BNI started operations in Australia in 1997. Today there are hundreds of chapters operating right around the country. Started in January 1985 by Dr Ivan R. Misner, Founder & Chairman, BNI provides a positive, supportive, and structured environment for men and women to further their business through word-of-mouth marketing. BNI now operates in over 60 countries and has over 7,000 chapters.
The most successful chapters of BNI are comprised of participants who are sincerely committed to helping one another as part of a high performing team.
The first step is to find a chapter and visit and see what we are all about. The best way to understand our service is to experience a meeting in person.
Only one person from each business specialty is permitted to participate in a Chapter.
Participants represent their primary occupation, not a part-time business.
Attendance is critical. If you cannot attend a meeting, you may send a substitute.
Participation in the chapter by members is a key to the success of a group. Members participate by bringing bona-fide referrals and/or visitors to their BNI chapter.
Please note that most chapters have a nominal meeting fee to cover the venue charge. When you attend a meeting make sure you bring many business cards because you will also have a chance to pass them to all the members. Our visitor hosts are trained and ready to help you make the meeting experience a positive one.
Excerpts from: The World's Best Known Marketing Secret
Q: Can anyone participate in a chapter?
A: We only take one person per business specialty. So if you are a residential real estate agent and we already have one, we can refer you to another chapter, or work with you to open another chapter if you think you have what it takes to do that. Of course, if you are a commercial real estate person, you could be eligible to participate in this chapter but that is at the sole discretion of the Chapter Membership Committee.
Q: How do you know new members are reputable?
A: The application asks for references and we have a Membership Committee that conducts interviews and does all the reference checks. Everyone has to have a sponsor, or one is assigned to them, and they interview them as well.
Q: What if a member gets a referral and does poor work?
A: We have a Membership Committee that looks after all aspects of Chapter health. It is imperative that anyone who gives a referral and finds out it was not satisfactorily handled must report that to the Membership Committee, who will investigate.
Q: What occupations benefit the most from networking?
A: It is not the occupation, it is the individual. If you're focused and you're willing to make an effort to further your business, you may be the person we want in the group.
Q: Are members supposed to bring visitors?
A: Visitors are important for the success of all Chapters. Members are encouraged to bring their network of contacts to Chapter meetings. Visitors can attend twice before they need to make a decision about applying.
Q: Do ethical rules for certain professions prohibit participation in BNI?
A: BNI understands the importance of the ethical concerns governing certain professions and acknowledges that rules can differ by location. As such, BNI therefore requires its members to uphold the rules of its profession so as not to violate the professional's ethical obligations. In the event that BNI's general rules could potentially violate a professional's ethical code, BNI's rules are superseded by the dictates of the professional's ethics' code.
Q: If I specialise in a field within my industry or profession, am I expected to be an expert in all aspects?
A: BNI understands that many industries and professions are very broad, and that people often specialise. BNI does not expect, nor does it encourage, any professional to participate in an area in which they do not have expertise.