How to use the JCI network for your business - without annoying advertising

How to use the JCI network for your business - without annoying advertising

In many countries, JCI is a network for entrepreneurs or executive employees, who enjoy volunteering their time for a good cause with like-minded Jaycees.

By Sven Franzen

In contrast to other business networks, JCI is not about business but about the empowerment of active citizens to enable them as leaders in their respective communities of generations to come. Jaycees are people with the same values and the same way of thinking. We are therefore very attached to each other. We can also connect with each other in business - why not? How then does business fit into this picture? On the one hand, proactively advertising one’s own business and distributing business cards can quickly land you on your way out in most JCI Organizations.

1. Be visible

Be visible in your Local Organization; but, much more importantly, be visible nationally and internationally. Bring your Local Organization forward - visit the national and international conferences. And there is always one very important truth that I found over the years: as much as you might not know anyone at any given conference, the other Jaycees at the conference are as clueless as you are.

So talk to any stranger Jaycee at any conference and, for example, ask them what Local Organization they are from, what projects they are doing. You will soon find out that these Jaycees love to talk about their Local Organization and their projects.

They will also love you for having rescued them from being afraid to talk to people they do not know. And naturally, they will also talk about what they do “in real life” and ask you about your job. Then, do not go overboard with advertising your job.

2. Be patient

It will take a couple of years. But as you become a regular at national and international JCI conferences, people will recognize you, will remember you for what you did for JCI and your projects – and for what you do in real life.

3. Stay in mind

Front of mind! If anyone in their business or private ecosystem has a problem in the field of your business, they will remember you and recommend you. And then the avalanche is kicked off. If you excel at what you do in your job for one Jaycee, then this Jaycee will talk to others about your good work. These will then also have you at the front of their minds, will recommend you, and you will get your next client.

4. Introduce a Mailing List

JCI Germany has a business mailing list with a couple of thousand subscribers. Anyone is allowed to post business-related topics. I always recommend not to advertise yourself but to ask for services or goods that you might need in your business. This mailing list is an excellent indicator of how well you are boosting yourself into the front of the Jaycee minds. An example “If people ask for the help of a patent attorney, at least 70% of responders recommend me although I do not really actively advertise my services in the JCI community. This is just because of mouth-to-mouth propaganda and JCI-clients that I served talking about the good work that I did,” said Rolf Claessen, JCI Senator, Germany Cologne.

The coronavirus lockdown period has been a time when everyone needed to stand up and take action

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Keyfacts

The key take-aways for the JCI community:

  • The more you give, the more you get.
  • Be visible.
  • Talk to strangers. Get to know others.
  • Be the conversation starter – it is easy: ask about their local organization, projects, challenges
  • Visit as many JCI conferences as possible.
  • Do not actively advertise your business. This does not stop you from telling other people what you do for a living within the normal flow of conversation.
  • Your main goal within JCI is not to get clients, but your personal and professional development. Hone your skills. Try out things. Help other Jaycees with their personal and professional development. New clients are merely the by-product of all this. Always enjoy JCI with no expectation of any reciprocal consideration.

The bottom line: Now go out and become visible. Give, and you can win. If you share your knowledge and bring others forward, you will get much more back yourself. This is how networks and communities work. If each of us does our best and puts in something, then the JCI network will be both special and excellent from a business point of view! Let's all work together!