17 Apr 5 BNI Myths – Busted!
If you’re a business owner on the networking scene, the odds are you’ve heard of BNI. We’re a global networking group with chapters in almost every town, so we’d be amazed if you hadn’t! But if you’ve looked into it and then dismissed it because you’ve hard some negative things, then this one’s for you. There are a lot of basic misconceptions bot BNI, the way we operate and how our meetings work. So today, we’re going to tackle 5 of them.
It’s All About Referrals
People who have had a passing experience of BNI, or who have only heard about it through hearsay might be forgiven for thinking that all BNI cares about is referrals passed between members. And while it is true that this is encouraged and monitored, it’s really not the be all and end all. After all, not everyone will be able to find a new opportunity for someone else in the room every single week! There are lots of ways our members can contribute to the meeting, including saying thank you for any confirmed business that has been passed between members, welcoming a visitor, giving a written testimonial to another member and even a verbal testimonial to the room about how BNI has helped them. Referrals are just one way to contribute to a vibrant and growing chapter.
You Must Attend 100% Of Meetings
A lot of people seem to think BNI is a bit like school, and you need 100% attendance or else someone will write home to your parents. And while we’re sure your parents would love a letter – that’s not what we’re about. While there is some pretty compelling evidence to show that the more you attend the better the results from your membership will be, we also understand that life happens. Things get in the way, people get sick and not everyone can commit to 100% attendance. That’s why we encourage you to send a sub in to the meeting in your place if you can’t make it. This means you can still promote your business, and give someone else the opportunity to promote theirs too. A good candidate for a sub might be a colleague, client or even a fellow BNI member from another chapter.
BNI Only Works For Certain Kinds Of Business
Not true. In fact, a lot of our members represent bigger businesses. Our members range from single person organisations to franchise owners and even representatives from high street banks. BNI works for any business that is willing to put the time and effort into it – no matter what size. The same goes for industry. Each BNI chapter has seats available for a wide range of business categories, from the more traditional ‘corporate’ B2B to the more relaxed B2C. No matter what your industry, BNI is proven to help your business build relationships and increase your revenue, whatever size you are.
You Only See The Same People Every Week
This one is semi-true. Your chapter members will make up the bulk of who you see very week, which is important to help you build up relationships with them. But not every member will be able to be there every week. So you will get to meet a range of subs, as well as regular visitors each week, so the room will never be the same twice. You also have the opportunity as a member to visit other chapters anywhere in the country or even the world (as one of our members did when she visited a chapter in France), so you can meet a whole host of new business owners whenever you want.
It’s All Very Formal
This one is a bit of a half truth. BNI is on the more structured end of the networking spectrum, but it’s not quite as rigid and immovable as many would think. We’re not all in our super smart suits shaking hands! The idea behind BNI is that we finish in time for everyone to start work at their normal time – and so our members all turn up in their work clothes, whether that’s jeans and a jumper, paint covered overalls or smart trousers and a shirt. All of our meetings start and end with an informal networking session, and the meetings do allow time for the unique personalities in the room to shine through.
But don’t get us wrong – BNI isn’t for everyone. Our philosophy is all around ‘givers gain’, and we often see that it’s the members who give the most to the chapter who get the most back. Whether that’s time, energy, effort, skill or business – you get out of BNI what you out in. So if you’re willing to put a little work in for your business, you will reap the rewards.
Of course, being members of the region’s biggest and most successful chapter, we are naturally BNI’s biggest fans. But don’t just take our word for it. At the time of writing we have 57 members, who have shared over 3 million pounds worth of business between each other over the last year alone. If you’d like to be a part of our vibrant and rapidly growing chapter, we’d love to see you. Just book in your visit here.