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Started in January 1985 by Dr. Ivan R. Misner, Founder & Chairman of BNI. BNI provides a positive, supportive, and structured environment for men and women to further their business through word-of-mouth marketing.

Networking requires commitment. The most successful chapters of BNI are comprised of participants who are sincerely committed to helping one another through networking. They are a team. As a participant in BNI, you are responsible for complying with the policies and guidelines of the organization*. A partial list of the policies of BNI are listed below:

 

STEP 1:   Ask yourself three questions:
1. Do I want to grow my business?
2. Are referrals an important part of my business?
3. If I could meet regularly with a group of business people, who OVER TIME would refer business to me...
       would I want to meet them?

If you answered, "Yes." to these questions...

STEP 2: Visit a BNI Chapter meeting.  You may attend up to 2 meetings as a visitor - two times at one Chapter or once at two different Chapters. Here is a LINK to all the local Chapters.   This is an important first step. It will give you an opportunity to see what we are all about. Explaining a BNI meeting is like giving a haircut over the phone - not very effective. BNI meetings are best experienced in person.

STEP 3: Stay for a Visitor Orientation and submit an application to the Chapter's Membership Committee.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you visit a BNI Chapter:

  • Only one person from each professional classification is permitted to join a chapter of BNI. To find a chapter with your professional classification open, Click here
  • All participants must represent their primary occupation, not a part-time business.
  • Attendance is critical. If you cannot attend a meeting, you may send a substitute. (We will teach you how to build your substitute list)
  • 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.
  • Networking requires commitment. The most successful chapters of BNI are comprised of participants who are sincerely committed to helping one another through networking. They are a team.
  • As a participant in BNI, you are responsible for abiding by the Code of Ethics, Policies, and Guidelines of BNI.
  • Acceptance in a BNI Chapter is a decision made by the Chapter Membership Committee. It is subject to reference checks, proper licensing, and whether that Chapter already has a member in your professional classification.

If you can't find a vacancy… phone or email the BNI office.

Most chapters have a nominal meeting fee to cover the room and meal charges. You will have the opportunity to stand and introduce yourself and your company (unless your competitor is a member…then you simply "observe"). Bring LOTS of business cards because you will also have a chance to pass them to all of the members.

The benefits of membership are many!

1. Increased exposure to many other people and businesses; Each member also has an online profile and can connect globally with other BNI members!

2. Building solid business relationships that will last for the rest of your life!

3. Tools to network more effectively, including educational workshops and mentoring;

4. Visibility, Credibility and Profitability for each of our members;

5. And much, much more!!!

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ's

Q: Can anyone join a chapter?

A: We only take one person per professional specialty. For example: If you are a residential real estate person and the chapter you want to visit already has a member who is a residential Realtor, we can refer you to another chapter. We can also discuss the possibility of starting a new BNI chapter. Of course, if you are a commercial real estate person, you could be eligible to join this chapter.

Q: How do you know new members are reputable?

A: The application asks for references. The Membership Committee of the Chapter checks them. It's word of mouth, so before the majority of individuals come to a meeting they have to have spoken to a member or been invited by someone in the chapter. The Membership Committee also interviews prospective members who have submitted an application.

Q: What if a member gets a referral and does poor work?

A: Every BNI Chapter has a Membership Committee to handle these issues in a professional manner. It is imperative that when issues arise, the Membership Committee is made aware of the isse. They will investigate and work with the members to resolve issues and maintain the relationships.

Q: What occupations benefit the most from networking?

A: It is not the occupation, it is the individual. The occupation can be anything - even non-profits can benefit from participating in BNI. If you are committed to helping fellow members succeed - Givers Gain!

Q: Are members supposed to bring visitors?

A: Members are encouraged to bring visitors for those occupations that are open, after the visitor has been pre-screened, if they're a viable candidate.

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. To ensure that members will not potentially violate a professional's ethical code, BNI's policies and Code of Ethics are superseded by the dictates of the professional's ethics' code. Significantly, a primary objective of BNI is to educate its membership in ways to market and grow business. It is BNI's intent to ensure that this is permitted.

Q: If I specialize in a field within my profession, am I expected to be an expert in all aspects of my profession?

A: BNI understands that many professions are broad and that people often specialize within their profession. BNI does not expect, nor does it encourage, any professional to participate in an area in which the professional does not have expertise. On the contrary, BNI prohibits professionals from acting outside of the scope of their abilities.

Q: My profession does not let me directly solicit business. Is BNI still right for me?

A: BNI's primary objective is to assist its members in ways to improve their business and to educate them concerning how they can effectively network. Business people get business when their expertise is known and others reach a comfort level with them. BNI provides a forum that allows members to meet other business peers who need to know effective and efficient business people.