BNI is not a Multi-Level Marketing organization, but many people in MLMs are BNI members. Members of reputable MLMs are definitely welcome in BNI, as long as they market only the company’s products or services.
One such member recently asked “Why is it that BNI doesn’t allow people in MLM professions the opportunity to share both our products and the business opportunity?”
This guideline was created by BNI members for good reasons. As all BNI members know, there’s only one available membership spot for any given professional classification. If the MLM representative pitches the business opportunity, other members get upset because this eliminates a possible member slot.
On the other hand, if a BNI member wants to mention these opportunities in a one-to-one meeting, that’s a matter for the member’s own judgment. But all BNI members should bear in mind that networking is about farming, not hunting. Don’t push too hard.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
The title of today’s podcast comes from the late Paul Harvey’s radio broadcast. It’s “the rest of the story” about Ivan Misner and the founding of BNI.
When Ivan was six, his family moved from Pittsburgh to south-central LA. He wanted to be a lawyer, but couldn’t afford to attend a four-year private college, even with scholarships. He went first to a community college and then to a state school. He was accepted to law school, but realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer and went to graduate school in management instead. At the age of 24, he was supervising 500 people for the Census Bureau…making $16,000 a year.
This cured him of any desire to work for the government, and before long he set up his own consulting practice. Speaking and referrals were his main source of business. He created BNI in order to grow his own business. At the time, he didn’t have a clear vision of where he wanted to go professionally. Like most successful entrepreneurs, he’s bounced around a little bit.
Anyone can achieve success. But don’t just do what you think you should do. Do what you love. If you don’t do what you love, you won’t love what you do. And since you need persistence and commitment to succeed, it helps to have that passion.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
This year BNI celebrates its 25th anniversary. In 25 years, the organization has gone from a spare room in Ivan’s house to a multi-national with more than 1000 employees worldwide. Last year BNI members passed 6.2 million referrals and generated $2.6 billion in business.
BNI’s first employee and four of the original founding members are still with the organization.
BNI is now working on the single largest project in its history: BNI Connect, which not only integrates an online social network with the in-person networking, but connects chapters around the world to each other. Watch for the catchphrase “Local Business, Global Network,” which BNI has trademarked.
We believe BNI is the world’s largest business networking organization because we spend so much time on education and training. Take advantage of it.
- Check in with your chapter and see who’s been there longest. Find out about the history of your group.
- Keep an eye on SuccessNet for further developments with BNI Connect.
- Read Givers Gain if you haven’t already.
Brought to you by Ask Ivan Misner.
In This Episode, Dr. Misner Describes The Early Growth Years Of BNI from 1986-1989:
- Steady Growth Was The Key
- The Origin Of The Visitor Host Position
- During These Years, BNI Learned That It’s All About People, Not About Places or Professions
- The Givers Gain Philosophy Is Based Upon The Social Capital Theory Of The Law Of Reciprocity