“I joined BNI in 2011 because I loved the ‘Givers Gain’ philosophy, even though I was really just looking for an opportunity and didn’t have a business; I wasn’t even sure which category I should be in!
“After various conversations with another member, we set up an SEO company and several other collaborations followed. I now have interests in 18 businesses through my trusted connections at BNI, and have found so many friends.
“BNI has been absolutely amazing. If you’re prepared to give openly, it will come back to you in abundance. I have investments and interests in 18 companies as a result of my BNI connections.”
“When I started with BNI ten years ago, I was working on my own. More than anything, I was attracted by the chance to work with the other professionals in the chapter.
“Now I have ten people working in my business, and the work I’ve had through BNI has amounted to around £2.2m. With the help of my business coach, we’ve put in lots of systems and processes that mean the business could run without me if it had to.
“It took about 14 months for me to get my first big referral, but it was definitely worth the wait!”
“In the six years since I joined BNI, the business has grown from two of us to 13 people, and BNI has been an essential and integral part of that.
“We’ve benefitted enormously from great referrals and qualified introductions, as well as very fruitful collaborations with other businesses.
“I’m also really pleased that through their membership of other BNI groups, my team members are developing their own confidence and awareness of lead generation opportunities. It empowers them to take ownership of their parts of our business.
“And for my part, I’ve learned so much about how to run a business from the experience and wisdom of other members.”
“About ten years ago, at a time when a family member was unwell, I had to take a lot of time out of work, even though I was working on my own, and not really making much money.
“Then, as a favour for a friend, I went to a BNI visitors day. I didn’t have any intention of joining, but I immediately loved it, and could see that I could learn so much from the other businesses in the room. So I joined!
“After five months, I got my first big order - it was worth £14,000, and I haven’t looked back since. We’re now a team of four people.
“My brother, who works with me, has just joined another BNI chapter in Cardiff, so we now have two BNI sales teams working for us!
“I love the structure of BNI, and I’ve learned so much about myself. BNI has really enhanced my business reputation, so I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
“My partner initially joined BNI, and one day he asked me to substitute for him. He said I’d love it, and I did! I’d been looking for investors and professional contacts, so I joined a nearby group.
“As well as lots of new clients, the BNI training has helped me to become a far more confident presenter, and I think I’ve learned how to network properly. Being a member of BNI is now central to how we run our business. And the exclusivity means you lock out your competitors.
“So if you have the chance to join, don’t lose out!”
“I’d always worked for big telecom providers but at the age of 35, I wanted my own business, so I started Cloud & Fibre.
“A customer invited me to a BNI meeting, but at the time I just wasn’t ready for it. Two months later, however, I went back and felt very comfortable; the time was right to join.
“As part of the launch we sent out lots of invitations and one was sent to my former employer, a mobile phone operator. As a result of that invitation, they invested into my business and we now work in a partnership with almost 60 staff.
“BNI helped me develop my business, my brand and my reputation. And over the past four years, BNI has helped us to win over £450k of new business.”
“I was a lone worker in shared office space, and had recently had my second child when I began my BNI journey. Because I had to do everything myself, I used to get stressed by really small things, but all that quickly changed.
“It was my accountant who suggested I try BNI, but I’d worked in the corporate world and it was very anti-networking. But I went along, and I loved it immediately.
“Now I have a team of six consultants in an office of our own. At BNI I was surrounded by people with business acumen, and I lapped it up. It proved to be a great catalyst and gave me enormous confidence.
“If you get a chance to do it, do it. Make it a part of your business and give it 100%.”
“We had just bought the print business when we were first invited to BNI, and we were feeling our way, actively looking for ways to grow. But we’d never even heard about networking.
“So we went along, and it was a real ‘wow’ moment! We kept saying ‘how come we haven’t heard about this before?’ and we signed up on the spot.
As far as we were concerned, we’d have 30 people selling for us, so the risk was actually very low. “That was eleven years ago, and BNI has become an important part of our business. We think of it as one of our top three clients.
“But more importantly, it’s been a great personal development tool for me; it teaches you to improve your relationships with people. And as a chapter, we share the challenges and the solutions to the business issues we face. The camaraderie is wonderful.”
“When I first took up the franchise, I didn’t have a single customer, so I knew I had to build a network around me. I visited a few networking groups but they all seemed very cliquey or more social than business.
“Then I went to BNI, and realised that this was proper business networking. “Eight years on, I’m a different person. I now get regular referrals and can stand up in front of anyone with confidence. “BNI isn’t a quick fix but it will teach you how to grow and succeed.”
“I joined BNI three years ago as a sole trader, but my business definitely didn’t fit into the normal BNI member profile.
“I needn’t have worried, though. Within the past year, I’ve had an amazing £510,000 worth of business from BNI, and I’ve been able to give over a million pounds worth of business referrals to my fellow members.
“The excitement and confidence that this generates is so exhilarating, and through it, I, my business and the chapter continue to go from strength to strength.
“I probably don’t need to say much more about how much I believe in the power of BNI!”
“When I became self-employed, it was a new challenge for me. So I joined BNI thinking that I’d have a captive audience, and hoped I’d at least make my money back.
“But it’s worked out way better than I’d ever imagined, and my income has trebled. I now have an army of trusted contacts, whose networks I have access to.
“Socially, it’s also had a very positive impact; recently, I took my kids to Lapland, and to Disneyland. I never dreamed that I’d be able to do that.
“My best advice would be: get involved. You never know who will give you your next best customer. My best referral came from a pest controller, and in the end it was worth £20,000. So keep an open mind!”
“When I moved to this area, I needed to build a network of strong relationships quickly and a friend of mine from Sheffield recommended that I try BNI.
“Straight away, I really liked the giving mentality, and the way that everyone in the group helped each other. I loved the structure and energy too.
“Then I bought a gym from another member I’d introduced to the group, and that gave me a great base for my business. But without BNI, what has taken me 18 months would have taken ten years. I’d never have had the opportunity nor the confidence to make that kind of leap.
“Believe it or not, I originally joined BNI because I used to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, and I thought it might help me to overcome them. And I needed to raise the profile of my business locally.
“Standing up and speaking in front of a group of people was my worst nightmare. I didn’t even want to say my name at my first meeting. Now, four years on, I’m President of the chapter and the business has a steady flow of referrals, leaving me time to work on client retention.
“BNI is a big commitment, but if you think about it as part of working ON your business, it is very powerful.”