Keith Duke, NIA Pioneer
NIA Spring Texas Group
My journey to becoming a professional networker with Network In Action has been an action-filled adventure. To tell the full story, I must go back quite a few years. I barely made it out of high school. I was the guy who would rebel against the system just to test it. I would wear sunglasses, show up to class two seconds after the bell, and ask question after question about assignments. Let’s just say that the principles all knew my name, and I went to a high school of nearly four thousand students, so you really had to work hard for all of the principles to know your name.
I tell that part of my story because testing the system is why I believe my path has taken me to entrepreneurship. I have worked for “the man” in the corporate world and, though I learned a lot, it was not my thing.
I have had several business ventures—from direct sales, to construction, to consulting—and now Network In Action. I came across Network In Action while running my construction and concrete business. It was such a great opportunity I couldn’t pass it up. I had been in an organized networking organization for several years, and it had run its course for me. I started to look for what else was out there, and as a good networker, I reached out to my network circle to see what they could refer. A mutual business professional introduced me to NIA®. I set up a time to go to a meeting and see what it was all about. When I arrived at the meeting, I was instantly blown away. The energy, the people, the welcoming atmosphere, and then the meeting itself. I had never seen a networking meeting that was so engaged with its members. I was used to meetings that were designed for the visitors. Attending a meeting that was structured around the members and building relationships during the meeting was really unique. However, even though I was there as a visitor, I still came away with loads of information. That meeting was run by Scott Talley. He gave me the complete rundown of what NIA® was all about. The things that really caught my attention were the monthly meetings, full-time leadership, and state-of-the-art technology. I had been a member of an organization that was stuck in the Stone Age and had no vision of moving into the twenty-first century. It was amazing that there could be a higher level of networking with proven results on a modern platform. When he told me about the franchise opportunity, he had me hooked. Now, I am an NIA® lifer!
My Leadership Principles
As a professional networker, I still visit other groups as a method to meet and grow my network. It is just something I believe we have to constantly do. If we as franchise owners are not improving our networking skills and growing our connections, we are not providing the best service to our members. As I attend these other events, it is so apparent how well NIA® is organized and structured to bring the best networking experience to its members.
My time in NIA® has been amazing. I have been very fortunate to be involved in two franchises. I created them six months apart, and I am so proud to say that I made a return on each of those investments in less than thirty days. I worked with a colleague to start and build two groups out to great success. It occurred to us that in order to grow the NIA® name and territory, we needed to split up. So, we did! Those two existing groups are still active, growing, and doing great things.
Growing out groups has its challenges as you get further in, but the skills I have learned from such mass recruiting are skills I will cherish for a lifetime—in addition to the countless connections and contacts that I’ve made, which are growing on a daily basis. I have been very fortunate to be a part of Network In Action and count my blessings daily to be a franchise owner. I know many professionals who are in franchised businesses and from what I can tell, no other company treats its owners as well as NIA® does. Knowing my entrepreneur spirt, this will not be the last venture for me, but helping business professionals grow their referral-based businesses through NIA® is something that will always be on my plate.
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