BNI – Why I joined
Collaboration in business has always been critical, but in this era of “big data”, loyalty/rewards programs and recessionary times, it is going to become even more critical. Businesses, particularly in the B2B space, need to find ways to access new relationships and networks.
It was with this in mind that I accepted an invitation to a BNI meeting some months back. Brandesign was already part of a business network and we had seen the benefits, in the form of business and relationship that are around the table and extended beyond this.
Initially my thoughts were that the BNI meeting felt a little too regimented and, as a SAFFER who enjoys socialising, I felt that it was just too “business”. I decided not to join the chapter (the name they give their meetings) I had been invited too, as there was already someone who was closely aligned to one of our service offerings.
I was then invited to BNI Woodstock, a pre-core meeting (these are the start-ups to becoming chapters) and while this probably felt a little more regimented, there were some definite connections. In my analysis of this at the time I put it down to simple business connection practice and little else. It was though sufficient enough for me to sign-up, after I had visited the meeting for three weeks. I figured the worst that could happen is that I decide this is not for me and I forfeit my fee.
The following few weeks felt like a whirlwind, I attended training (free to members) and also an open-networking session. I realised that what I had seen at the pre-core meeting, that attracted me, was not only a focus on business but more importantly an “other centeredness” mentality. These people genuinely look to grow my business and me. Knowledge was and is shared freely and business referrals equally are shared just as freely. The BNI term for this is “Givers Gain” and so far I must say that I have seen this at work. It is pretty infectious and has caused me to listen to conversations in a different manner.
The BNI Woodstock meeting recently launched and is now a fully-fledged chapter, sporting the name BNI Exchange, and not only am I a member, but I find myself on the membership committee. So, let me at this point extend an invitation to you to come and visit our chapter – BNI Exchange. We meet at the Rococoa restaurant, in the Palms Centre in Woodstock, Cape Town. We meet there from 7:15 am every Tuesday morning. If you would like to visit then please connect with us via our Facebook page or via the BNI south peninsula website.
So this is a rather long post, but for me the journey into BNI is something that I feel is worth sharing and I hope moves from strength to strength. I will keep you updated!