Episode 100: “BNI and ‘The Last Millionaire’”

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Congratulations to Dr. Misner and BNI on producing 100 episodes of this podcast!

Imagine being dropped off in the middle of a foreign city with only a handful of cash and being told you have to start a successful business before you can go home. That’s the premise of the BBC series “The Last Millionaire.”

What does this have to do with BNI? A recent winner of this show, Lucy, looked up BNI while in Hong Kong and used a visit to the Hong Kong Attraction Chapter to help her make four times as much money as the other contestant.

The Hong Kong BNI members showed how BNI can really work. BNI isn’t just a great way to get business, it’s an even better way to do business.

Brought to you by Networking Now.

Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 100 –

Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the Net for networking downloadables.

I’m Priscilla Rice, and I’m coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkley, California, and I am joined on the phone today by the founder and the chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner.

Hello, Ivan. How are you?

Doing great, and I think this is a tremendous topic for the 100th episode, and I’m glad we could put it in on this episode.

Congratulations, by the way.

Thank you. One hundred episodes. That’s a lot of podcasts.

That is!

We’ve got a lot of content for BNI members, and I know many of them are appreciating it. I get emails all the time thanking me for these podcasts.

This is a great topic. It’s about a television show that played in the United Kingdom called The Last Millionaire, and it was brought to my attention by Sam Schwarz, who’s an executive director in the U.S. and co-national director in Israel, Romania, and he travels in Europe a lot, and he came and told me all about this.

Imagine being dropped off – this is how the show operates – imagine being dropped off in the middle of a metropolitan area of a foreign city with absolutely nothing but a few hundred dollars. Then you’re told you have to start a successful business that beats out your competition before you can go home. That’s the premise of the BBC television show called The Last Millionaire.

Twelve of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs competed this year on the series, and each of those contestants lead very plush lives, very successful lives. Some of them actually live in castles, and they all live in mansions, they drive luxury cars, they dine at the finest restaurants. And on the show, their lives of luxury are left behind because they compete in the world’s toughest markets to build a business from scratch. They’re stripped of all their home comforts. The live in hostels. They have to make money, more money than their rivals, and the last contestant is named The Last Millionaire, which, of course, nobody wants to be. So it’s sort of a flip side of The Apprentice where everyone wants to be The Apprentice, here, nobody wants to be The Last Millionaire. And if you keep losing, you keep living in the hostels and you don’t get to go home to your mansion.

Oh, I see. It’s not like a victory to be the last one left.

No, not at all. You don’t want to be The Last Millionaire.

So, okay, where does BNI come into this mix? Let me explain. The show is down to the last two contenders, Natalie and Lucy. And they were taken from the United Kingdom and dropped off in the middle of Hong Kong, where they were given the equivalent of a few hundred dollars and were told to create a product and sell it in five days. They could recruit student helpers from a list that they’ve both been given, but otherwise, they had to do it all on their own. Natalie started calling the student contacts for help. Lucy, however, went to an Internet café and Googled business networking.

Now, I invite BNI members to go Google and type in business networking, and you’re going to see, as one of the top two names up there, you’re going to see BNI, not under the advertised sponsors’ names, but as a search engine name, we will always be in one of those top names. And you’ll see sometimes 50 million hits, and BNI will be one of those first ones.


So take three guesses. She did this search and BNI came up as one of the top names.

So what the show didn’t highlight is that Lucy’s company had been a BNI member, and she had a great experience with the organization. I had an opportunity to speak to her just a couple of days ago, and she loved the organization. Her company is now franchised, and she’s telling the franchisees to go join BNI. So Lucy was a little bit familiar with BNI. She was able to find it on the Internet in Hong Kong; she’s from the United Kingdom. There, she’s dropped off in Hong Kong. She does a search. She calls the president of one of the BNI chapters in Hong Kong and asks if she can visit their next meeting.

Now, you cut away to the BBC narrator who says, “Lucy has discovered a business networking meeting taking place in two days’ time. It’s a high flying group of Hong Kong executives and company owners.”

Then you cut away back to Lucy, and she’s there visiting the Hong Kong Attraction Chapter of BNI, Hong Kong Attraction Chapter. I’ve met many of the people that were in that episode. I saw them, and I thought, “Oh, my goodness! I just saw them a few months ago during my visit to Hong Kong!”

Well, the president is shown on the episode in front talking about how the meeting runs and, I love it, right behind him is this great big BNI banner, right there in the background. Nice. It was really great to see that kind of exposure for the organization.

And again, cue announcer: Lucy is in her element with Hong Kong’s top entrepreneurs,” and it cuts away to scenes of Lucy networking with BNI members and getting referrals for contacts that will end up designing, producing, and selling her product. And these were great contacts. Some of them were the top manufacturers in Hong Kong. She decided to do a shirt, and the referrals that she got from that chapter led her to the largest merchandising agent in Asia, a designer, and one of the top manufacturers in Hong Kong came from BNI members at the meeting that she went to.

Now, when the contest was over just a few days later, she earned 16 times her startup capital in five days.


She earned 16 times her startup capital and made more than four times the amount of money that Natalie made.

Wow, that’s great.

Come on; admit it, Priscilla. You thinking the same thing I am? BNI rocks!


That was just so amazing to me. What a testament, first of all, to the Hong Kong members. I’ve met many of these members; absolutely class acts in business. These are the kind of members that you want to bring into a BNI chapter. They are definitely movers and shakers in the community.

And what a testament to the BNI program. I cannot think of a better episode to have on this podcast for our 100th episode than this story.

I would love to see this episode. Is it possible to view it?

I would so much love to have people see it. I did have an opportunity to see it. It is great. It is very difficult. The BBC won’t release the episode. Maybe someday they will, but at this time, at the time of this recording, they won’t release the episode, and you can’t view it at their Web site. You can get some information about the episode from their Web site, but you can’t actually view it. And that’s unfortunate, but I’ll tell you, if it’s ever available, I promise you, we will make that available to BNI members because I think it’s a real powerful story.

But you know what? I’d like us to consider the bigger picture in this great story for BNI.

Yeah, how are you going to do that?

Time when many businesses are struggling, it’s a testament to the BNI way of networking that someone can be dropped into a foreign city, with a little help from BNI members, as a past BNI member, her company was a BNI member, as a fellow BNI member can win an entrepreneurial contest to build a business in less than a week. I think it’s a great example of the brand we have built showing up in one of the number one spots on an Internet search and an even better example of the power of the BNI program based on the great contacts that Lucy received.

Today more than ever business people need BNI. When times are difficult, referrals are king. We, as business people, can not only survive, we can thrive during difficult economic times if we strive to build our business based on personal contacts, relationships, and support of our fellow members. I am proud of the BNI members in Hong Kong.

They showed how networking can truly work, and I think it’s a testament of their commitment, their skills, and to the effective application of the BNI program.

Well, that’s really a fun story. I really enjoyed it, and I’m sure the other listeners will love that.

Do you have anything else you’d like to add?

Sure. I think if I could add one thing to the actual episode, in my mind, I can visualize one more scene where it fads away to Lucy winning, not being The Last Millionaire, because of her work with BNI. When I spoke to her, she said she loves BNI, and it absolutely was instrumental in her winning that episode and was very grateful to the organization. I could see a cutaway, fade-away to Lucy sitting on her veranda overlooking her beautiful pool as she sips her morning mimosa with her butler, once again, at her beckoned call, and I can just see her smiling slyly to herself and saying, “BNI is not only a great way to get business, it’s an even better way to do business.” And I think that’s a powerful message for our members all around the world.

That’s great. Well, thank you, Ivan. That was a wonderful story and a fantastic podcast for your 100th, so congratulations to the whole organization.

Thank you very much, Priscilla, and thank you for your part in that. It’s been great working with you, and we look forward to continuing to do these podcasts with you over the years.

Oh, good. Well, thanks so much, and I just want to remind the listeners that this podcast has been 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’ll join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.


  1. says

    This is a fantastic instance of how well BNI works, even after the person is no longer a member. If Lucy hadn’t been a past member of BNI, and if BNI had not grown into the 42 countries including the UK and Hong Kong….she never would have been able to utilize a BNI chapter to help her win.
    Ivan, congratulations on your 100th podcast.

  2. says

    What a great story about the power of relationships in a community of like-minded people. What Lucy could never have accomplished on her own, was made entirely possible in just 5 days – through the power of referral marketing. Thanks for the inspiration!

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