What is BNI?
BNI or Business Networking International, "is the largest business networking organization in the world." With chapters in every state and the District of Columbia, and---beyond the United States---in 54 countries, BNI offers members "the opportunity to share ideas, contacts and most importantly, business referrals.
How long has BNI been around?
Ivan Misner, whom CNN has called "The Father of Modern Networking," founded BNI in 1985, building it upon the idea that "giving business to others, you will get business in return." In 2009, BNI exchanged 6.2 million referrals that generated an aggregate of more than $2.6 billion dollars worth of business for its members.
What are the benefits of being in BNI?
BNI brings business professionals together toward the overarching objective of increasing sales. Benefits include more referrals, more networking tools, weekly meetings, a newsletter, participation in business trade shows and free workshops.
How does membership work?
Only one person from each professional specialty---representing the person's primary, full-time occupation---may join a chapter of BNI. Attendance or representation at all meetings is required - though all members are allowed 3 absences per 6 month term. You may also send a substitute for you 3 times per term.