Joe Lemire: My name’s Joe Lemire. I am the Chief Innovator for Elyk Innovation and we provide internet strategy services for businesses of all sizes. Essentially we help businesses use the internet to grow.
Actually joined the SBRN about 10 years ago and worked with them not only as a member but also the SBRN is my client. Ken Smith actually introduced the SBRN to me about 10 years ago and he communicated to me the value of developing the relationships with quality professionals in a variety of industries. After examining that, I felt like it was a good fit, because that’s where I imagined that I would be.
As a result I’ve been able to make good connections with good attorneys, good bankers, good insurance folks, and not only as resources for myself and resources for my clients, but also as potential customers.
No one can just randomly join the SBRN. They have to have qualifications. They have to have credentials. So when I refer someone to another SBRN member, I know that it’s a quality referral. Every time I meet someone who fits the criteria of what the SBRN is looking for, I encourage them to come for a luncheon and I introduce them to other members as well as other potential members and encourage them to join.
Every year I get referrals. I also have opportunities to provide referrals and provide services for my own business. And of course the SBRN is my customer and they’re a great customer.
The SBDC, obviously, is the umbrella organization. SBRN is a program of the SBDC and as a result I’ve got a great opportunity with them. I provide web services for the SBDC and its other programs whenever they need them. The business consultants that work at the SBDC are knowledgeable in all areas of business, and I can assure you I’ve made every mistake in business and they’ve helped me navigate through many of them.
When I get a referral from the SBDC, someone who’s attended one of their courses and then what they do is they provide a directory, and I’m in that directory of the SBRN. And that client comes to us, that potential client comes to us, they’re more prepared than anyone else. Because they have expectations of what’s real and how successful they can be.
When we have a referral that’s direct from an SBRN member, the same expectations are met. They know that they’re going to sit down with someone who knows what they’re talking about. Hopefully they feel the same when they leave. And that someone is knowledgeable and that person has been well prepared. So the SBDC and the SBRN, there’s nothing but quality referrals that come from that. Doesn’t mean they always turn into our client, but it’s good quality referrals.
When we have a startup business that we’re working with, we can help them be successful by making sure that they have the right accountant, the right attorney, the right insurance people. And if that startup becomes successful, they become a client for us for a very long time. We have multiple incidents where that’s happened. There’s been three or four SBRN members that have worked with us, they’ve been helping the same client. And we always know that that client’s got an excellent chance to succeed as a result.