The BNI Business Index is one of BNI’s marketing tools.
Almost 1,500 business people participated in the survey – people from every populated continent around the world – and the results indicate that, overall, the global economic state is improving. 69.4% of the respondents for the first quarter of 2011 feel that business is growing or growing substantially (compared to this time last year). This number has increased since the prior BNI Business Index Survey which was conducted during the last quarter of 2010 – respondents to this same question at that time weighed in at 67.8%.
Disclaimer: the views expressed here are those of the people surveyed, not of BNI itself. Some topics in the BNI Business Index could be considered political, but it’s still a good idea to avoid politics in BNI meetings.
Hop on over to BNIBusinessIndex.com and take a look at the rest of the results.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 205 –
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 am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, CA. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you and where are you today?
Hello Priscilla. I am doing great and I am at the US National Conference this week in Rhode Island. We are expecting hundreds and hundreds of members and directors at our annual national conference which is moved around the United States. It’s later this week and I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of members. If I have a chance to speak in your region, please come on up and introduce yourself to me. Let me know you have been listening to me on my podcast.
That sounds great. What are you planning to share with us?
Today I want to talk about the BNIBusinessIndex.com website. This is a website that I produced earlier this year as a way of getting more media coverage for BNI. Last week I talked about BNI’s multi touch marketing program and all of the different ways that we get the BNI brand out into the public, and this really is one of them.
The idea is not to give this data to BNI members, although that’s great and we are happy to do that. The idea really is to get the media to say, hey, this looks interesting, to comment on it and to build the BNI brand. So this is really more for the media than it is for members, but it’s a great tool for members to kind of get a gauge on what is going on in the economy as well. What the BNI Business Index has basically done is create a survey that we put up at BNIBusinessIndex.com. People take the survey and it’s a very simple survey, usually anywhere from three to five questions about the status of the economy and maybe a couple of other things. We use that to then publish and then promote to the media to get radio and TV types of interviews.
What I thought I would do today is share the results of the first quarter of 2011 BNI Business Index Survey. We had over 1500 people participate in the survey from every populated continent in the world. They indicated that overall, the global economic state is improving. 69.4% of the respondents for the first quarter of 2011 feel that business is growing or growing substantially compared to this time last year.
Now, this number has increased since the prior BNI business index survey for the last quarter of 2010, which is the first survey we did. Their respondents to the same same question said that business was growing at about 67%, almost 68 %. So a slight increase in how business is doing.
Half of all the business people in the survey for the first quarter of 2011, 50.2%, said they would or possibly would be hiring people over the next few months. That was an important question for us to ask because we didn’t ask that in the first survey and almost every person that I interviewed with in the media said, “Well, did they talk about hiring?” Hiring is a big deal with the media. We didn’t put that in the first one, we put it in the second one. An interesting result is half said they were hiring or possibly would be hiring. That’s good. The retail sector, in particular, had a very strong response to that question, 61/2% said they would be hiring or possibly hiring people over the next few months.
What was most interesting, and I invite BNI members to go to the website and take a look at some of the responses. Really, the most interesting part were the comments that were offered by business people and entrepreneurs around the world. You have to remember these aren’t just BNI members taking the survey. It can be anyone in the public. Although there are probably a lot of BNI members, it’s not just BNI members.
There were six different categories in the responses that I got back. We put these responses up because they were the responses that tended to come up. So I need to give a disclaimer here. The views that are expressed on that website are based on the survey results. The data, the information, the opinions, the comments there are not necessarily the views of BNI, the franchisees, the average member, or me. So one of the things that I talk about are don’t talk about politics or religion in BNI, and I recommend that you continue with that. Don’t use the BNI index as a way of starting a political position. I certainly believe that strongly because it kind of sidetracks people from the primary focus.
I say that because one of the things that came up in the survey was government regulations, and there were some very strong opinions about government regulations and challenges. We put that up there because it was a result, but it’s not the kind of thing that I generally- it’s something that I never really talk about in BNI because it distracts people from our focus. But it was one of the things that came up. So it is there, but be aware that it’s not the kind of thing that we generally publish.
Let me give you the others, though. They’re a little- they are topics that really can be discussed in any BNI environment. Things like changing markets, the credit crunch, the yo-yo effect of the economy, natural disasters and creative responses. All of those were the kinds of things that people talked about and commented on in the survey.
One of the questions we had was: Tell us about how the economy has affected you, whether it is getting better or not, and give us some stories. After government regulations, they talked about changing target markets and the need for people to change one’s focus in the marketplace. It was a theme that popped up over and over again. One respondent said, “I have changed my target market to one that has both a greater need and a willingness to do something different.” I thought that was an interesting and valuable comment, particularly in a group like BNI. So changing target markets.
Credit crunch came up by a lot of people. Remember, these surveys are taken by more than just BNI members. One was a complaint that really resonated with me. It said that they have great credit but AMEX dropped their credit limit by more than 50% in the last two years and it’s hard to run a business without a proper credit line. So connect with your BNI banker if you want to improve that.
The yo-yo effect came up. I called it the yo-yo effect, but a lot of entrepreneurs spoke of how the marketplace is kind of up and down and up and down. Stability isn’t quite there yet.
Natural disasters. It surprised me how much that came up in the survey. There have been a long series of natural disasters, and that was mentioned by a lot of entrepreneurs. In North America, one person said, “My area has been getting pounded with snow, more snow, sleet, freezing rain.” It was hard to run a business with that.
In New Zealand, one person said, “Business here has been incredibly tough, particularly since the earthquake.” Of course, Japan and what they have been going though. Even Australia. Australia talked about the flooding in Queensland and challenges created because of the weather in the country. That was something that came up in the BNI Business Index survey.
The last thing is probably the thing that I would like members to look at the most. If you have a chance, go to BNIBusinessIndex.com and take a look at the last one, creative responses. Many people who took the survey said you just have to get creative in times like this. It’s been my argument. I refuse to participate in the recession. I acknowledge there is a recession. I have never said there is no recession, but I think people can be successful during a recession. People who responded under creative responses really did that.
One person talked about the fact that despite the obvious anxiety that exists, he knows a lot of entrepreneurs that are hopeful. People said things like, “There is much more optimism out there. It is noticeable with clients and prospects. Since I spent much more time networking, I saw the results more than double.”
One person said, “I am on track to match last year’s revenue in just the first quarter of last year.” Then they went on to talk about some of the ways there were creative in accomplishing this.
So I invite people to go to BNIBusinessIndex.com, take a look at the results. Remember please that the survey results are not my opinion or the opinion of BNI or the the opinion of the franchisees. They are the opinions of the people who took this survey and the reason we are doing this survey is a way of getting media coverage for this organization. Go into it knowing that and use the information that’s there to help you in your business. Know that this is important, in our multi touch marketing approach, to building the BNI brand with the media. Does that make sense, Priscilla?
Yeah, that’s great. I think it is a lot of good information.
Well, thank you and if you have a chance to take the survey, if you are listening to this podcast, feel free to leave a message here on the BNIpodcast.com website and let me know what question you think might be valuable in the future that the media be interested in. What would the media like to know about how business is? Feel free to post a suggestion here on BNI podcast as to what would make a good question, keeping in mind that this is really aimed at the press. Thanks Priscilla.
Okay. Thank you, Dr. Misner. I think that’s it for this week. 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. Thank you 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.