian Realty

    Raquel Goggin
    (630) 207-9566

business expansion group man

Grundy County Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Business Expansion Network

The Grundy County Chamber has established a Business Expansion Network (B.E.N.), which meet weekly to help member businesses flourish.  Specifically, participation in a Business Expansion Network offers:

  1. The active exchange of business referrals (leads)
  2. A chance to learn from other professionals and bounce ideas off of one another
  3. A platform for forming strong relationships with other professionals
  4. Continual and higher level of involvement in the Grundy County Chamber

All B.E.N. applicants must agree to the following terms and conditions, and be approved by the Grundy County Chamber staff liaison and/or B.E.N. Moderator. Participants of the Business Expansion Network must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be current on Business Expansion Network dues. Dues are $100 for the first year and $75 upon renewal.  
  2. Maintain consistent attendance (see Attendance requirement)

Member Requirements

  1. If eligibility requirements are not met during a quarter, a member may be placed on probation for the following quarter or removed from the Network entirely, at the discretion of the Chamber representative or Moderator.
  2. Possible Network members are invited to visit the Network once as a guest and then may return to the group, as a paying Network member, if space is available.  
  3. The Network may adopt requirement changes with a 2/3 vote of approval by the group.
  4. Guests must be a prospective member of the Network, not a coworker or business partner.  
  5. The business or the independent contractor who pays for the Network dues holds membership in the Network.  
  6. A Network member is eligible to participate in multiple Grundy Chamber Chamber Leads Groups as long as they pay membership dues for each participating group and remain a member in good standing for each group.
  7. A Network member may have a coworker or business partner attend a meeting in his or her absence.
  8. Each member is responsible for providing a supply of business cards for distribution to other members.
  9. ATTENDANCE to meetings shall be considered the same as any other business appointment. If an individual is unable to attend, they must notify the Chamber liaison or Moderator prior to the meeting. An individual missing three (3) consecutive meetings, or six (6) within any twelve month period without notification and reasonable excuse, shall be asked to resign from the group.
  10. If a member leaves the organization, either voluntarily or because they fail to meet the requirements and are terminated, there will be no refund of dues paid.

A qualified lead is defined as:

  1. A true, possible business transaction passed to a specific individual.
  2. Current and accurate information shared on a Leads Form.
  3. A guest who is a prospective member.

Topics Discussed in Round-Table Sessions

The delegation, small business tools, and resources, project management, dealing with difficult customers, marketing and advertising, etc.

Chamber Responsibilities

  1. Maintain a current and accurate waiting list of interested applicants.
  2. Secure meeting space for Business Expansion Network group.
  3. Provide a Chamber staff person as a liaison per each Network. A staff person will attend meetings and provide updates on upcoming Chamber activities.
  4. Keep records of attendance, payment of dues, guest speakers, and other schedules.
  5. Contact members who are delinquent on dues or falling short of attendance requirements and informing the member of their responsibilities.
  6. Sends guests follow-up evaluation surveys about the meeting they attended.

Moderator Responsibilities

Each Network will select a Moderator and an Assistant Moderator to serve a six-month term.  Moderators may serve no more than two consecutive terms, with a waiting period of one year until serving again.

  1. The moderator will facilitate the Network meetings.
  2. The Moderator will review Member Applications and assign categories when necessary.
  3. The Assistant Moderator will become the Moderator and may fill in absence of the Moderator.  

Weekly Meetings Format

Meals are not provided, though, members may purchase or bring their own meal to the meeting (however, it is arranged with the meeting facility).

  1. Meetings are held biweekly at a predetermined time and place.  
  2. Meeting begins with Moderator introducing any guests.
  3. In a round-robin style, members stand and state their name and describe their business (30 seconds each).
  4. Any current or new business is discussed.
  5. The Chamber liaison presents upcoming events and news.
  6. The ‘Business Spotlight’ member stands and presents their prepared ten-minute presentation in front of the group or we start the round-table discussion on that meeting's topic.
  7. Each member then either presents a referral, testimonial or gives the group more information about another business in the group which may help to educate others on the full extent of that business.
  8. The Business Spotlight schedule is determined.
  9. Moderator adjourns the meeting.

Business Spotlight Requirements

As a benefit of membership, each Network member will be offered the opportunity to give a “spotlight” talk to the group on a rotating basis. As such, the speaker is responsible for:

  1. Preparing a 10-minute presentation of their business.
  2. Providing copies of brochures, flyers, etc (if appropriate) to group members.

Arranging a replacement speaker in the event they are unable to make a presentation as scheduled.

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