What is BNI? Joining BNI in Singapore
BNI, the abbreviation for Business Network International is the world’s largest business networking and business referral organization. It is an organization with over 240,000 members worldwide that is glorified to help businesses of large or small to network amongst each other. Members help each other by giving referrals to get more clients for their business.
Business owners and entrepreneurs meet every week in a small group, which they call a BNI Chapter. There are several chapters that will meet in a day and they are segregated to morning, afternoon and evening. There are usually more chapters during the day time especially in the morning and they can be as early as 7:30 am and can go on for hours, depending on how big your group is.
An attendance record is kept and it is mandatory to attend every week. One person per business area or industry is accepted into one BNI Chapter to maintain diversity and avoid redundancy. One member from your company should represent your business and should you not be able to make it for that chapter, find a substitute.
During the chapter, you will be given about 60 seconds to introduce your company and your nature of the business to everyone in the chapter. You will be able to take this opportunity to explain to the members what is your aim and goal to achieve from this week’s BNI chapter. You can elaborate or specify what kind of referrals you’re especially seeking for and also to provide feedback on the previous referrals introduced by members.
What’s the price?
There is a fee to join a BNI- application fee, annual membership, and every visit. You can also bring a visitor during one of your chapters, however, there is a visitor fee incurred. It can be quite a hefty amount to actually participate and join a BNI.
However, with that price you’re paying, you definitely will get benefits and something much bigger in return. First of all, you will gain quality networking among your BNI members. From there, you will be given referrals that would be potential clients to your business.
How does it work?
The idea of BNI is people helping people, specifically entrepreneurs helping each other through the word of mouth. It isn’t just any organization, it is a professional organization that is recognized around the world.
As mentioned earlier, every BNI chapter will have only one person per business sector. This is to avoid any confusion between members when giving out referrals. This gives every member in every chapter a more personal relationship and prevents any competition between the members of the same sector.
BNI is highly recommended for businesses and companies that are startups because it is a great kickstart to get referrals and networking from all industries around. In a way, it is also a great method to get your company made known to other people and the referrals you get are usually relevant and quality.
It is also a great practice for you to polish your presentation and public speaking skills. When you’re presenting and explaining to the other members, you are representing the industry of your business. It is vital that your members understand what your company does. If your members don’t understand, this means your potential clients or referrals may not understand as well.
It can be expensive to join BNI and it does cost quite hefty, however, the results and outcome from becoming a member will pay off. You get to network, receive quality referrals and get your business known by the word of mouth. It is not just relevant to startup companies, but if you own a business that has been running for years and is stuck in a rut, attending and joining BNI might give your business a boost and subsequently increasing the number of clients that you already have.