More than 1000 members, representing every populated continent of the world, responded to the BNI Business Index Survey in 2013. Over 76% thought that business was better than in 2012. Only 6% felt that business was declining in 2013. For BNI members, everything is going in the right direction.
The most common reasons given for doing well were restructuring or reorganizing, niche marketing, and networking.
One of the most promising indicators was the response to the hiring survey. Just over 35% of respondents were definitely hiring.
Of the businesses that were struggling, many attributed their difficulties to government regulation (irrespective of which country they were in).
Go to BNIBusinessIndex.com to see the whole report.
There’s a lot to be learned here about why people survived the recession. What more can you do in the way of niche marketing, reorganizing, and networking?
Use the comments to tell us whether your business is better or worse than it was this time last year? Will your business be hiring in 2014?
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 349 –
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?
Hi Priscilla. I am doing great and I am in the 25th floor of the W hotel looking at the state capitol in Austin, Texas today, so that is my view as I record this podcast with you.
Great. How is Austin? Do you like living there?
I do. It is not like a lot of the rest of Texas, but it is a happening town.
Great. So tell us what you plan to share with us today. What is this BNI index?
I want to talk about the BNI Business Index results for 2013. The BNI Business Index was started a few years ago as a suggestion that someone made. We have over 160,000 members. It would be good to get sort of the pulse of the small business person, entrepreneur, salesperson, professional as to a number of topics, particularly the economy and how is business for you(them) today?
So we have been doing a very similar survey every year for the last four years or so about business. It is called the BNI Business Index. I am going to talk a little bit about the results that we got for 2013.
BNI doesn’t take a position on politics and religion. We do not take a position on- some of these things and comments that I will be sharing today, comments that were made in the survey. BNI does not take a position on some of those kinds of issues. But I want to share with you what came out in terms of the survey. When I get there, I will mention it.
So for the BNI Business Index 2013, we had over a thousand members in every populated continent in the world respond to the survey. According to the survey, almost 76% of the respondents said that business was better today than it was over the last few years, particularly than it was over 2012. That’s up over 9% from the 2011 survey.
In addition, only 6% felt that business was declining in 2013, which was far less than almost double that of the 10% in the survey from 2011.
So everything is kind of going in the right direction as far as today compared to this time last year. We have the graphs for 2013 here on the podcast that you can look at. Almost 16% of the respondents said that business is growing substantially. Over 60% said that it’s growing. Only about 18% of the respondents said that business was kind of flat.
Like I said, only 6% said that it’s declining or declining substantially. Only 2% said that business is declining substantially.
The economy has definitely picked up from where it was a few years ago. The most promising news was the hiring trend numbers. The 2013 survey found that 55.3% of the respondents said that they would be or possibly would be hiring in the next year. That is positive, compared to about 42% from 2011, which was, again, up from a year or two before that. So it has been consistently going up virtually every year since we started doing this.
One of the questions that we ask is why the improvement? What is going on with the economy? If it is worse for you, why? If it is better for you, why?
There were three common reasons cited for the growth by respondents. The three reasons were restructuring, niche marketing and networking. Those three came up as the reasons why they were doing well, business people were doing well.
Restructuring was a common theme relating to a lot of respondents. Common such as, “One of the reasons my business keeps growing is that I adapt my offerings to support the goals of my clients. So as my clients’ goals change, I have adapted my offerings to focus on those. “
Reorganizing showed up in responses like, “I have reorganized my staff and cut expenses, and it is really starting to pay off. I am more organized. My business is more organized. I am more successful.”
Things like, “My number one goal is to reduce overhead to the max as well as refocusing our services back to our core competencies and to have better communication with my clients. That has helped substantially.
Two comments that summed up many of the respondents’ beliefs were, “I have changed the way I do business,” and, “I can’t keep doing the same thing if it is not working.” One person said that you have to reinvent yourself. I thought that was good advice and an interesting comment.
Other respondents focused on a niche market. They said things like, “Last year, I became clearer about my target market, about my strategic partners, taking a hard look at my numbers and what work would be necessary in order for me to grow. Many of my competitors were bought out or closed their doors so I had less competition.”
“I focused on my core business so I could succeed.” These were people who felt that 2013 was better for them.
Networking was the third category. It continued to be a strong business builder. Of course, that is not a big shock. These are people who are in BNI. Although it is open to the public, members took part. Networking continued to be a strong business builder and it was represented by comments such as, “My business depends a lot on referrals and networking.”
“My business is flourishing today as a result of my networking efforts, both in person and online.”
One person claimed, “My business has tripled in income, due largely to an increase in networking.”
Let’s talk a little bit about people who are struggling. One thing that came up among people who were struggling were complaints about government regulation. Now, this is the part where I need the disclaimer. BNI- we don’t take positions on political issues and we don’t take positions on religion. This is the result of the survey. I am sharing the results of the survey, not giving you commentary.
The complaints about government regulation have been a constant since the BNI Business Index was released in 2010. It came up in every comment. It was not just a North American thing. It was not just a European thing. Every comment complained about government regulation- issues like health care reform in North America and, interestingly enough, in a couple of other continents that came up.
Government regulation of business, legislative incompetence – that is always one of the favorites in the surveys, legislative incompetence. It showed up in the survey for this year and previous years.
So that’s the 2013 BNI Business Index. I have a couple of questions for those of you who are listening. I would like you to post here. But before I do, here is what I would like to wrap up with. There is a lot to be learned here from the survey results. There is a lot of good information as to why they survived the recession. What did they do to survive the recession?
The three things that really stood out was the restructuring, the niche marketing and refocusing their networking efforts. So what I would suggest to you, the listeners and BNI members, is to give some thought to how you have restructured, how you have done niche marketing and what you have done with networking. If you can do more, what more would you do to continue to restructure your business, focus on your niche and manage your networking process?
All of these things are very important. For example, BNI Connect is s great way to help measure your return on investment in BNI. We have been doing every month, as you know Priscilla, Get Connected Stay Connected, podcasts and part of that is a return on invtstment.
The lesson here for all of us is how we can succeed in a recessionary economy. Also go to BNIBusinessIndex.com and see the survey results that came out and the graphs. They are the same graphs that you see here on this podcast, but there will be the report at BNIBusinessIndex.com.
So I don’t know if you have anything you will want to add, Priscilla, but let me throw out to everybody that I would love to hear your feedback on the questions that were posed and the graphs that are here. How is business for you today compared to this time last year? Is it better? Is it worse? Post a comment either way why. Why is it better? Why is it worse? Is your company hiring or planning to hire people over the next few months, assuming that you are a company that has employees? Is your company hiring or planning to hire people over the next 12 months? I would live to have you share right here on BNIpodcast.com the answers to those questions.
Anything you have, Priscilla? If not, that is my podcast for this week.
No, I think you pretty well covered it, Ivan.
This is a nice thing that BNI does to kind of measure the pulse of the business community. I plan on continuing to do it over the years. It will be interesting to have a real track record of results over many, many years. So I appreciate all the BNI members who took the very short survey. I mean, it could be done in a minute. I appreciate you doing that and please continue to do so when it is put other there for you again.
One question for you, Ivan. Where do you find that index? Where was it? Which website?
The website that I gave, www.BNIbusinessindex.com. You can actually take a look at all the surveys since we were doing them in 2010. We did 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. Four years of the surveys. Some of the surveys we did more than once in a year, but we found that once a year- we kind of settled into a survey once a year and that is how we are going to continue to do it. We have been doing it over the last four years now. BNIbusinessindex.com
Okay, great. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Priscilla.
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 for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.