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Business People Applauding

New Member FAQ

  • WHAT is BNI?
    BNI is “Business Network International,” a business marketing program that allows one person from each profession to join a chapter. The sole purpose of the chapter is to increase business through a structured system of giving referrals.
  • WHERE does BNI meet?
    We meet via BNI Online®, our virtual meeting platform. It’s a convenient, safe and effective way for BNI Member businesses to connect, share referrals and grow their business, all from the comfort of their home or office.
  • WHEN does BNI meet?
    We meet Tuesday mornings from 7am to 8:30am. Open Networking starts at 6:45am and Q&A with that week's featured speakers is from 8:30-8:45am. We meet weekly, taking off a few weeks throughout the year for holidays, and supplement our online meetings with consistent in-person events.
  • WHY visit and join BNI?
    Because what goes around comes around! people that GIVE business referrals GET business referrals! Visit and see BNI in action!
  • HOW do you benefit from BNI?
    In a number of ways: By allowing members the opportunity to present and promote their business to all members in a group exclusively without competing professionals. Each profession has only one representative per chapter. By an increased awareness of your profession from other networking members who will use or recommend your services once they know and trust you. By substantially increasing and expanding your business through referrals. By exposing your service and knowledge to businesses and success oriented people throughout the community. By gaining knowledge from information on other networking members’ professions. By using a professionally designed forum to promote yourself and your business efficiently, effectively and economically. By routinely meeting with other focused, motivated business professionals.
  • Can anyone join a chapter?
    Yes, but BNI is a non-compete networking format, so members are not competing with others from the same profession for introductions and referrals. If your business category is already represented by a member, we can refer you to another BNI chapter.
  • What occupations benefit the most from networking?
    It is not the occupation, it is the individual. The occupation can be anything. All professions can prosper from BNI given you take the time to learn how to target market and teach your fellow members what you are looking for in referrals.
  • How many members are in a typical BNI chapter?
    A good mature BNI chapter typically has between 25 and 30 members. Some BNI chapters have as many as 80 members!
  • Are there any other events besides the weekly chapter meetings?
    Yes. We complement our weekly virtual meetings with monthly in-person events, including philanthropic outings and happy hours. Members are also encouraged to participate in BNI's Member Success Programs and advanced training.
  • Are members supposed to bring visitors?
    You’re encouraged to bring visitors for those occupations that are open. After the visitor has been prescreened and joins, their profession is then closed. BNI is primarily an invitation-only organization and members look to invite visitors who are either interested in joining BNI and/or invite those interested in meet a dynamic networking group.
  • Do ethical rules for certain professions prohibit participation in BNI?
    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. 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.
  • So, for example, as a real estate professional would my membership in BNI be in conflict with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)?
    No. We see nothing in the BNI model that conflicts with any requirements of RESPA. Being a member of a chapter provides you with structured business networking opportunities, but does not require you to obtain or make referrals as a condition of continued membership. Moreover, as a member you’re free to make or receive referrals from other chapter members or anyone outside of BNI – and this is not contingent upon receiving a reciprocal referral or anything of value from the other member. BNI does not receive or pay any commission or anything of value for any business connections or referrals that a member obtains. Doing so would be against BNI’s set of Core Values. There is no quid pro quo in the BNI model.
  • If I specialize in a field within my profession, am I expected to be an expert in all aspects of my profession?
    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.
  • My profession does not let me directly solicit business. Is BNI still right for me?
    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.
  • How do I join BNI?
    Attend a chapter in your area as a visitor. You are allowed to attend a maximum of two meetings, after which time you will be asked to make a decision if you would like to apply to that chapter. When you visit you will have a brief visitor orientation, and be given an application along with a visitor’s pack which contains additional information about BNI. Since BNI only accepts one person per professional specialty, if your position is already represented in the chapter, you can contact the Director to learn about openings in other chapters or to start your own BNI chapter. When you apply, complete this application and return it to the Vice President of the chapter, along with your payment for annual or bi-annual dues, and the registration fee. The Membership Committee of the chapter will evaluate your application, verify your references and interview you and your sponsor. A decision will be given before the next meeting.
  • How do you know new members are reputable?
    The application asks for references and we have a membership committee that checks them. It’s referral marketing, so before they even come to a meeting they have to have spoken to someone or been invited by someone in the group. Everyone has to have a sponsor, or one is assigned to them, and they interview them.
  • What if a member gets a referral and does poor work?
    We have an ethics committee and 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.
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