BNI is the modern ‘wishing well’

BNI is the modern ‘wishing well’

You would have heard from entrepreneurs, businessmen and organizations boasting themselves of giving back to the society. I would say, that’s just incidental. They give back because they got something from this society. But have you heard of an organization whose very purpose of existence is to ‘give’? Can you believe that they operate on a philosophy called “Givers Gain“? In fact, their complete business model revolves around this very philosophy. Now you might want to ask if they are making any money…

In 2015 alone, 190,000 members across 64 countries have generated a business of $9.3b from millions of referrals exchanged between members. Isn’t this amazing? BNI is arguably the largest and the most successful networking organizations in today’s world. So what makes BNI different from hundreds and thousands of other organizations/ forums? So what’s actually driving this unique organization that’s making it grow year on year for the last 30 years?

One of my friends was in Europe last month on a business trip and saw a wishing well when he was walking down the road. He tossed a coin and made a wish to close the deal the same day. Not that he believes in this stuff, but just out of curiosity. Surprisingly, he closed the deal. He wanted to spend some time there while returning back to his hotel. When he reached, he saw a boy making a wish to get closer to his girl friend, a little girl for an ice cream and a father wishing for his growing daughter… Wow, it gives different things to different people 🙂

* A wishing well is a term from European folklore to describe wells where it was thought that any spoken wish would be granted.

What’s the relation to #BNI? Well, BNI does the same to people. BNI gives different things to different people. Why do you think BNI is so popular? Do you think people join BNI only for business? Not exactly. I asked this question to different members over the last 2 years and interestingly I hear different answers. Typical answers were:

  • I got connected to key corporate through my fellow members, something that I have been trying for the last 2 years.
  • I wouldn’t dare talk a word in a crowd. Today I can give a lecture.
  • I made some awesome friends. We are exploring new partnerships together.
  • BNI made me an ace networker.
  • I always thought trainings are boring. BNI changed this myth.
  • BNI is part of my life. It’s actually is a way of life. It teaches you everything in life. Everything from personal discipline, professional ethics to business acumen. I am still trying to find, what it cannot do.
  • I never knew I was a go-getter. I always thought I was an introvert.
  • I wouldn’t have met these many prospects in the last 10 years of my business, than the ones I met in the last 6 months as my chapter’s visitors.
  • Gone are the days I used to get service providers from yellow pages. I now get everything at BNI, at the best price and service. They are trust worthy.
  • I have doubled my revenue without adding a single sales guy. Thanks to BNI for all the qualified referrals.

In all the above conversations, have you seen the word ‘money’ anywhere? Doesn’t it prove that money is just a by-product of our actions? So isn’t it right to focus on the important things and money would follow suit eventually? Hasn’t BNI revealed this great secret of life?

great-secret-of-life

In the business of ‘GIVING’ – Unlike in the case of wishing well that fulfill the wishes of people, in BNI it is the members who fulfill each other wishes, making this platform even greater than the good.

I had to take a cue from Richard Branson to say that, “BNI is a great leveler, since having the benefit of a wealthy background or a generous legacy isn’t always an advantage. The wonderful thing is that money is not the sole currency when it comes to joining a BNI chapter; participation, drive, discipline, passion and hard work are all free and more valuable than a pot of cash.”

team

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