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.
Last edited by dognose; 03-02-2012 at 08:32 AM.