Episode 60: “Local Business, Global Network”

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Dr. Misner is beginning to shift his conception of BNI from “Think Globally, Act Locally” to “Local Business, Global Network.” BNI is developing its own social network, and BNI members are traveling and meeting each other in distant locations. BNI has more than 100,000 members worldwide and chapters in 40 countries.

As you see conferences announced on BNI.com, make plans to attend as many as you can. You can get million-dollar referrals at conferences. A dentist from Malaysia connected BNI member Marcus Emery to MAS Cargo at the International Member Event in Kuala Lumpur. (Watch the video here.)

You never know who your fellow BNI members are going to meet. If you surround yourself with quality professionals, the sky is the the limit on the referrals you can get. Service-based businesses are particularly well suited to doing business internationally. The key is finding each other: reach out and participate in online networks, go visit BNI chapters when traveling, and go to conferences.

Brought to you by Networking Now.

Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 060 –

Priscilla Rice:
Hello welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by networkingnow.com, the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you today?

Ivan Misner:
I am doing great, Priscilla. I just got back from Malaysia and Hong Kong, visiting chapters of BNI. I am really excited about what I’m seeing being done worldwide.

That’s great. Are you to share that with us today?

I am. I am. I want to start by talking about something that I used to say and how I’m beginning to change my position on something that I’ve said for many years. For a long time I have said BNI is a classic example of “thinking globally and acting locally”. But as time goes on and as technology improves and travel becomes easier, I’m really beginning to shift my thinking. I think the organization will begin to shift its operation over time from that concept to the concept of “local business, global network”.

We’re becoming a much smaller world in so many ways — Technology, certainly being one of them. Although I’m not prepared to talk about it here today on this podcast, I can’t say that BN I has a huge project in the works that will streamline a lot of our technology and bring us into the 21st century to enable our members to network and communicate in the not too distant future via technologies and in-house social networking to support the members. As time goes on, I’ll be talking more about that.

That aside — and when that does take place it will be incredible. But until then, I’m seeing a lot of our members communicating via venues which I’ll talk about little bit later. Through meeting and by going to visit each other as they are traveling around the world, by attending conferences like the one that I just attended in Kuala Lumpur recently. That’s what really gave me the idea of local business global network.

We are, to a large extent, mostly local businesses that are in BNI, but we truly have created a global network. We’re in almost 40 countries. We have over 100,000 members worldwide. We are truly a global network and more effectively we can use that matter. I attended two days for members, a third day for directors with conferences, conference session seminars and master classes. It was just amazing.

There were so many opportunities for business people to talk and exchange business, make new friends and immerse themselves in an intense learning experience. I would recommend to BNI members that as you see conferences that are being done around the world — and there are a lot of places and you can find out about BNI conferences.
BNI.com is one of the best locations. Go there to find out what is going on. Go there regularly go at least once a month to take a look at what events are going on. It’s right there on the front page, what events are going around the world. If you can, attend some of these in your country or around the world — because you will have an opportunity to hear speakers, sometimes myself and others.

At the Malaysian conference, we had Thomas and Penny Power of Ecademy. Anne Ray an entrepreneur of the year in the UK, Don and Nancy Morgan, the national directors of Canada. Niri Patel of the United Kingdom and India, Frank Derafway from New York. These are just some of the really engaging educational speakers that we had at this conference.

The more BNI members can attend things like that, the better. I believe that events like this help businesses connect with potential partners from all over the world. At this particular conference, we had 20 countries represented. We had 50 members from India and many members from the UK title in the United States and Australia. It’s really an amazing experience. I think there’s one experience in particular that I want to share with you.

It’s an amazing thing. In the transcript, I want to make sure that we have a video link, a URL, to the video that I’m about to talk about. It’s a very short video about three minutes long. One of the sponsors was a BNI person from the United Kingdom, Marcus Emory. Marcus is in the cargo transportation industry. He got a multi-or what is potentially a multimillion dollar referral at this conference. Literally a multimillion dollar referral.

What kind of business does he have?

He does shipping. Shipping and cargo. Here’s the amazing thing about it. So many times I hear in BNI people say I want to network with the CEO or I want to network with the vice president. The more you know, these people are hiding from you. They are not going to join BNI. And they’re not in direct sales so they have no interest in being in BNI.

The key with BNI is that it’s not just the business of the other members are in it, it’s that the people that those members know. The people that those members meet that is critical. One of the best examples I’ve ever seen I saw as a result of this conference. A dentist from Malaysia, Dr. Fey from Malaysia gave Marcus Emory this referral. It came because she had a patient who was in a company that had a $1.5 billion shipping budget. That’s billion with a “B” by the way, and was looking to streamline their operations and to talk to other companies. The dentist said, “Jay, I have just the person for you.” She referred him to Marcus, and the next day, Marcus got a phone call to set up an appointment with this gentleman.

To me, it’s a classic example of what I’m talking about where it’s the quality of business professionals that you’re networking with. They meet people who are decision makers. They get to know people who are decision makers. And sometimes, they have them in the dental chair of their office and they are working on their mouth. You just never know who you are going to meet and who these other people in BNI will have in their office or whose home they are in or who is in their dental chair.

You can get some great referrals if you just surround yourself with quality business professionals. You can get referrals that, I have to be honest, are bigger than I ever imagined when I first started BNI. But today I believe the sky is the limit. Referrals can be huge from the contacts that you make. We truly do have local businesses that are operating on a global network. The more we can work together globally using technologies in the future and conferences and visitations to chapters around the world presently, the stronger we are going to be as an organization.

Can I just ask one quick question? I think we’re almost out of time but maybe you can give suggestions of local businesses that could create global networking referrals if you have any ideas from being at the conference. What do you think? Which businesses would work best that way?

I think any business that doesn’t have to operate just locally. There are some businesses. Obviously, the dentist is it going to be doing business globally. But almost any business and more and more, we see businesses that are in the service industries that could do business anywhere in the world. Those are businesses that, in fact, should be networking and finding ways to build their business worldwide.

There are a couple of ways to do that. One is they should become active in BNI Yahoo group. It is a new if they should become active in that. Ecademy.com — BNI has its own community as part of Ecademy. We have our own community in LinkedIn. Sometime in the not too distant future, we will have our own internal intranet community which I’m really not prepared to talk a lot about.

For those businesses which do business, particularly service-based businesses, you can do this — we are nowhere near each other. You are in Northern California. I’m in Southern California. Somebody could be in Malaysia working with you. You don’t have to be next-door to get business. I think our relationship is the perfect example of how we can do business across the country, across the state or, I believe, across the world. The key is finding each other.

I’m in a position where it’s easy for me to find people because I’m traveling. But members, you have to put yourself in that position. The way to put yourself in that position is to participate in the Yahoo groups, the Ecademy groups, and the LinkedIn and to go visit.

When you are traveling, spent time and visit local BNI chapters. They will roll out the red carpet for you. Go to conferences and look for when the United States conference is, when the European conference is, when the Canadian conference, the Australian conference. Look for when these conferences are and go and meet members of other countries. It’s the best way to build your business internationally.

That’s a great idea. I think we need to hear more about women’s conferences are within the chapter. It could have little announcements and suggests leadership teams or whatever to visit their conferences.

Yes, if members just go to BNI.com once a month, and look at all the news briefs that are up there, they will have a sense of all the conferences that are coming up. Or they can do an RSS feed. You may need to talk to your technical person in the chapter. That will have a feed right to your chapter website. You could just pull up your chapter website to find out what is new in BNI and what conferences are going on. We usually post many of the conferences that are going on around the [email protected]

Okay great. Do you have anything that you would like to tell the listeners before we saw this podcast up?

I think BNI is headed in the direction of local business global network. As time goes on, you’re going to hear us talking more and more about that because we need to if we are going to making more effective use of the global network that BNI is creating for local businesses.

Thank you, Dr. Misner. That was very interesting. I think that’s it for this week. This podcast is the brought to you by networkingnow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thanks so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.


  1. says

    Hi Dr. Misner,

    Marcus’ experience is truly electrifying. Hope he can close the deal. Perhaps it will be a BNI record for the most revenue from a single referral.

    Our chapter is enjoying some pretty amazing success stories as well with it’s maturity.

    Like Dr. Faye, one of my businesses is local service. One is not, however, and I received a call from a new Internet customer from New Zealand this afternoon.

    The world is becoming the market place.

    Thanks for the inspiration,

    Tom Doiron

  2. Mona Salisbury says

    Good message. I’m going to check. My business is expanding to the UK and Australia and I’d like to meet people from those locations.

    Also, I’ve enjoyed the last 2 podcasts and used them in my Ed. Coordinator messages.

  3. says

    The process of generating business is exactly like the dentist and her patient. I am sure lot must have transpiered among them about the their business and other related matters. But the point is focus with which one need to learn and absorb the points for fellow members.

    This one of the classic examples which need to be emphasized in all manner amangst BNi member so tomorrow more such incidences will take place.

    Narendra Damani
    BNI Awesome Bangalore India

  4. says

    AS a member of BNI in Shellharbour Australia I can say nothing but praise for BNI,many members have adopted my product with gratitude for it is saving them money and helping OUR environment,With this I personally have used as many members in their business as possable with in our chapter.www.fitchcatalyst.com.au

  5. says

    You must’ve gotten a lot of readers/listeners to the podcast because I have had a lot of LinkedIn invitations this week. Thanks for steering us into these technologies.

Solutions-focused comments are welcome