Laura Viskovich: Welcome to the Professional Business Connections. I’m Laura Viskovich and I have a wonderful interviewee on the show today, Wally Cook. Cook Electric Inc. is your business, so welcome to the show.
Wally Cook: Thank you very much.
Laura Viskovich: I’m really excited to learn about your business growth but firstly, let’s talk about how you became the famous electrician.
Wally Cook: Mm-hmm, great. Well, I was a teenager, had a brother-in-law that was an electrician and I used to work part time in the evenings and Saturdays with him, and developed an interest and decided to get into the trade.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. And how long has your business been active for?
Wally Cook: The business, 31 years and I’ve been electrician for 41 years.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So now, here comes the question, how did you grow your business?
Wally Cook: Well, one of the things that has helped us in our business was BNI. And I had a friend that introduced me to the BNI experience about seven or eight years ago after the downturn of the economy and was warmly received and had a great experience, people were awesome. And been a part of that Boom chapter for the last seven or eight years.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. Boom chapter is in the – sorry, BNI Utah, North Region?
Wally Cook: Mm-hmm.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So walk us through what the experience was like as a visitor coming into the Boom chapter.
Wally Cook: Well, as I said I was warmly received. The energy was great in the Boom chapter. I had a great experience there and was asked to step out and visit with the gentleman, Jim Hawks, who is still part of the group and the great energy there and I just saw some potential for our business to grow.
Laura Viskovich: Right, right. So does it help with the – sort of the highs and the lows of a business financially being in an accountability networking group?
Wally Cook: Yes, it does. In BNI, you know, showing up weekly, being present, being a participant is very important just like it is as an employee to any business.
Laura Viskovich: Yeah.
Wally Cook: And so I think when you take that attitude, there are benefits that come from being there and participating and doing your best like you would anywhere.
Laura Viskovich: Givers Gain.
Wally Cook: Givers Gain.
Laura Viskovich: Yeah, fantastic. So basically, every week you come and you give everyone a commercial of what it is that you do so the people in the group can then advertise you, I guess.
Wally Cook: Advertise.
Laura Viskovich: Yeah. Help with marketing.
Wally Cook: And help sell your business. Yes.
Laura Viskovich: Right. So give us your commercial if you have.
Wally Cook: Well, our commercial is a – we do commercial in residential, wiring, we do new construction, remodel, we do service work and we’ve been doing it a long time and so we feel we have experience. I have guys that have been with me 10 years, 8 years, and 5 years. So we feel like we have the experience in the field and we can do a good job.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So what – is that a 100% referral in your business or do you have other forms of marketing that you have?
Wally Cook: Yeah, I may – I may – I do a lot with commercial contractors and so we do a lot of bid work, but about 20% of our business comes from BNI.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic.
Wally Cook: Yeah, just from referrals and so –
Laura Viskovich: That is amazing.
Wally Cook: That’s great.
Laura Viskovich: Yeah, you wouldn’t want to take that away for sure.
Wally Cook: No, not at all.
Laura Viskovich: So for anyone out there who’s looking to visit a BNI chapter, what would your tip and trick be to that person?
Wally Cook: I would say definitely take the time, come over and visit and you’ll feel some great energy. There are things that you learn from other experts in their fields, in their business and ways that they deal with their customers, maybe problems that they’re dealing with financially whether they’re collecting or billing, all sorts of tips that you can learn from other experts that have done these collectively for really probably hundreds of years of experience. So when you tap into that, there is a lot there.
Laura Viskovich: And I heard that BNI has a really good training program as well, the Member Success Program onto the BNI University?
Wally Cook: Yes
Laura Viskovich: What has that done for your business, the training?
Wally Cook: Well, the training’s been great. They have a great podcast system that you can listen to, there are literally, I mean, hundreds of podcast that you can tap into and get help if you need it but get tips from people that know what they’re talking about.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. Now, is there a certain industry that you’d love to see in your group to help your business grow?
Wally Cook: I would. I would love to see a general contractor to join our group.
Laura Viskovich: Okay, fantastic. Well, anyone out there listening –
Wally Cook: They would do very well.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for coming out and sharing your story, this has been absolutely –
Wally Cook: Thank you.Laura Viskovich: – inspiring. So, there you have it guys, what an amazing journey from BNI, in growing the business, such a long journey, it’s amazing. Wally Cook from Cook Electric Inc. and it’s the Professional Business Connections and I’ll see you on the next show.