The national directors of BNI in the UK and Ireland surveyed 4785 members and came up with some great information.
- 44% of BNI members had been in their business for more than 5 years. 70% had been in business for more than 2 years. (Most businesses fail within their first 3 years.)
- 25% of BNI members are one-person-businesses; 54% have 2-10 employees; 22% represent companies of up to 50 employees. 75% of our members have employees who work for their companies.
- 89.3% of the members felt that camaraderie was important to their participation in BNI, and 90.3% were satisfied or extremely satisfied in this area.
- Based on the survey, 15% received more than £25,000 (US $34,000) in business in the last 12 months, and of those 6% received £50,0000 or $69,000, and 80% received at least £2000 in business just from BNI.
- 86% of all BNI members were likely to renew their membership. In actual fact, about 20% don’t renew because of factors beyond their control, so the average renewal rate is about 60%.
- 70% of the people who do not renew made less than £2000 in referral business. This shouldn’t be a shock, but it’s powerful evidence that the amount of business you generate affects your attitude about BNI.
You can read more details in SuccessNet Online, including the graphs that go with the statistics.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 102 -
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, and where are you?
I’m doing great. This week I’m at the U.S. BNI Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We’re expecting a great turnout of members, and we have a fantastic turnout of directors. This week I’m at the conference in Milwaukee.
Well, that sounds good.
The topic this week is an unusual title, And the Survey Says. You made me say it twice because it was like, “What is the title?” Well, the reason for that is there is a game show that has been on for many, many years, and it plays around the world, Family Feud, and the host always says, “And the survey says.” And then you listen for what people have to say about the survey.
This is based on a survey that was done on BNI, and I thought that I would like to talk about this topic on this podcast because there’s some great content that came out of this survey. And I want to thank the national directors for the United Kingdom for having put this together as a wonderful survey. There was about 4,785 BNI members that were part of this survey in the U.K. and Ireland, and some really interesting results were discovered.
The first topic relates to the length of time members have been in business. From previous studies, which I quoted in my book, Truth or Delusion, Busting Networking Biggest Myths, we knew that BNI have a substantial number of mature and successful businesses in it. But this study further supports those findings. Based on one of the questions, they found that 44 percent of BNI members in the study had been in business for more than five years, 44 percent of BNI members had been in their business for more than five years. And a whopping combined total of 70 percent were in business for more than two years; 70 percent of BNI members, based on this study, were in for more than two years.
Most businesses fail within their first three years. That holds true worldwide, and yet, we see a large percentage of our members having been in business for more than two, and many more than five years, which is a real testament to the fact that we have matured, seasoned, successful business professionals in here. Only 15 percent of our membership has been in business for less than one year. That’s really critical. Only 15 percent of our membership, based on this study, have been in business less than one year.
So this really, truly puts to rest the myth that BNI is made up mostly of new businesses. These results dramatically show that BNI is made up of members who beat most of the national averages for length of time in business.
Second question that I wanted to talk about is the average size of the business that’s represented in BNI. This topic covered in the survey really was asking how many employees work for the company, and the results in this area closely track previous results from the St. Thomas University study that was conducted a number of years ago about BNI. The current survey showed that 25 percent of the membership was a one person operation and that 54 percent had between two and ten employees and that another 22 percent of BNI members represented companies of up to 50 employees with 6 percent being over 50 employees. So again, BNI is not made up of just “Mom and Pop” operations. 75 percent of our organization has employees who work for the company, and as much as almost 30 percent have more than 11 people and over 50 employees working for the company.
The next question that was in the survey, at least that I’m covering today – the survey was much more comprehensive, but I only have time for a handful of the questions – that was the importance of comradery. That shouldn’t be a particular surprise. Comradery, or friendship, based on the survey, 89.3 percent of the members felt that this factor was important to extremely important in their participation. I was really pleased to see that 90.3 percent were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the results in this area. Relationships are clearly an important factor in the organization, that’s not a surprise, and that part of it is absolutely working in the organization.
Now we get into probably some of the most important topics, and that’s the value of BNI members’ businesses. What’s the value of the business that’s generated in BNI. It’s probably the more important topic, and it’s very interesting. Based on the survey, 15 percent of the respondents received over 25,000 pounds sterling, remember this was done in the U.K. and Ireland, which is equal today to about $34,000 U.S., so about 15 percent made over $34,000 U.S. with 6 percent of that number receiving over 50,000 pounds sterling, or $69,000 U.S. in business for the last 12 months.
About 23 percent of the members generated between 10,000 and 25,000 pounds sterling, which is the equivalent of roughly $14,000 to $34,000 U.S. So it’s 23 percent got between roughly $14,000 and $34,000 U.S.
21 percent stated that they had received between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds sterling, or approximately $7,000 to $14,000 U.S. And another 21 percent generated over 2,000 to 5,000 pounds sterling, or roughly $3,000 to $7,000 U.S.
A total of 80 percent of all the members surveyed received more than 2,000 pounds sterling in business, or more than $3,000 U.S. in revenue. So for a few hundred dollars in membership, virtually everyone had received at least, at least $3,000 U.S. in business, and some, much, much more, some as much as $69,000 or more in business.
Now, this is really important when it’s cross tabulated against another factor that we’re going to look at in just a moment. Let’s talk about membership renewal trends. The question about renewal was one that was very interesting. Based on the survey results, 86 percent of all BNI members were likely to renew their membership; 86 percent said they were likely to renew their membership. However, what we know from previous studies conducted in the United States, as much as 20 percent of our members don’t renew membership for reasons that are beyond our control. For example, they’re promoted, they move, they’re ill, they change jobs.
So if you reduce the 86 percent of members who absolutely plan on renewing their membership by the 20 percent that don’t for reasons that are beyond their control and our control, that leaves roughly 66 percent renewal rate in an average BNI group. That’s an important number because even if 86 percent of your members are happy, which is a great number, you’re still going to have roughly 20 percent not renew because of variables beyond the control of their chapter. When you add to that, surprises, issues, or people who change their mind, it’s not uncommon to see about a 60 percent renewal rate in a chapter.
So consider this when planning chapter growth, that even if 86 percent of your members say they’re going renew, you know that at least 20 won’t because of factors that are beyond our control, illness, promotion, moving, those kinds of things.
All right. So here’s that last topic that I want to touch upon. It’s a real important one. And that’s the characteristics of people who do not renew. This is so important, and it’s the most important part of this podcast. If you take the 14 percent of the people who are not going to renew, likely not to renew, you discover that 70 percent of them made less than $3,000 in business. This means that if we can help – and this is the really important part of this podcast. If we can help struggling members in the referral process generate more referrals, it is likely that we can reduce the number of members who feel that it’s unlikely that they’re going to renew their membership.
This study that was conducted shows that people who are not planning on renewing rank towards the bottom in the amount of revenue earned during their participation. Now this shouldn’t be a shock to anybody, but it’s powerful evidence that the amount of business that people generate is going to determine whether they stay in the group. Chapters that begin working with low earning members six months before their renewal date might, in fact, make an impact relating to this segment of the membership. So if our leadership teams do nothing else with these findings when you’re listening to this podcast – talk to your chapter members and your leadership teams. If they do nothing else with these findings, focusing on the members who are not generating 2,000 in pounds sterling business or more is an important factor in increasing in the renewals of your chapter members.
For those of you listening to the podcast, this was an article that you can find in SuccessNetOnline. You can find this article in SuccessNetOnline. It was published in April on 2009, and the title is And the Survey Says, and you can see the graphs that go with the topics that I’ve been talking about here.
So that’s the content that I wanted to talk about today.
Priscilla, any thoughts on what I just described?
I think it’s very interesting, and I’m hoping you will do a podcast on how to help those members that are not being able to earn the income that they would like to.
Well, that’s a great topic, and yeah, let me put together some material, and we’ll cover that in a future podcast. Because clearly, it’s a way that dramatically can impact those individuals. When 70 percent of the people who say they’re not going to renew are making less than $3,000 in referrals in a BNI chapter, then clearly, there’s a statistical significance there. And if we could just affect those people, we’re going to have, right off the top, 10 percent of our members renewing that weren’t renewing before. I think that’s a powerful thing to know.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you, Dr. Misner. That was a very interesting topic, and I like that survey.
I would just like 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.