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BNI Archives - Business Growth Partners

BNI Greenfields Networking Event Review

By Business

Aimee from TLS Marketing invited me to attend the BNI Greenfields Networking event. The event was held at Greenfields which is a venue that overlooks the golf course at Albert Park Lake.

The networking session was a breakfast event with approximately 100 people in attendance. BNI is a networking group that has chapters across Australia. The Greenfields group is one of the closest to our office in South Melbourne. Each BNI runs using a set formula with people within the group expected to attend weekly or fortnightly meetings to provide referrals to one another.

Networking events such as the one that we attended are usually designed to introduce guests to BNI and provide them with the opportunity to see how a group operates.

The event itself was well structured and provided time for networking. Food at the event was very light and there were delays in organising coffees for everyone. I had a croissant and realised that I should have probably had something more.

We all had the opportunity to introduce ourselves to the group. I have to admit that it was a bit difficult to keep up with the discussion because of the sheer number of people in the room mixed with the BNI formalities.

BNI is also not necessarily a network for everyone. It works best for transactional, commoditised businesses such as printers, bookkeepers and website designers. For a service like Business Growth Partners it would be more difficult to gain quality referrals from this type of network.

Things of note:

  • Location: 4/5
  • Highlight: Great turnout
  • Cost: $25
  • Hot tip: If you want to get a taste of what a BNI meeting is like, this is a less formal way to get introduced to the structure

Ratings

  • Venue: 4/5
  • Catering: 2/5
  • Speaker: 3/5
  • Networking opportunity: 3/5

Total: 12/20

Business Network International: BNI Greenacres Meeting (January 24th, 2018) Review

By Business

Business Network International (BNI) is well-known worldwide for its extensive small business network and the many meetings that it hosts throughout various cities and locales. Today’s meeting, which was hosted by the BNI Greenacres chapter at the Greenacres Golf Club in Kew, felt quite earnest yet exclusive. BNI itself is very selective with who it accepts as members, and it showed today. Many of the attendees were recurring members, with a select few presented with ribbons in recognition of multiple years of service.

While it was clear that BNI meetings are typically very-structured, this particular event was not run very well. The hosts did not clearly signpost the various discussion sections nor did they provide succinct and clear explanations for what each participant was supposed to present in each section. In fact, I was not given the opportunity to speak in my relevant section but was instead rushed through a different one that was catered to familiar faces and not newcomers like myself. The lack of clear leadership really hurt the meeting’s potential for strong discussion and sharing insight, so the attendees most likely missed out on a fruitful experience. This was exacerbated by there being more energy put behind reminding members of their payment obligations than encouraging them to volunteer as highlighted speakers in succeeding events.

Networking-wise, the opportunities were excellent for small businesses who rely on referrals to generate sales, such as printers, bookkeepers, and photographers. However, BNI’s insular format doesn’t readily lend itself well to business owners looking to scale up their operations by developing a larger customer base.

My overall experience was a negative one, and BNI would do well to ensure that newcomers are greeted appropriately and are able to easily follow each meeting’s structure. Those looking for a clique of like-sized businesses may benefit from the weekly meetings, but those who are looking to expand their operations should look elsewhere.

Things of note:

  • Location: Greenacres Golf Club, 51 Elm Grove, Kew East
  • Cost: $1200/year
  • Highlight: One of the members is participating in the Rottnest Channel Swim
  • Hot tip: Bring lots of business cards

Ratings

  • Networking opportunity: 2/5
  • Speakers: 2/5
  • Venue: 3/5
  • Food: 3/5

Total: 10/20

BNI Limitless Networking Meeting Tullamarine

By Business

I attended the BNI Limitless meeting in Tullamarine. The event was held at the Quality hotel.

BNI is a referral based network that has many chapters across Melbourne. I attended this chapter by invitation through my contact Jane from KISS Print Services. Jane and I often attend networking events together. Jane is a member of this BNI chapter.

It is often a good idea to attend networking events with someone that you know. It helps provide reassurance that you are not alone at the event and also makes networking easier as it is sometimes easier to approach a group rather than an individual person.

BNI groups are a useful tool for businesses that provide transnational services such as printing, trades or property services to get together. BNI groups provide attendees with the ability to network with a range of people from their local community. It also provides a structure support network for these businesses. I have been to a few BNI groups in the past, and this group I have to say is one of the friendliest that I have been to.

At BNI Tullamarine

At BNI Tullamarine

To be able to fully experience a BNI you need to go to it, as it is not for everyone.

While this was an event that generally falls during breakfast, there was no breakfast provided with the event – so if you do attend this make sure that you eat before. It also took about an hour to get there via Uber – there was no way of easily leaving the BNI and I was fortunate that one of the attendees as able to offer me a lift back. Otherwise I would have been stuck on public transport for around 2 hours.

Location: 265 Mickleham Road, Tullamarine, VIC 3043

Cost: Free

Highlight: Speaker – discussing plumbing services  – learned things about plumbing that I never knew

Hot tip: Eat breakfast before you attend

Rating 3/5