IN THE COM­MU­NITY

Build­ing re­la­tion­ships, gain­ing knowl­edge just part of the take­away

Times of the Islands - - Departments - Ann Marie O’Phe­lan is a South­west Florida res­i­dent and a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to TOTI Me­dia.

Ev­ery Tues­day at 8:30 a.m. at Karma & Co­conuts art bou­tique and gift shop in Cape Coral, a group of lo­cal busi­ness lead­ers and busi­ness own­ers—with small to mid­size busi­nesses—meet for an hour. They lis­ten to talks and of­fer in­sights dur­ing their weekly meet­ing of the Cape Cru­saders chap­ter of Master Net­works, which is a mem­ber­ship net­work of learn­ing-based, ser­vice-ori­ented en­trepreneurs and busi­ness lead­ers. Margie Tann is pres­i­dent of Cape Cru­saders. She says, “Most all mem­bers ar­rive about 15 to 20 min­utes early and usu­ally stay af­ter to net­work more.” Tann, who owns Florida In­sur­ance and Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices, adds, “We have cof­fee and wa­ter avail­able at the meet­ings, and of­ten­times a mem­ber will bring in a sweet for all to en­joy.” Mem­bers come from a wide va­ri­ety of fields, in­clud­ing con­struc­tion and trades, per­sonal ser­vices, real es­tate and le­gal ser­vices. Ages range from early 20s to mid-70s, with a bal­anced mix of men and women. In­ter­est­ingly, the group is “in­dus­try exclusive,” mean­ing there is only one per­son, per oc­cu­pa­tion, at a time in the chap­ter. Once a po­ten­tial mem­ber is ac­cepted, there is a one­time cost of $150 to join, and then the mem­ber pays dues of $49.95 per month. Af­fil­i­ate re­wards, how­ever, can be earned to off­set many, if not all, costs. The group isn’t all about busi­ness. Mem­bers are also a bit like a work fam­ily and meet up for af­ter-hours events, monthly socials, hol­i­day gath­er­ings and an­nual events.

Brian Solt is the regional direc­tor of the Florida South Re­gion of Master Net­works and es­tab­lishes, grows and pro­motes chap­ters through­out the area. “There are many ben­e­fits of join­ing this group, such as gain­ing a wider net­work, get­ting re­fer­rals, and re­ceiv­ing train­ing, as well as grow­ing con­fi­dence and in­creas­ing re­la­tion­ships,” ex­plains Solt.

As the say­ing goes, peo­ple do busi­ness with those who they know, like and trust. “It’s a lot more than just hand­ing some­one a busi­ness card,” Tann adds.

Margie Tann

Bri­anSolt

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