By Michael Menzies 24/10/19
You know BNI was something that I had never considered. In fact, the first time that I visited a chapter I wasn’t convinced that the concept was right for me.
But a little while after my first visit (to an alternate chapter to EDGE) I was encouraged to visit EDGE and the chapter seemed so much lighter and their approach felt much more in sync with my own.
But was BNI right for my business?
After speaking with some members, it was clear from this second meeting that there was a genuine opportunity and so I went back to my team and we looked at where BNI could fit strategically into our customer acquisition.
We pondered this and came up with a plan and joined.
For our business BNI had a very clear objective and was designed to pick up a very distinct client type and at first, we found finding success to be quite challenging.
But we had a 12-month plan and now three years later having built trust within the membership and having educated them on our offering the results are clear.
But beyond the mere financial aspect of joining BNI. There has been an element that was for me unforeseen, and that was the network itself. We all know people in our lives but in a business (and sometimes personal) context it is sometimes hard to know who to turn to for help. BNI for me has provided a trusted group of advisors that I’ve been able to reach out to on numerous occasions, and for me knowing that those people are there and that they are absolute professionals dedicated to helping you whenever you may need it is so reassuring.
So for me, the making money has become secondary. Now that doesn’t mean it’s not important to our business to get a financial return from the invest of both money and time we put into the group, we still have a strategic objectives and we measure the return on our investment and to make sure that it still fits within our strategy. But from a personal point of view, it is hard to look past the friendships that I’ve created in this environment. And I think that they will create lifelong business relationships that will keep delivering to both me personally and financially for years to come.
So, what are the negatives, for me it is hard to find any true negatives, being a BNI member requires discipline and commitment which for many is hard. There is some rhetoric within BNI that being a member is the only marketing you need to do. I can say as a marketing business and as a member that we would advise against this approach. However, if BNI is used as a strategic marketing channel within your broader marketing mix and, if you are dedicated and willing to give of your time and energy to improve the performance of your fellow members you will find success that far outweighs the investment.
If you are still unsure just come along and enjoy good breakfast with some great business banter. Have a look at it, get a sense for what it is, meet the people – BNI EDGE really is a sensational environment.
If you would like to learn more about how it could help your business contact me.
Michael is an Edge Member who holds the Digital Marketing chair for the chapter, you can get in contact with him here or if you would like to hear more about becoming an Edge Member and opening your business up to a whole world of networking opportunities click here.