Once upon a time, four businessmen got together to bemoan the quality of some business networking clubs.
We talked about what we would look for in a club, who we would like to attend, and what we would like to get out of the perfect club.
The formula we came up with consisted of:
Owner, director and partners only
Minimum turnover of £2m+ or 10+ staff
Only 1 person per company
Only 1 law firm, 1 bank and 1 accountant
In October 2007, we set up the Brighton & Hove Business Lunch Club, followed a year later by the Crawley & Gatwick Business Lunch Club. The clubs have thrived and today have a combined membership of nearly 100 senior business figures (sussexbusinesslunchclubs.com).
Earlier this year, I started talking to the Eastbourne & District Chamber of Commerce and Eastbourne Borough Council about bringing the club format to my home town of Eastbourne. They were both very supportive of the idea and keen to get involved.
My next stop was to find a top Eastbourne law firm, top accountancy firm and a top High Street bank with client lists suited to my target audience. Gaby Hardwicke, OBC The Accountants and Barclays fitted the bill and were delighted to get involved.
My final call was to Jonathan Webley at The Grand Hotel. The club needs a top venue where excellence of food and service are guaranteed. Jonathan bought into the concept immediately.
I am therefore delighted to announce the launch of the Eastbourne & District Business Lunch Club.
Our club is by invitation only. You have received this letter because we think you would add value to the club and, more importantly for you, we believe that you would get something out of it.
We will meet once a month for an excellent two course lunch. We will have a quality speaker and we will have some entertaining guests.
The first meeting will be on Friday July 13 at The Grand Hotel on Eastbourne’s seafront. It will be our treat and allows us to give you a flavour of the potential of the club.
We have 50 places available for the launch, and seats will be filled on a “first come, first served” basis.
At the second meeting, Friday August 10, you will pay your own way (£30 per head). You must also decide if you wish to be part of the club going forward. The cost of annual membership is £250+vat., plus the monthly costs of your lunch and drinks.
We hope to see you there.