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Discuss the benefits and challenges of local networking (in-person) plus networking resources and techniques.

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Old 02-29-2012
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Default BNI (Business Network International)
Hi,

Is anyone of you a member of a BNI chapter? How has it been working out for your business?

I visited a few chapters in my area and found two that could bring in some business in a long run, but I am not sure I am able to invest in the membership at this moment... Which is ironic for someone who realizes the value of marketing

As of now, I am a member of a local chamber of commerce but what I like about BNI is its structure and members' commitment to passing on referrals...

Thank you for your input!
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Old 02-29-2012
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Default Re: BNI (Business Network International)
BNI can be great or can be horrible. Just depends on the group and the fit. What I recommend highly is that you get on their substitute list so you can attend more than just twice - which will really give you a feel for how it's working. The right group will give you referrals, even if you are just a regular substitute, and one referral might just pay for your membership.

Act as though you are a member. Seek out one-on-ones and substitute as much as possible. HTH
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Old 02-29-2012
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Default Re: BNI (Business Network International)
There are a number of threads about BNI. Here's one BNI

These are located in the category in which you posted your question...networking offline.

The consensus has been that it is expensive however, some VAs have found as Pam mentioned that the referrals are well-worth the membership fee.

Janine
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Old 03-01-2012
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Default Re: BNI (Business Network International)
Thank you, Janine, can't believe I missed it when looking for already existing threads...
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Old 03-01-2012
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Default Re: BNI (Business Network International)
Does anyone know how much their fees are? I've been thinking of attending a meeting but I hear they have high member dues so I haven't attending a meeting yet because I probably can't afford it.
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Old 03-02-2012
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Default Re: BNI (Business Network International)
I believe it's about $360-ish for an annual fee, $100 one-time sign-up fee, then there are also quarterly dues that depend on a size of the group and a venue where the group meets...in my area, they run at about $250/quarter...
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Old 03-02-2012
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Default Re: BNI (Business Network International)
Paulette - They are right around $500.00. I wanna say $495 or $475...plus - depending on the group you may have some cost each time you attend for a meal. I know the one I thought of joining and decided against required you pay $15.00 each week for the buffet breakfast that THEY decided to have. I never ate what they offered - greasy bacon and cold eggs - so I was just giving away the $15.00.
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Old 03-02-2012
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Default Re: BNI (Business Network International)
I love BNI.

When I joined the Chamber I got two free advertisements (fairly large!) in the local paper & I got zero calls. I paid hundreds on a postcard campaign that reached out to the same group over the summer months & I got one call & zero work.

All of my business has come from referrals. Three of my on-going clients came from BNI referrals. Most of my marketing dollars go to networking. I save postcards/mailers for appreciation marketing.

The first BNI chapter I joined, one of the other members hired me right away as a VA. Within a week, her web designer/developer dumped her, without notice & unkindly, & she asked if I could do web design. Thus, I became her web person & she still did her own admin work. Within six months, I'd gotten my membership fee back.

Although it doesn't usually happen that quickly, BNI does work if you give it time & do the one-to-one meetings. One-to-one's are where you meet individually with other members. Basically you educate each other as to what would be a good referral for each of you. This is how you build trust, which leads to referrals.

Currently it costs $365 + a one time fee of $100 to join. If you re-join in a year, you only pay the $365 & if you join for two years there's a discount.

Be sure to inquire as to the monthly fees. My chapter has found a venue that doesn't charge us anything, so our monthly fees are $15 - covers coffee & bagels. Some chapters have a buffet breakfast & the monthly fees can be as high as $50! That's more than the annual membership!

Keep me posted!

ps - Pam is right - check out as many chapters as you can before deciding. The first chapter I joined, while ok, was not nearly as vibrant as the one I'm in now.
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Last edited by dognose; 03-02-2012 at 10:32 AM. Reason: ps
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Old 03-04-2012
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Default Re: BNI (Business Network International)
Wow that's a lot! Do fees vary from city to city? Because if they do then in NYC it's probably on the higher side. In the future I may consider BNI but for now I think I'll pass. Thanks for the information.
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