Why I left BNI?
I left BNI over 6 months ago and it was a gutwrench to do it because I’d made so many friends and won a lot of business and customers over 8 years. However, my business had changed and it no longer made sense to find new business. The last few meetings I’d found myself too wrapped up in my own problems that I was wandering around the venue looking at the magnificent historical setting, not really wanting to talk to anyone and minding my own business. When it also became a struggle to get out of bed I thought it was time to leave.
I’d been in BNI for 8 years and had gotten through the traditional ‘slow start build trust’ phase. My first bit of business didn’t come until month 10. That was hard. Pushing through that and BNI has been brilliant. It’s provided me with a good stream of business and quality friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Here are the 6 BNI things I miss…
I can say now that are things…
- All the people, the people I can call my friends I’ve known them long enough
- Doing something that produces results
- Being engaged with people who are on the same road
- Being focused on business issues
- I miss the thanks from people for business won recommending them
- … I miss being grateful to other people for giving me business and helping my business out …
BNI helps you complete the loop: from finding new business, through to winning that business, and thanking for that business. It’s gives a good sense of satisfaction to see things through. Moreover, I was often told how the customer benefited from what we’d done, which was top draw for me .. it’s good to know things are not just work and money but have formed a very useful and appreciated part of someone else’s business.
3 things I don’t miss:
Let’s have some honest balance, it’s not all rosy, and it for me it had a few down sides…
- The early start, especially in winter
- It’s so hard to get going at 5.30am when it’s dark, cold, and rainy. Your motivation is tested to the limit, and you always come through but there’s no denying it’s difficult.
- The long drive. When I first started it was a 10 mile drive but after a few venue changes it was a 16mile drive each way, and that was a pain
- The pressure to produce referrals, testimonials, every week. Sometimes I do miss the pressure, sometimes not. I know that without this people will tend to sit back – it’s human nature to be comfortable. So it’s probably better. A BNI dog may have helped here, to calm the spirits and always got your back.
BNI is very good. It’s hard to meet business people and build trust in your business…
Come on, let’s face it: It’s hard to meet business people on an even footing!
The naked reality .. when you meet people who are a possible customer you want their business. When you meet people who are a potential supplier you want the best price and best service. Your attitude can be skewed by a drive to get what’s beneficial to you. BNI makes it more of a level playing field because you are there to help each other rather than service each other (if you pardon the expression).
What works the best is not militarizing your best guns on people and pummelling them into submission, but to communicate to them how good you are, how you can help their clients, what history you’ve got, because more than likely the people in the room will not hire you for a while but they will come across a lot of people might. You’ve got to build some credibility because their name is riding on a recommendation, so it’s not a trivial decision to recommend you in to one of their circle. For this reason you’ve got to build trust.
BNI – no chiefs and peasants. Makes it easier to meet people, key people who can help you
This is where BNI comes in. It brings you all together on an even keel, from established 40 year old big business down to a new cleaning company startup. There are no people in high castle’s, bosses or CEOs who will tell you “I’ve only got 2 minutes”. Everyone makes an effort in BNI to get along because there are no chiefs and peasants. There are presidents, secretaries, vice presidents, but these are titles to indicate they have some extra responsibilities. People who are at BNI are under pressure to help other members so there’s a natural persuasion for them to help everyone they can by getting to know you, what you do, share recommendations and contacts.
BNI brings you together on a regular basis so that you can build that trust and create relationships.
BNI is how I built myself a good small business over the years. I did well from it and I don’t how I would have built my business otherwise.
Was BNI worth it?
It sure was, many times over.
I would do it all over again if I had the time again.
I was a sorrowful to inform the President that I wouldn’t be coming again. I found it better to slink away than put a downer on a meeting by saying a farewell.
I do miss my BNI a lot.
My direction has changed though, and I wish all my BNI friends the very best of luck and hope we can catch up either in business circles or for a beer.Make a comment if you feel like it.