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My Honest BNI Review: Don’t Join Without a Solid Referral Strategy

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If you’re considering expanding your professional network and uncovering new business opportunities, you may be evaluating BNI as a potential avenue. This BNI review cuts straight to the chase: what can BNI do for your business, and is the investment worthwhile? With firsthand insights and data-driven results, we’ll uncover the realities of BNI membership, the core philosophies of their networking model, and the true impact on business growth.

All You Need to Know About Joining BNI

  • BNI meetings are structured to optimize Delving into the Art of Business by Referral and its Practical Application in BNI exchanges with specific roles and weekly activities aimed at fostering a culture of mutual support and business growth.
  • Membership in BNI requires commitment and investment, but offers exclusive networking opportunities and professional development to aid in business expansion.
  • Success in BNI hinges on embracing the ‘Givers Gain’ philosophy, with members often seeing an increase in referrals and revenue, but it may not be suitable for businesses with highly specific or niche markets.

What Does BNI Stand For?

Business Networking International, more commonly known as BNI, is a pre-eminent professional networking organization globally reputed for its strong referral marketing emphasis. Recognized as the world's foremost business networking and referral entity, BNI offers an invaluable platform for broadening one's networks, fostering valuable business connections, and engaging with peers sharing similar mindsets. It's noteworthy though that commitment in terms of time, effort, and a potential significant membership expense, based on regional variations, is essential to fully leverage the benefits of BNI. Being a powerful networking resource, BNI may not necessarily suit everyone-notably fledgling entrepreneurs, businesses operating primarily online, or those nestled in unusual niches. However, for many, the benefits far outweigh any perceived challenges. and referral organization everBNI Connect, created by Ivan Misner in 1985, has emerged as a favored channel for local small businesses. This professional networking and referral organization aids local businesses by providing a robust platform for networking and customer referral, thus explaining its popularity. Owing to its effectiveness, it has renowned recognition as a predominantly well-regarded way to conduct business networking, evidenced by the data in a 2020 survey.referralsto bolster their business's growth and ensure its longevity.

This is my personal experience at a local chapter meeting.  This review is targeted toward local business owners who are looking to grow their business by giving and getting good referrals positive business people.

My experience with professional networking

When I started my business I went to 3 or 4 different networking events every week!

Some of them were free events. I paid for some. I was also invited to join several professional networking groups. BNI Connect (Business Networking International) was one of them.

7 Days to a Flood of Ideal Clients

By the end of this course, you will have a fully operational referral system in place. You will know how to identify potential referrers, how to approach them, and how to incentivize them to bring in more clients.

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Find a Chapter of a local BNI Connect Group Near You

BNI Group near me

List of BNI Chapters near me:

 One of the great things about the BNI Connect website is that you can easily find. chapter in your neighborhood.

What is BNI Connect?

local bni group meeting

For those of you wondering just what is a BNI group, I’ll explain it.

BNI Connect is a former professional development and networking group founded by Ivan Misner. Its primary purpose is to give its members develop business relationships

BNI Connect Groups are Non Competitive

Typically, your local BNI group will only allow one business from each industry to join. For example, at every meeting there will only be one real estate agent and one accountant. Ideally, the members build relationships that organically evolve into sending and receiving business referrals from one another.

Is BNI Connect a Pyramid Scheme?

BNI is absolutely NOT a pyramid scheme, an MLM (multi-level-marketing), or a scam. This networking and professional referral marketing program organization has been around for decades and thousands of small business people swear by its success.

BNI Connect is a membership organization. BNI Connect was founded in 1985 and has been a legitimate franchise organization since 1991. Following are a partial list of franchise fees involved in owning a BNI Franchise

BNI franchise fees

BNI’s goal is to connect quality business professionals with meaningful, and profitable reciprocal business relationships.

Exploring the BNI Experience: An Insider’s Perspective

Entering the BNI family starts with a local chapter meeting, setting the foundation for prospective referral networking. As the world’s leading business networking organization, BNI offers a meticulously structured platform to maximize the opportunity for referrals among members. With weekly meetings that are more than mere social gatherings, BNI chapters transform business networking into a science.

As soon as you enter a BNI meeting, you’ll find yourself immersed in a host of networking activities. But it’s not just about making connections; it’s about building a business network that supports and elevates each member. So, how exactly does a BNI meeting unfold?

The Weekly Meeting Rundown

Imagine this scenario:

  • It’s 7:00 am, you’re at a BNI meeting, prepared for open networking and breakfast.
  • What follows is a welcome session and an opportunity to introduce yourself to the group.
  • Throughout the meeting, you engage in referral exchanges, listen to a featured presentation, and review the treasurer’s report.
  • The meeting wraps up with new member and visitor orientations, ensuring that everyone feels included and informed.

The success of these meetings hinges significantly on the roles of the Educational Coordinator and Visitor Host Coordinator. These roles are responsible for providing networking education and ensuring visitor engagement, respectively. Whether you choose to attend in person or online, the goal remains the same – to create a conducive environment for networking and referral generation.

Commitment to the Cause

Transforming into an active BNI member is a substantial endeavor. It necessitates a substantial investment of time and energy. However, this isn’t a one-sided investment. The time and effort you invest in individual meetings and networking within your BNI chapter pay dividends in the form of deepened mutual understanding and effective referral exchanges.

But what happens if a business is unable to commit to the regular and relational engagement that BNI requires? Well, the network might not be the right fit for them. Yet, for businesses that can make this commitment, the return is often a thriving, referral-rich network that propels their growth and allows them to refer business effectively.

Embracing ‘Givers Gain’

BNI is fundamentally guided by a unique philosophy – ‘Givers Gain’. This principle encourages members of the BNI group to give business to others, thus creating a culture that reciprocates with business for them. BNI’s structured system is designed to promote the growth of businesses by actively encouraging members to pass referrals, fostering a collaborative environment.

Beyond the immediate business benefits, BNI also offers resources and opportunities to foster personal and professional development. In the supportive atmosphere of a BNI chapter, members bolster each other’s success, highlighting the essence of the ‘givers gain’ principle.

The Mechanics of Membership

Illustration of BNI membership application process

Interested in joining BNI? The procedure to join bni is quite simple. It starts with attending up to two local chapter meetings to assess if BNI aligns with your business goals. If you find the fit to be right, you can apply for BNI membership. Your application then undergoes a comprehensive review by the chapter’s Membership Committee, including an interview and a reference check.

However, becoming a part of BNI is not solely about accessing a global network. It’s also about acquiring new skills and enhancing your business acumen. BNI offers members professional development opportunities such as training programs, podcasts, and webinars, all designed to improve your presentation skills and business expertise.

How Much Does BNI Cost: Understanding Membership Dues

Becoming a BNI member involves a financial obligation. Upon acceptance into a chapter, your first-year cost would be $895 for a 1-year membership or $1340 for a 2-year membership, the latter offering a savings of $200. These membership dues are non-refundable and processed online after acceptance into a chapter.

But what happens when your membership year comes to an end? The renewal of BNI membership for one year is priced at $645. While this may seem like a significant investment, the returns in terms of referrals, networking, and business growth often justify the cost.

Roles and Responsibilities

BNI is more than an organization; it’s a community where each member contributes. The BNI leadership team, composed of the President, Vice President, and Secretary-Treasurer, works tirelessly to manage the chapter and ensure smooth operations. The Vice President, in conjunction with the Membership Committee, plays a key role in chapter operations, including monitoring attendance and managing the membership application process.

But it’s not just about the leadership team. BNI supports chapter members through designated mentors, visitor hosts, and education coordinators, who provide guidance and training to members. Holding a leadership role within a BNI chapter can enhance your visibility within the network and contribute to your success in the group.

Local Chapters, Global Impact

BNI’s strength lies in its global reach as well as its localized impact. Take, for example, a dental care professional in India who acclaimed BNI for playing a crucial role in the referral-driven growth of their business. Or the solar energy professional in the USA who expanded their business networking reach across the nation by leveraging BNI connections.

Long-standing members, such as a USA-based photographer, regard joining BNI as a top decision for the success of their business. The collective marketing efforts of 20 or more individuals in a BNI chapter can significantly increase the size and reach of a member’s business. Through targeted networking opportunities, BNI local chapters contribute significantly to the growth and expansion of businesses.

I made some mistakes at business networking and referral groups

I have to admit that the promise of getting regular referrals from these BNI groups was very attractive.

But, I made mistakes. In fact, those mistakes led me to swear off paid networking groups altogether. I still tell almost everyone not to join them. Of course, like all rules, there are exceptions.

So, don’t join a networking group…until you commit to the two items outlined below.

The Ripple Effect of Referrals

Networking is deemed particularly potent in driving referrals for business expansion. It is also a key strategy for increasing revenue. And BNI takes networking to the next level, creating a dependable referral network for services and products across various industries. These referrals often have a ripple effect, leading to more business opportunities and growth.

This ripple effect isn’t limited to direct referrals. The relationships formed within this referral organization, BNI, extend beyond business transactions. They create a network of trusted partners who can be relied upon, whether for immediate business needs or future collaborations.

#1 You know the difference between a lead and a referral.

Let’s remember that your goal of joining a paid networking group is to get a positive and professional referral. As a chapter member, your goal should be to get the most out of the meetings and the relationships you build.

One of the first things I noticed is that the people at my local BNI Connect event were sharing cold leads.

Let’s get something straight.

Giving someone another person’s business card is NOT a referral. It’s a cold lead.

You know a referral when you get one. It usually sounds something like this: “Hi Ivana, I was talking to Joe Smith about my marketing. Joe said I should call you.”

Notice that it’s someone you don’t know who calls you up and mentions a friend or a colleague. The referral usually uses a phrase like “said I should contact you”.

A cold lead looks like a business card with someone’s name on it. YOU have to call them.

YOU have to mention the person’s name. THEY sound confused. YOU have to build the connection and the relationship. CLEARLY – this is not a referral.

BNI gives you a forum where members interact and share their capabilities so that they can develop meaningful relationships.

Don’t join a BNI group if all you’re going to give or get are business cards. This is a complete waste of your time and money. And it kills trees.

#2 You’re prepared to give and receive referrals.

At my first BNI Connect® meeting, I noticed something interesting as people were mingling. A lot of the members weren’t prepared to give or even to receive business education or referrals. They were just passing around business cards.

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Be prepared to give and receive referrals by having a referral system in place. You need to have the following:

A clear and focused profile of your ideal customer aka avatar.

This description should be specific and focused enough so that I would recognize them in my daily life. Think: people who drive pick-up trucks, people who have recently purchased a home, or recently divorced women. Be as descriptive and specific as possible.

Create a referral guideline handout to share with your Group

A referral guideline is a single sheet that describes exactly how you want people to refer you.

Think of it as a sales sheet or cheat sheet for your referrers.

After all, they are your salespeople and you aren’t paying them. Shouldn’t you make it easy for them to refer you? This is the way to do it. A great referral guideline includes:

  • Your business name
  • A single simple sentence aka elevator pitch or tagline (for example – when you need a pizza in 30 minutes)
  • A profile of your ideal customer, complete with trigger words that should make your referrer think of you (for example – I’m getting a divorce.)
  • What you want the person to say to the prospective client (for example- I know someone who can help you with that, can I connect you?)
  • Available “thank you” options. Are you going to pay a referral fee or give a gift? What’s going to work for that person?

Specific offers.

Don’t just pitch your company, pitch specific offers that will meet specific needs of your ideal customer. Always have something original to share that will pique the curiosity of the group.

Have meaningful referral meetings.

Ultimately you want to partner up with people who are complementary to your business.

These are trusted advisors or influencers for your ideal customer.

You don’t need hundreds of these people, about five or six work great. Then have meetings with them where you update each other on what’s new. Maybe you collaborate on offers, team up with customers and clients. Work together.

Once you have these things in place, you are completely ready to join a BNI Connect ® group. You will have a system in place, know your ideal customer and be able to manage your business partnerships well.

BNI’s Unique Selling Propositions

What distinguishes BNI from other networking groups? BNI offers:

  • Unique marketing opportunities
  • A structured networking approach that maximizes networking effectiveness
  • Exclusive access to referrals in their business category by allowing only one representative from each profession in a group

Members are also encouraged to develop a concise and memorable unique selling proposition (USP) for their business, which enhances the impact of networking exchanges within the organization. With a presence in 77 countries and over 11,133 chapters, Business Network International provides its members with access to the world’s largest business networking, thereby increasing their reach and business growth potential beyond local markets.

Exclusive Marketing Opportunities

In BNI, you’re not just another businessperson in a crowded market. You’re the sole expert in your field among your peers. With only one individual per professional specialty allowed to join a BNI chapter, you get uncontested access to market your services to all other members.

This exclusivity grants unique marketing opportunities, allowing you to:

  • Position yourself as the go-to professional in your field within your BNI chapter
  • Eliminate the internal competition typically found in other networking groups
  • Focus on building relationships and generating high-quality referrals.

Structured Networking Approach

BNI’s structured networking approach sets it apart from less structured networking groups. Weekly meetings enable members to exchange referrals, leading to speedier conversions of these referrals into business transactions. The quality of referrals in BNI is typically high due to the system being grounded in trust and in-depth knowledge of each member’s business.

Moreover, the predictability of referrals enables members to forecast subsequent sales and revenue, giving them a distinct advantage over businesses relying on less structured networking groups. With BNI, you’re not just networking; you’re strategizing for business growth and working to generate referrals.

Evaluating the Return on Investment

Becoming a part of BNI constitutes an investment, both monetary and temporal. But how does one evaluate the return on this investment? Members have reported that their BNI membership resulted in a substantial increase in referrals, which often translates into higher revenue. It’s crucial to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the BNI membership fees and additional expenses are justified by the revenue generated through the network’s referrals.

However, evaluating the return on investment in BNI isn’t just about the numbers. It’s also about considering the time spent on BNI activities, such as weekly meetings and one-to-one sessions, and the benefits derived from these engagements.

Measuring More Than Money

The returns from BNI investment are not merely financial. Referrals from BNI members lead to business revenue 55% of the time and convert into business 38% quicker than leads from other sources. A photography business owner in New Zealand described joining their local BNI chapter as transformational, leading to significant growth for the business.

The size of the target audience also affects the ease of receiving referrals from BNI members. This indicates the importance of market size in the context of BNI’s networking benefits. So, while the direct monetary benefits are evident, the indirect benefits, such as market expansion and business growth, are equally significant.

Navigating Challenges and Maximizing Benefits

As with any organization, BNI brings its unique set of challenges. The time commitment required for weekly meetings, one-to-one sessions, and chapter activities can be daunting. Additionally, the diversity in professional backgrounds within BNI chapters can lead to variations in communication and work styles, creating collaborative challenges.

However, these challenges are not insurmountable. With the right approach and mindset, you can navigate these hurdles and maximize the benefits of BNI membership.

Overcoming Common Hurdles

For members, striking a balance between BNI activities and personal and professional commitments can be challenging. However, this can be managed with effective time management and prioritization. BNI leaders, for instance, are required to complete at least 12 hours of training each year, encompassing online orientation and Leadership Team Roundtables. This commitment, although significant, can be managed with the right planning.

Similarly, navigating the diverse communication and work styles within BNI chapters can be challenging. However, this diversity also provides a unique opportunity to learn and grow, fostering an environment of mutual respect and understanding.

5 Situations Where BNI Isn’t a Good Fit

BNI isn’t for everyone. After a few visits and experiences, I decided that it was not a good fit for me. But don’t just take my word for it!If you’ve been invited, go! Visit a few chapters in your area. Each chapter has its own personality and even if you are in the one of these situations, you may still decide that BNI works for your business.

1. You have a low expense budget.

Joining BNI can be expensive. Not only is there a high membership fee but there are also a lot of hidden costs. The bni membership application fee is $500 a year. Hidden costs include paying for food if your chapter has its meeting at a restaurant or paying for room rental if your chapter has its meeting at a rented location.

While it is possible to trim expenses by watching what you eat (and staying hungry while everyone else orders lavishly), there may be a flat admission fee whether or not you order something. Incidental costs can average from $10 to $20 a week.

Altogether, you may end up spending from $750 to $1200 a year. You should not join a BNI chapter if you are a struggling entrepreneur. Even if you’re doing well financially, skip the BNI membership if you believe that you won’t get a return on your investment.

2. You have a tight schedule.

Ostensibly, you will only have to meet for about two hours a week–but here, too, there are hidden factors to consider. Joining the Member Success Program and Leadership Training will cut into your time.

Another thing to consider is that the One-to-One meets require you to meet other BNI members outside the regular meeting times. Although these can be for as little as an hour, they usually end up lasting longer.Not to mention the travel time to and from these meetings.

There will also be the temptation (and pressure) to get involved in your chapter’s leadership. If you’re a very busy person, the ten hours on average that you spend with your group may not be worth it. It will be several months of this before you’ll see a return.

3. You run an internet-based business.

The BNI works well for those with traditional small businesses; plumbers, accountants, pest exterminators, or other local service providers. It also works well for those who provide their services within a specific geographical area.

However, it’s not suitable for more cutting-edge, technologically savvy businesses, particularly those that leverage the enormous reach of the internet for leads. For instance, if you’re a digital marketer, copywriter, or graphic designer, you’ll have better results generating leads online.

4. You have an unusual niche.

Although the BNI does work for local businesses, it does not work for businesses that are slightly outside the mainstream. For instance, if you have a nail salon or a laser hair removal practice, you will have a difficult time getting referrals.

BNI works best for people who have more traditional businesses like insurance. In other words, it’s good for services that most people use.

5. You’re not prepared to spend a considerable amount of time and effort to engage with the BNI group.

Those who get the most out of their BNI Group membership are those who put in the time and effort to help other members through referrals. This activity leads to getting referrals through reciprocation. The BNI also benefits those who are able to make their weekly meeting a priority, who make sure they attend every week, who take the time to meet with other members outside the weekly meeting, and who frequently invite guests.

What’s more, these are activities cannot be glossed over because they are closely monitored by the Vice President. The VP keeps track of each time you were absent, late, or sent someone in your place. He or she also keeps tabs on every referral you’ve made or failed to make and each time you brought in a visitor or didn’t.

Is BNI Worth It? 13 BNI Reviews from Successful Networkers

But why listen to me? I asked 13 small business owners to share their experiences and here’s what they said.

Made Valuable Connections and Established Relationships

I was always looking for ways to network and gain exposure for my company. I had heard about the Business Network International (BNI) meetings and gave it a try.

At my first meeting, I was nervous and unsure of what to expect. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome I received from the other members. They were all eager to learn more about my business and offer advice and support.

By attending the weekly meetings, I could make valuable connections and establish strong relationships with other local business owners. I could refer businesses to each other and collaborate on projects, which helped to grow my client base and increase my revenue.

In addition to the business networking skills and opportunities, I also gained valuable knowledge and insights from the guest speakers at the meetings. I learned about the latest trends and best practices in my industry, which helped me to improve my business operations and stay ahead of the competition.

Gerrid Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Joy Organics

Grew My Network Eleven-fold

Taking part in BNI has been one of the best decisions I have made in my business. It has helped me connect with like-minded professionals and businesses, and find valuable mentorship.

The biggest benefit I gained was growing my network eleven times over. Thanks to it, I am now constantly connecting with high-caliber people and getting access to more diverse opportunities. My advice on being successful in BNI is to focus on relationships—get to know the other members of your group, build relationships, exchange ideas, and collaborate.

Taking part in BNI is definitely worth it! Not only can you draw meaningful connections and boost your business presence, but there are also lots of fun (and delicious) activities that come along with being a part of the community. I highly recommend signing up for BNI!

Natalia Brzezinska, Marketing & Outreach Manager, US Passport Photo

Met People, But Noticed a Lack of Diversity

Seeing the importance of networking, I attended a BNI meeting.

At the meeting, I was initially excited to meet a diverse group of professionals from different industries. However, I quickly realized that a few individuals dominated the group by leading the conversation and not allowing others to have time to fully share their experiences.

Despite this, I made a few valuable connections with fellow business owners who were interested in collaborating and sharing resources. We exchanged contact information and discussed potential partnerships.

Overall, my experience at the BNI meeting was mixed. While I made some valuable connections, the lack of diversity and inclusivity also disappointed me in the group. I will continue to attend BNI meetings in the future, but I will also explore other networking opportunities that may be more beneficial for my business.

Daniel Close, CEO & Founder, We Buy Houses in Kentucky

Found More Customers by Being Patient

Attending BNI has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. The biggest benefit I have gained from participating in BNI is the network of professionals and business owners who will help each other grow. It’s a great way to find potential customers, share ideas and resources, make referrals, learn new skills, and gain knowledge.

My advice for being successful in BNI is to be prepared and consistent. Have your elevator pitch ready and make sure that you are always engaging with other members. 

Be willing to refer businesses when appropriate, give helpful introductions, ask questions to learn more about others’ businesses, and offer valuable advice. Always show up on time and try to make the most of every meeting. Finally, be patient and don’t expect instant results; it usually takes some time to build relationships and see the benefits of participating in BNI.

Amira Irfan, Founder & CEO, A Self Guru

Connected With Like-Minded Individuals

I have been attending BNI for about a year now, and I can confidently say that it has been well worth my time and effort. I can attribute many of the small successes my business has had in the past year to being a member of this network. 

The biggest benefit I have seen is connecting with like-minded professionals who will help each other make their businesses successful. There is an energy among members that comes from working together, which helps propel each one of us closer to our goals. 

My advice for being successful in BNI would be to be authentic and to take initiative—don’t write people off when they mention something slightly outside your line of expertise, get involved and offer help regardless of what it may bring you directly. That willingness puts people first, which will pay off in the long run!

Lorien Strydom, Executive Country Manager, Financer.com

Found Lifelong Friends

BNI is your local small business support group. It’s a place where local businesses give and receive business. It’s a great way to build a connection in your community and have a sort of “checks and balances” for ownership that those you do business with have an obligation to over-deliver.

My First BNI I attended was looking for large e-commerce businesses to provide digital marketing services. It was not a direct match for the referrals I was looking for. However, the president of this local chapter became a good, lifelong friend. He was the one to deliver a plant when we purchased a home in his hometown. 

BNI is more than a transaction lead swap meet-up, it’s a place to build lifelong business connections.

Brian Hawkins, Marketing Manager, GhostBed.com

Provided Ready Materials 

The biggest advantage I’ve received after joining BNI is getting a stronger procurement network for my business. Procurement is basically making goods available to manufacture a product or making it available for someone else.

During the BNI chapter, I got to meet fellow entrepreneurs in the UAV industry who are making identical products and even manufacturers of different parts which we use in producing drones and land rovers. Since our procurement network is on top, we’re easily able to fulfill massive orders and even customize products as per the customer’s demand.

In your early days of business, making your network massive and talking with almost everyone in the industry is important. Since you’ve got nothing to give, and only to learn, you can surely learn from the different perspectives of people in the market. By listening and meeting other like-minded individuals, you never know when you get a good idea or bump into a great opportunity.

Walter Lappert, CEO, Triad Drones

Exposure to New Business Sectors

I have had the privilege of attending BNI for five years now, and I can confidently say it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Through BNI, I have built a strong network of like-minded professionals that are always willing to help each other out in any way they can. 

The biggest benefit I’ve gained from participating in BNI is the ability to establish relationships with people from all different businesses. I have met so many incredible people who have helped me grow my business in ways that I never thought possible.

My advice for being successful is to be consistent, patient, and open-minded. You will get out of it what you put into it, and by consistently attending meetings and building relationships, you will find the most success. You should also be open to new ideas and opportunities that come your way because you never know what they could lead to in the future. Last, have patience—networking takes time, so don’t get discouraged if progress is slow.

Erik Pham, CEO, Health Canal

Constant Recruitment Pressure and Strange Requirements

It proved as a waste of money and time for me. They put you under constant pressure to recruit. There is also a requirement to complete CEUs and attend the in-person weekly early-morning meeting. 

I would suggest you not participate if you cannot devote the necessary time. Despite accomplishing everything that was required and more, I didn’t particularly like the way it was run. 

It appeared to be a tacky, ego-stroking affair and a weekly sales presentation that nobody paid attention to. Any business that is interested in contributing to the community where it works can easily accomplish what BNI seeks to do. Instead, you can consider being of excellent service to your local community to win some real-life referrals.

Steve Harris, Founder, Daily Dog Stuff

Learned to Speak Concisely

Taking part in BNI has provided me with many rewards, but the biggest benefit I have gained is learning to speak concisely. Through every networking event I have attended, I have become more confident in being succinct and using encouraging words when talking with one another. 

My advice for achieving success in BNI would be to practice communicating effectively, so you make a lasting impression. Learning how to introduce yourself quickly and clearly can go a long way. A confident yet friendly approach will give your peers something to remember about you. Sharpen your presentation, improve business networking skills and watch as everyone around you grows stronger together!

Derek Bruce, Sr. Director, Skills Training Group

Discovered Camaraderie and Professionalism

I was always looking for ways to network and gain more exposure for my company. So when a colleague suggested attending a BNI (Business Network International) meeting, I was hesitant but gave it a try.

At the meeting, the professionalism and camaraderie immediately impressed me. They gave each person the opportunity to give a brief presentation about their business, and I could showcase my services to a group of potential clients.

Through conversations with the other members, I gained valuable insights and advice on how to grow my business. I also made several connections with other local businesses that could refer clients to me and vice versa.

My advice is to stay active. This is your chance to unlock opportunities and develop business relationships. The more you put effort into engaging and networking, the more benefits you reap via your BNI member here.

Matt Magnante, Director of Content & SEO, Fitness Volt

Gained Valuable Advice

As a small business owner, I was always looking for ways to network and gain new clients. I had heard about BNI, or Business Network International, and attended a meeting to see if it was right for me. 

At the meeting, the sense of community and support immediately impressed me. They were all dedicated to helping each other grow their businesses through referrals and collaboration. I joined the group and quickly began attending meetings regularly. Over time, I made some valuable connections and started receiving referrals for new clients. In addition to the referrals, I also gained valuable advice and guidance from the other members. They were all experienced business owners and were happy to share their knowledge and expertise with me.

My advice is to stay professional and be prepared. You’ll see some bigger fish there.

Kristian Longden, Content Marketing Executive, James and James Fulfilment

Set a New Expectation for Events I Attend

I attended a BNI meeting. At the meeting, I met a diverse group of professionals from different industries, all eager to connect and share their knowledge and experiences. I introduced my business and explained what services I offer, and in turn, I learned about the businesses of others.

However, the meeting was not all positive. I found some members were overly pushy and only focused on promoting their own businesses, without truly listening to or engaging with others. I also felt that the group could have been more organized and structured to facilitate more effective networking.

Despite these challenges, I made a few valuable connections and gained some useful insights that will benefit my business. I also learned some valuable lessons about networking and will be more selective about the events I attend in the future. Overall, the BNI meeting was a mixed experience, but it was not a complete waste of my time and resources. Alexandru Contes, Co-Founder, ReviewGrower

You local BNI is not a silver bullet.

BNI Group Connect offers incredible value to so many small business owners. They would not have survived so many years and economies if they didn’t.

Like all groups, your experience with BNI may vary. And like anything else in the world’s largest business networking ever, you get out what you put in.

A BNI group only provides the network and the community. You have to bring your own marketing, BNI Group system, and dedication.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the downside of BNI?

The downside of being a BNI chapter member is that one morning or lunchtime per week is consistently taken up, so you’ll need to clear your calendar for the entire year.

What’s unique about BNI’s networking approach?

BNI’s networking approach is unique because it offers structured weekly meetings for members to exchange referrals, leading to quicker business transactions, and only allows one representative from each profession in a group for exclusive access to referrals in their business category.

How much does it cost to join BNI?

It costs $895 for a 1-year membership or $1340 for a 2-year membership. Renewal for one year is priced at $645.

What is the ‘Givers Gain’ philosophy?

The ‘Givers Gain’ philosophy encourages members to give business to others in order to receive business in return, creating a culture of reciprocity. It is BNI’s fundamental philosophy.

How can I maximize the benefits of my BNI membership?

To maximize the benefits of your BNI membership, try engaging in more one-on-one meetings, visiting different BNI chapters, and implementing ongoing training within your chapter. It can help you to streamline chapter operations through digital solutions and make the most of your membership.

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