This week Dr. Misner introduces the BNI Business Index, created to survey BNI members about how business is going.
- 68% of the 5,000 respondents to the first survey say that business is growing or growing substantially.
- The responses so far for the first quarter of 2011 indicate that about 50% of small businesses are hiring.
What the surveys don’t tell us is how businesses are growing and succeeding despite a down economy. Dr. Misner has some theories about what’s involved:
- Attitude: refuse to participate in the recession
- Innovation: find ways to work together with other businesses
- Alertness: look for emerging opportunities
- Creativity: find a new angle on your business.
Visit www.bnibusinessindex.com and take the current survey. Come back every quarter for new results and a new survey.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 194 –
Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the web for networking downloadables. I’m Priscilla Rice, and I’m coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkley, California, and I’m 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 today?
I am actually at BNI HQ. I have been traveling a lot and had a chance to be at home a little bit. I am working this week with Frank Durrafly and Hazel Walker on my next book on gender and networking. So we are trying to hold up there this week working on that, which I am sure the BNI members will hear a lot more about in the upcoming months.
Okay great. So what are you going to share with us?
I have a fun topic today. The topic is the end is near. No, I am not talking about the end of the world. I am talking about the recession. I had a guy suggest to me that we should use BNI and the incredible resources that we have- 135,000 members and 45 countries- from time to time to just kind of connect with the pulse of business around the world and maybe to do some simple surveys about how business is going.
So I put together a website called BNIbusinessindex.com, which we hope will be sort of the pulse of entrepreneurs around the world. We hope that the media will, over time, go to BNIbusinessindex.com to get a sense of how’s business doing? New project. If you have a chance, please, go to BNIbusinessindex.com and take a look at the findings that I am going to talk about here. But more importantly, take the current survey. It will say “current survey.” It’s a real quick survey, four or five questions is all.
According to the survey that we did in the last quarter of last year, 2010- we surveyed over 5,000 business people. I am so impressed with BNI and their friends. So many people took the survey. Over 5,000. We released it in January and based on that survey, business is, in fact, looking up. The survey was based on businesses all around the world, BNI members and friends of BNI. It included every populated continent in the world.
The survey found that almost 68% of the respondents reported that business is growing or growing substantially compared to this time a year ago. Now, preliminary results at this time in the first quarter of 2011 indicate that about 50% of businesses say they plan on hiring over the next few months. That is really important.
Both of these findings indicate that business is finally growing again. What the survey doesn’t explain is why those businesses are growing. Based on my experience in BNI, personal interviews and meeting people in BNI, I may be able to shed some light on how businesses are building their companies during these trying times, particularly in the use of networking techniques, which we clearly do in BNI.
There are several things that I want to talk about. One is it all starts with attitude. I think that is one of the things that just sort of sheds the light on why some businesses are succeeding. It starts with attitude. A product sales company in the UK was about to execute layoffs in order to make payroll. I think I may have talked about it in SuccessNet.
When this was introduced, one of the employees wrote on the white board, “ We absolutely refuse to participate in a recession.” Everyone in that branch office signed below the statement on the white board. Then they all met to strategize on how to generate more business. As a result, they ended up with their best month all year and no one was laid off from the at office. I think that is a great story. It shows how it all begins with attitude. You want to turn business around. It starts with attitude. You can’t change what your competition is going to do. You can’t change what the economy is. But you can change your response. I think it begins with that.
The second one is innovation. Innovation in adversity is a key factor. We did a podcast, you and I, Priscilla, with Allen, the commercial real estate broker in southern CA. As you may recall, he said he had his best year ever in 2010. He had been in business 26 years. He cited the fact that the had done dozens and dozens of one-to-ones during the year to find ways to work together with other businesses. He said what was really interesting was that his competition was doing these kinds of things. They weren’t doing one-to-ones at all.
He would do these one-to-ones, and when he sat down with them, he asked them how can I help you? What can I do to help you in some way to be successful in y our business and in your networking efforts? At the same time, be built his business in the process. Although, this is counter-intuitive for most real estate agents, it worked for him. For him, innovation was doing lots of one-to-ones in an industry that doesn’t generally talk to other professions other than those who are in their contact sphere or power team.
Third is look for emerging opportunities. I met a residential real estate agent on the east coast of the US who told me he had his best year last year and that he went to investors that he went to investors that he worked with and told them that real estate was on sale. He said don’t be one of those people who comes in after a few years and says they were crazy not to look at those opportunities and should have bought property in 2010 when it was really cheap. He said that he sold more property to investors than he ever has.
The fourth one is to be creative with your offers. I met a business coach in the Midwest of the US who created a guarantee for his coaching. He told his prospective clients, “If you follow my weekly coaching program and you don’t raise your income to at least six figures, I will continue to coach you for free until you do.” He said it has dramatically increased his sales and he hasn’t had to provide anyone with free coaching yet.
Four things that I think are reasons why people are starting to see a turnaround in their businesses: attitude, innovation, looking for new emerging opportunities and being creative. The BNI Business Index survey, by the way, looked at retail, service and manufacturing businesses and all three had similar results across the board, with service and retail being incrementally stronger than the manufacturing. Business seems to be looking up around the globe, with solid growth in all parts of the world.
Australia, New Zealand and Asia showed the strpngest results with 74% and 79% respectively stating that either business was growing or growing substantially. In either case, all around the globe, the results were that business is absolutely growing.
What I would like to ask you the listeners, BNI members, friends of BNI, take a few minutes. Go to BNIbusinessindex.com, take the current survey and mark the page. Come back every quarter. We are going to be posting for every quarter the survey results so the first of the year for the last year and the beginning of the second quarter for the first quarter, etc. We are going to do that for the year to see what kind of interest this gauges with members as well as the media to see sort of the pulse of small business and entrepreneurs all around the world.
Great. Well, do you have anything else to add, or do you think that sums it up?
I think that sums it up pretty well. Despite the lingering concerns that a lot of people have about the economy, the numbers seem to indicate that things are changing for the better. I think that BNI members more than anyone have been at the forefront of this. I have met so many members who business was doing well in this difficult economy. But it was doing well because they built their business through a solid work of mouth business networking program like BNI.
So members, friends, take a look at www.BNIbusinessindex.com, take the current survey and come back and look at it from time to time. Thanks, Priscilla.
You are so welcome. I think that is it for this week. I would just like to remind the listeners that today’s podcast was brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thanks for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope that you will join us again next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.