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Friday, Aug 19, 2022
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Network Manages Switch to Digital

ProVisors, a Sherman Oaks-based networking organization for business service professionals, found itself scrambling when the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to luncheons and office-based meetings – the basis of all its activities.But Chief Executive Matt Toledo told the Business Journal going digital has actually improved the effectiveness of the group for its members. ProVisors groups are organized by geography and meet once a month to discuss business and exchange referrals. Members also participate in “troikas,” or informal meetings with three members socializing outside of work. The idea is to form long-term relationships that net referrals and support systems for lawyers, accountants, marketing experts and consultants. But since the start of the pandemic, all those meetings have switched to videoconferencing software made by Zoom Inc.“We have members in Encino that are guesting (at meetings) in Dallas, and referring each other business. That never would’ve happened without Zoom and the pandemic,” Toledo said.ProVisors operates somewhat like a fraternity, charging members an annual fee of $1,800 in exchange for access to its network of 6,000 professionals. Member Adam Treiger is a founding partner at Westlake Village law firm Stowell, Zeilenga, Ruth, Vaughn & Treiger. He’s also the leader of ProVisors’ “Westlake Village 3” group. “Marketing for me is networking, and networking for me is ProVisors,” Treiger said. “I had never heard of Zoom until the pandemic hit, and I was introduced to it by ProVisors. Now, Zoom is a part of my everyday life.” He credits ProVisors for maintaining a steady stream of new clients during the pandemic.“It has been my best year ever when it comes to getting new clients,” he said. “COVID-19 has not stopped that. In some ways, it has enhanced it. … Our clients need us right now.”He pointed out another advantage is not having to drive to and from ProVisors meetings each month, which adds a billable hour or three to his calendar. To meet increased demand, ProVisors has forged on with expansion plans it had formulated before the emergence of the pandemic. After setting up a presence in Seattle and Atlanta last year and Dallas this February, the company set its sights on the East Coast and is now launching five networking groups in New York City. Toledo said he’s hoping to log 1,000 new members on the platform by the end of 2020. “Our retention rate is high and our new member rate is high,” Toledo said. “The alternative (to ProVisors) is doing nothing. And for a trusted advisor, that’s not an option.”The pandemic-time push culminated Sept. 30 with ProVisors’ first National Networking Day event, which featured “power networkers” in panel discussions on best practices and a Q&A with Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson on the principles that made him successful both on the court and in business.

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