BNI - Business Networking International

February 1, 2006 in 5 out of 5 stars, A community

What is it?

BNI - Business Networking International: A group that meets once a week in your area  to do business. Where you are the only one from your profession/industry.

  • The meeting is a structured agenda of 90 minutes
  • Each member has the privilege of presenting a 60 second commercial about what they do.
  • You receive a 5-10 minute networking educational lesson.
  • The members then pass qualified referrals (not leads) and testimonials about working with chapter members.

Who makes it?

Dr. Ivan Misner

Why is it the killerest?

The "Givers Gain" philosophy.

Everyone knows that word of mouth networking is the best way to get business... but how many really know the technical "how-to". Imagine being able to measure your word of mouth marketing campaign... BNI shows you how. I have been working for 6 months forming a chapter in Miami. We finally kicked off and can only recommend everyone be part of a chapter.

Think about getting a referral for business where you can bid higher and still get the project. I have already received and given numerous business referrals and the determining factor is your social capital with the referrer. If they trust the person that is referring you business, anyone else is second to you.

Our chapter has passed more than 37 referrals since we started and established chapters pass more than 40 referrals in one meeting. The Miami Beach chapter I believe grossed more than $700K in business last year. And this is with about 45 members in that chapter.

All business done through BNI is accountable so only the best can be part of BNI. The network is so grounded in accountability that someone from an out of state BNI chapter doing business in your city would most likely do business with another BNI member rather than look elsewhere. You can trust that a BNI member will get the job done.

Look for a chapter in your area you will be impressed.

What could be improved?

Some chapters meet for breakfast... no one likes to wake up early in the morning. But if you are serious about your business then this is the best time to give and get business.

How much does it cost?

Approx. $379 for the first year.


Reviewed by Gianni D'Alerta

Get free blog updates and tips by email

As a 10 year member for my own business, and as an Area Director in New York City for BNI for the last six years, I can honestly say that BNI does works extrmely well. It's all about the establishing long-term, professional business relationships with people. So what if the meetings are early in the morning? While your compeition is still asleep or stuck in traffic, members are making money and growint their business. It's affordable, professional but most importantly FUN!

Posted by: Tim Houston | Feb 1, 2006 11:36:42 AM

If you're looking for an alternative to BNI that features a powerful networking website, check out Biznik: Radical Self Promotion. It's a business networking group for progressive professionals that started last year in Seattle. The website let's you find and refer business to other members, keep track of who's in your referral network, and hosts monthly face-to-face events. And, unlike BNI and many other groups, it's completely FREE.

Posted by: Dan McComb | Feb 1, 2006 3:36:26 PM

I did BNI in London and Cape Town and while the early starts were a bit of a chore the results were decent. It is also a good place for young guys like myself to learn how to stand up in front of people and present himself and the company. I watched a co-worker who also attended go from a stuttering chair-hugger to a confident speaker in a few months thanks to BNI.

Posted by: Paul Watson | Feb 2, 2006 2:46:15 AM

It is almost twice as expensive to join over the pond but worth it. Involved in a chapter start up and already made the money back. Main reason for joining was in fact to improve my presentation skills. I can see them getting better and better each week. Mornings are a killer though!

Posted by: Alan O'Rourke | Feb 2, 2006 4:32:56 AM

I know I am posting REALLY late on this, but I just wanted to thank you for posting about BNI a few days ago. Your blog is a great asset to many, so it is wonderful to see you give it a mention here.

I have been the seat holder in the Web Specialist postition for my local chapter, and have been met with a great deal of success; I have been evangelizing WOM, buzz, and blogging to my BNI chapter so really hope to see the power of the BNI process that has worked offline for many years taken forward to the web as an added benefit.

Reading from bloggers such as yourself may just be that ticket I need to get my chapter members looking even more seriously.

Thank you!

Posted by: Lori Leach | Feb 10, 2006 10:37:27 AM

By popular demand (and Giannni's original request) I've upgraded this to 5 stars (from 4).

Posted by: Carson McComas | Feb 16, 2006 9:15:46 AM