I've got out of the habit of going to breakfast networking meetings. Like many others, I find the regimented structure of BNI meetings and their pressure on referrals too much and not in line with the way I work.
I happily give referrals to and from my network but I do it in a much more natural way. If people want an accountant or book-keeper then I can happily recommend two or three to them. That way they can chose one that suits them.
However, the Brighton Chamber of Commerce has recently started holding regular breakfast meetings and I'd heard good things about them from the last chamber meeting I went to, so I thought it was about time I made a visit. They take place at Carluccio's one of the many new eaters that have opened up around the new Library in the town centre (sorry city centre). It's certainly a step up from the usual cooked breakfast that gets presented along with a tepid cup of coffee at the usual hotel venues. Freshly squeezed orange juice and a selection of danish and croissants to start us off, while people stand around and catch up with old contacts and meet new members.
The coffee was thick enough to stand your spoon up in and strong enough to strip paint and ensure I'd be awake for the rest of the day. Good, proper, Italian coffee. After we'd all got settled at tables there was then a steady stream of breakfast plates that came out and more coffee (or tea) if you wanted it. Decently cooked, scrambled egg or a slice of toasted bread, mushrooms - not the usual wet soggy mass and tomato. Slow to appear but worth the wait. The only downside was that the venue was so noisy you actually had difficult holding a conversation with the person sat next to you. There was a short presentation from one of the Chamber members and now that O2 are sponsoring the events, one lucky member went away with a new mobile phone. She did have the largest business card of all of us, so that could be a good trick for next time.
Definitely worth a visit and at least you don't have to get up every week if you want to attend.