Guest Blog Archives - Page 2 of 9 - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Sam Schwartz

One Billion Thank You’s – by Sam Schwartz and Yarden Noy

International Networking Week®: “A Week of One Million Thank You’s” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Sam Schwartz and Yarden Noy, National Directors – BNI Israel

Sam SchwartzYarden Noy

 

International Networking Week has a special place in the BNI Israel history. When it was first announced about 13 years ago, we decided to have our annual conference at the same time. This year’s theme is “One Million Thank You’s” we would like to change it to “One Billion Thank You’s” because in the last six years BNI Israel members reported / Generated on over “1 Billion Israeli shekels” thank you for close business. This is incredible.

We would like this opportunity and thank Dr. Misner for creating this amazing organization that is Changing the Way the World Does Business® influencing the economy of the small and medium businesses in Israel.

An attitude of gratitude it’s not a simple and easy thing to have and changing a culture to adopt it is even harder, but over the last 15 years since BNI was introduced to Israel, we were able to have thousands of members and directors that adopted this attitude doing business Locally Nationally and Internationally with BNI member all over the world.

According to the Israeli government statistics, the SME in Israel is responsible for 61% of the job in the commercial sector, generating 53% of the product and services that generate 78% from all the new net employment. We are proud to help our members and the economy to be successful.

BNI is not only a “Business Generating System” it’s a family!

We have a member Tomer Mor (photo above) that his parents went to Canada in 2018 for their Anniversary. His father felt some headaches and he was planning to go to visit the doctor but on his way, he fell asleep at the steering wheel. His mother woke him up at the last minute and took over driving. They went to the emergency care in the hospital where he had a CT done. They found 2 aneurysms: one new and one old and the brain was damaged, he was transferred by ambulance to a bigger hospital in Halifax which was an hour and a half away from the first hospital, he was hospitalized and waited for surgery.

The car they rented was at the old hospital and all their belongings were at the hotel. The family in Israel was worried and tried to find a solution to help the parents.

Tomer reached out to Hazel Walker which he met in the prior year when she was a keynote speaker at BNI Israel Conference. He knew she owned the territory in Canada. Hazel connected him immediately to Mike and Megan, owners of the BNI franchise in Halifax. They immediately took over and said, “Don’t worry. We will meet your mother tomorrow. We will take the keys and we will bring the car and your belonging to the hospital”. It took them over six hours on Friday to do all of this. They asked nothing in return! Tomer met with them after his father’s operation to offer to compensate them for all that trouble and they refused. So a big, big Thank You to Mike and Megan for the help and support.

A Week of One Million Thank You’s

We would like to thank our Members and our Executive Teams who trust us and followed the BNI system in an organization that changed their life. “One Billion Thank You’s” from the bottom of a heart to Dr. Misner and the BNI Global Support Team.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week® 2020!

Sam Schwartz and Yarden Noy National Directors – BNI Israel

Jessica Gomplewicz-Milot

La Gratitude en France – by Jessica Gomplewicz-Milot

International Networking Week®: “A Week of One Million Thank You’s” stories from various international BNI leaders

by Jessica Gomplewicz-Milot, Directrice Nationale, BNI France et Belgique francophone

Saying thank you in France and receiving gratitude can be sometimes a bit tricky. Of course, you might have heard about how negative French people can be sometimes, but it is a bit more complicated than this! Let me give you a few explanations.

If you think about it, this difficulty to accept AND give gratitude starts in schools. While American teachers grade from 100% and then reduce the grade when they find mistakes in an essay or an exercise, French teachers start from 0 and add up points when you do good. It ranges from 0 to 20, the latter being perfection. You really have to prove that you are worth something, and it should suffice you. Having often 18/20 grades means you will be the top student of your class. If you get grades like 12/20 you are good enough to pass like most students, and below 10/20 means starting a schoolyear over again. 20 is not often, if ever, given. This is a good example of how French people have trouble recognizing their worth and accept and value gratitude. A lot of them are not cheer on or thanked for their hard work, and it almost feels too much when those moments of recognition arrive.

Take the French language for instance: many reactions to compliments or signs of gratitude consist in diminishing what they accomplished. “You shouldn’t have.” “It’s nothing really!” “It’s natural/normal, don’t worry about it.” “No, no; I’m nothing special really.” All these are quite common to say.

A Week of One Million Thank You’s

Thankfully we still exchange formally gratitude, especially in the workplace, through letters, thank-you notes, emails or, and that is the best possible option, gifts and food. If you want to wow a French person at the end of the year and express gratitude, chocolates, regional specialties and treats are always very happily received. It sounds a bit cliché but it’s true! Pro tip: this also works if you want to make amends for any misunderstanding or wrongs that happened along the path.

If your French coworker has trouble thanking you during the year, but later sends you a letter, an email, or even better, one of their regional products, you know they truly value you and the work you put in.

The key point that I want to make here is this: compared to American people for example, it can be trickier to make French people literally say “Thank you!” or to get the point across when you want to thank them. However, once they truly see the intentions and gratitude you give, and what they can give in returns, it creates long-lasting trust and bonds.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week® 2020!

Jessica Gomplewicz-Milot| Directrice Nationale – BNI France et Belgique francophone

Here are a few messages of gratitude from our Members towards their Chapters.

Patricia Mancini

Member of BNI Bierset Liège net

“ “…you’re the right person for us in finance, credit and investment.”

What a pleasure to hear that, and what a boost to my self-confidence thanks to my Chapter and an organization that allow me to thrive… I say thank you to them, they understood that human contact allows real exchanges and real business.”

See the article (in French) https://bnisuccessnet.fr/actualites/25-temoignage/1169-temoignage-seul-le-contact-humain-permet-de-faire-des-vrais-echanges

Florian Branche

Member of BNI Argelès Success

“ BNI accelerated my professional life, I met the right people in the right place. I have changed my professional life and made friends. I get up at 5am once a week with a smile on my face to have fun!”

See the article (in French)

https://bnisuccessnet.fr/actualites/25-temoignage/1140-temoignage-grace-a-bni-je-n-ai-jamais-prospecte

Cécile Jamelot

Member of BNI Namur Capitale,

“I accepted the role of President because it is in line with my job: giving wings to companies, but above all to the people who are part of them. It’s a way for me to highlight each Member. I try to bring out the best in them and that each one can give to receive.”`

See the article (in French)

https://bnisuccessnet.fr/actualites/18-success-stories/1137-successtory-j-ai-beaucoup-recu-de-bni-donner-est-un-juste-retour-des-choses

Tim Roberts

Thanking Those Who Provided The Opportunity – by Tim Roberts

International Networking Week®: “A Week of One Million Thank You’s” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Tim Roberts, National Director – BNI United States of America

Tim Roberts

This week, BNI celebrates International Networking Week and its Million Thank You initiative. It reminds me of how important it is to think about those who have made significant impacts on our lives that may not have been obvious at that moment in time.  Who helped you with what may have seemed like an insignificant act that, through the butterfly effect, changed the course of your business or life forever?

Thank You, Seth Tebbetts

For me, it is Seth Tebbetts, a BNI member in the BNI Power Partners chapter in Nashua NH and owner of the Tebbetts Insurance Agency.  Back in 2002, Seth was a recruiter for another insurance company. He gave me an opportunity to chase my dream of being an entrepreneur.  Seth was able to help me see the possibility of unlimited growth and face the fears of uncertainty.  If it were not for Seth I would have ended up in a management program after graduation. I know I would have hated this and who knows where my path would have led.

I was very familiar with BNI at the time because of the involvement of my parents. However, I would not have been able to become a member if I did not decide to go work with Seth.  This decision led me down an amazing path: from a struggling member getting little results, to a successful member, to finding my passion for BNI, to working BNI fulltime, to becoming an Executive Director owning multiple franchises of BNI. Now, I am the U.S. National Director.  While there are countless people who I can and should thank along this now 18-year journey, it is Seth who helped me take the very first step.  There is no way either of us knew at the time that this is where it would all lead, but that is not the point.

A Week of One Million Thank You’s

I challenge all of us to think back and thank those whom without we would not be where we are today.  I often speak to BNI members and ask them, “When was the last time they thanked the person who initially invited them to their chapter?”  We also make sure to thank the person who just gave us a referral. However, without that initial invite, EVERY referral we have or will receive from BNI would never have happened.

Thank you, Seth, for convincing me to take the leap of faith to become an entrepreneur. Thank you for helping me be able to get involved in an organization that has made such an impact on my family and me.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week® 2020!

Tim Roberts National Director – BNI United States of America

 

Vibrant Community

Creating a Vibrant Community Around Your Company by Robert Skrob

I’ve asked Robert Skrob to write another guest blog for my site.  Robert is also the author of “Retention Point, which I highly recommend.  He previously shared the topic of “The New Customers Experience” on my blog.  Today, he is sharing the topic of “Creating a Vibrant Community Around Your Company”. Read closely – Robert is truly an expert.

Creating a Vibrant Community Around Your Company

What if you had 45 percent of the available customers within your market?

The mutual fund company, The Vanguard Group, does just that. More than 45 percent of the money flowing into mutual funds today goes into a Vanguard managed fund.

You’d think they wouldn’t need to do much for their customers. Since they specialize in index traded, set-it-and-forget-it type investment vehicles, you’d think they wouldn’t need to communicate with their members. In fact, the opposite is true. The Vanguard Group has one of the most vibrant customer tribes in the investment world, and it’s a large part of their success.

The term “Boglehead” may not mean much to you, but I’ve been a Boglehead since 1991. Actually, we weren’t called Bogleheads then; instead, we were known as “Vanguard Diehards.”

While I pursued my master’s degree in accountancy from Florida State University, I wrote a paper about index fund investing. Mind you, this was during the big recession of 1990-1992. Through my research, I discovered that fewer than 30 percent of the professionally managed mutual fund companies beat the S&P 500 index in any one year. And a much smaller percentage could beat the index over a period of five or 10 years.

I figured if full-time professionals couldn’t consistently beat the S&P 500 index, why should I believe I could pick stocks any better working part-time? I became a believer in index fund investing and have stuck with it ever since. Of the index funds, The Vanguard Group is consistently the least expensive, so I’ve been squirreling away my savings there ever since.

Jack Bogle, the founder of The Vanguard Group, passed away in January 2019 at the age of 89 years old.

As the founder and while CEO of Vanguard, Jack was an avid promoter of index fund investing. He was an outspoken critic of high-fee mutual funds and “financial buccaneers offering a panoply of silly investment strategies that people may not understand.”

Jack Bogle created thousands of fans. One of them started a membership site called Bogleheads.org. It’s grown to have an annual meeting with appearances by The Vanguard Group executives, a field trip to Vanguard headquarters, and featured speakers from the world of personal finance.

You may have different opinions with regard to investing. You may be a financial advisor who offers investment vehicles that directly conflict with what’s published on Bogleheads.org. However, see Bogleheads.org is an excellent case study on how you can create a vibrant community around your company, no matter what you offer.

Within the “Start here” menu, Bogleheads.org outlines the investment philosophy first promoted by Jack Bogle during the 1980s.  This gets new members caught up on the values of the Boglehead community. In a word, it indoctrinates them. This is a critical piece that’s missing from most information marketing businesses.

Bogleheads.org gives its members valuable information (ROI), a connection to a community of like-minded people, an opportunity to contribute by posting content, recognition for being helpful to other members, and an opportunity to be part of something greater than themselves.

Even though the site has a dated design and the founder of the philosophy has passed away there are still thousands of active users every day.

Plus, for Vanguard, it insulates its members against all the conflicting investment offers within the marketplace. The community helps customers believe the single best investment option is low expense mutual funds. The same low-cost mutual funds Vanguard happens to specialize in delivering.

What if you had a community indoctrinating new customers into believing the products and services you offer are indeed the best solutions to your customers’ problems? Perhaps like Vanguard, you could own 45% or more of your market?

It all starts with your core values. BNI’s core values are Givers Gain®, Building Relationships, Lifelong Learning, Traditions + Innovation, Positive Attitude, Accountability, and Recognition. When BNI members experience the power these values have within their business life they become excited members for life.

What are the core values of your company?

For The Vanguard Group, Jack Bogle had to convince investors that index funds were the smarter way to invest. What must your customers believe and how should they behave to get the most value from what you deliver?

This may be an “advanced” marketing skill. But when it’s complete, it can give you a fast-growing world-wide business that leaves competitors scrambling for second place.

Robert Skrob is the #1 expert in membership and customer retention and the author of the book, Retention Point The Single Biggest Secret to Membership and Subscription Growth. He has helped hundreds of membership programs launch and then grow from start-ups to become some of the largest membership and subscription companies in the world.

New Customers

Are you pushing your new customers away or building trust for repeat business? by Robert Skrob

Today, I’ve asked Robert Skrob to do a guest blog for my site.  I thought it was fitting because Robert was recently a guest at my home to work on a new book that we are writing (the working title is: The Connector Effect).  Robert is also the author of “Retention Point, which I highly recommend.  I should also note that he was a great guest at our home. That statement has nothing to do with the incredible Cabernet Sauvignon that he gave us as a gift for staying with us.   Today, he is sharing the topic of “The New Customers Experience”.  Read closely – he is truly an expert.

The New Customers Experience

Imagine yourself walking into a restaurant at 3:32 p.m. It’s three hours past your regular lunchtime, and you are starving because you were in a hurry and skipped breakfast earlier, as well as your normal lunch. You have a headache from not eating. Just from feeling so hungry, you are grumpy and all-around sick. You finally get the attention of the hostess who was busy with table work as the lunch rush has long passed. The hostess walks you to a table where you are immediately greeted by your server. Your server takes one look at you and says, “You look hungry. I’m here to help you get the food you need, as quickly as possible. These are the three items that come out of the kitchen the fastest this time of day. They are 1. Salads 2. Soups and 3. Sandwiches. Would you like one of these three options, or would you like to see the entire menu?

How would you feel about that experience? A lot more confident, right? I know I’d be excited to have a server who recognized what I needed and dedicated herself to getting it to me as quickly as possible.

What if, instead, the server showed up with a tray full of desserts saying, “Darling, we’ve got a bunch of desserts left over from lunch. Here are some key lime pie, cheesecake, and a bowl of ice cream. Enjoy.”

I don’t know about you, but I’d be frustrated. Dessert may be fine later, but right now, I’m starving. I’d like to eat something before dessert. You’d likely feel the same way. You’d begin to wonder if you were in the right place or if you should find some other restaurant where the people working understand their job is to give real food (rather than desserts) to hungry people.

Too many businesses make a similar error with their customers. I’ve come across many who welcome their new customers with friendly conversations, follow-up calls from customer service reps. and/or gifts of cookies, coffee cups, and T-shirts. This is similar to delivering desserts to a hungry, grumpy, in-a-hurry guest in a restaurant.

Chances are, your customer didn’t join because he wanted to speak with someone from your support department. So when she receives the call, she’s thinking, “That’s nice, but this doesn’t solve my problem.” To you, it’s another contact to demonstrate you care. To your new customer, it feels like pestering.

If I buy your product to get a tool or to learn how to relieve some pain in my life, that’s what I’m going to be looking for. And anything I get that’s inconsistent with that solution is going to make me wonder if I can really trust you to deliver the solution you promised. So think: How can you craft the first thing your customer receives to be your version of the “Here are the three items we have that come out of the kitchen the fastest …” solution to your customer’s greatest hunger? After all, in order to make the sale, you did all you could to point out your customer’s pain points, irritate that pain, and make him so uncomfortable he couldn’t do anything but buy immediately. He’s ready, so why are you making him wait? And it’s not just friendly calls and gifts.

There’s a place for dessert at lunch. Let’s go back to our restaurant story. What if, after you enjoyed a hearty lunch, served promptly, the waitress came by with some free desserts? At that point, dessert would be awesome. Those desserts would have a tremendous impact. To have a positive impact on customer retention, you can deliver those bonus “desserts” after you’ve delivered on your core promises and have built trust with your new member. When your customer chooses to buy from you, you have a short window of time to solve the problems you promised to solve, or you will quickly lose their trust. This is your opportunity to deliver your very best solutions, quickly and concisely, so you can establish yourself as someone your customer can rely on.

Robert Skrob is the #1 expert in membership and customer retention and the author of the book, Retention Point The Single Biggest Secret to Membership and Subscription Growth. He has helped hundreds of membership programs launch and then grow from start-ups to become some of the largest membership and subscription companies in the world.

Poland

Witajcie w Warszawie!

This week most of our BNI directors from around the world are traveling to Warsaw to attend the 2019 BNI Global Convention. Welcome to Poland! To those BNI directors and members attending, I am looking forward to meeting you. Therefore, if you have never been to Warsaw, here are some tips from Ryszard Chmura, the National Director of BNI Polska that will make your trip to Poland more enjoyable!

Welcome to Warsaw! I am honored that Poland, Warsaw, will host BNI Global Convention 2019. This event will be held in Europe for the first time! A lot of BNI Members and Directors from all over the world will visit Poland this month. I can’t wait for this event and I am looking forward to meeting you. If you have never been to Poland, here are my tips, that will help you enjoy your stay here.

Polish language

I speak polish – what’s your superpower? I can’t say Polish is an easy language to learn, but knowing some basic greetings will help you with networking at the conference. But don’t worry, English is the second most common language spoken in Poland. I recommend you to try to learn a few words, which could help you break the ice with the Poles. The most popular greeting “Hello! How are you?” in Polish is “Cześć! Jak się masz?”

Must-see in Poland

Taking part in the 2019 BNI Global Convention is the best opportunity to visit Poland and sightseeing in our beautiful country. Poland’s capital, Warsaw is the heart of the country. The center of Warsaw’s public life is the Old Town. Visit the Old Town to see the most beautiful houses and palaces in the city or check out the museums. My second recommendation is Cracow. Cracow is the most often visited city by tourists in Poland. This city is not only the second-largest city in the country but also one of the oldest ones. Wawel Castle, the Old Town, and the Kazimierz district are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Polish cuisine and must-eats in Warsaw.

The market square in Warsaw offers a wide range of good restaurants with polish cuisine, where you can try polish traditional foods: pierogi, bigos or żurek. After the conference’s lectures, you can spend time at the market square, not only trying polish food but also polish traditional drinks. Have you ever tried “wiśniówka”?

Poland is known as the most hospitable country in Europe and I hope you will enjoy your stay here! Wishing everyone a fantastic 2019 BNI Global Convention.

Ryszard Chmura, National Director – BNI Poland

Tim Roberts

Are you limiting your opportunities? – by Tim Roberts

Submitted by Tim Roberts
National Director – BNI United States
Tim Roberts
When I ask professionals why they network the most common answer is to expand their opportunities. These opportunities can be in the form of contacts, referrals, business opportunities, even job opportunities. This is what networking is all about. However, one of the most common mistakes I see when networking is many limit their opportunities by limiting their networks.
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If you are truly looking to maximize your opportunities it is important that you look at the makeup of your network. Does your network lack diversity? Are you limiting your exposure and relationships and thus limiting the potential contacts, referrals, or connections you could be making? The quickest way to make your network more effective for you is to expand it. It is a numbers game. The more people you have the right reciprocal relationships with the more chances of success for you.
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 Together we can

I have been working with professionals for over 16 years in building and achieving results from their networks and while it always amazes me how many want to keep their networks small I get it. The key to success in any network is the relationships you have with those within the network. It is not about how many business cards you have been able to collect, it is about how many people you have true business relationship with. How many people can you call today and ask for a favor and not only will they answer your call, but are likely to help you?
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With importance of relationships it is natural to self-limit the size of our network out of fear of not being able to maintain or invest in too many people. With the right systems and structure, we can build relationships with more people then we initially believe is possible.
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Dr. Ivan Misner and I look forward to welcoming everyone attending the 2019 U.S. National Conference later this week in Dallas Texas! #BNIUS19
Patty Aubery

Patty Aubery Shares a Simple Marketing Solution

Fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Patty Aubery, shares the release of a simple marketing solution for small business owners in this video.

Patty Aubery is the Co-Founder of The Canfield Training Group, former President of Chicken Soup for the Soul Enterprises, and a #1 New York Times bestselling author. Patty Aubery knows what it’s like to juggle a publishing company, family, and social obligations—along with the responsibility of developing and marketing more than 250 titles and 500 million copies of the Chicken Soup books and licensed goods worldwide.

About Patty Aubery

Patty Aubery has released the most complete and simple marketing solution for small business owners that we have ever seen. Not only does this affordable marketing software provide you with all of the features you need to run your business, but it also comes prepopulated with millions of dollars worth of content that is backed by data and relevant for over 30 industries. Patty is the ultimate master of strategy and implementation and she is empowering businesses from around the world to “stay in their lane” and allow the Business In A Box to automate, replicate, and personalize complicated marketing strategies in seconds.

Take a look at a special offer that she is extending in this video – www.SYNDUIT.com/patty

Scott deMoulin

Scott deMoulin Shares How to Master Your Message

Fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Scott deMoulin, shares how effective communication helps to open conversations in this video.

Do not become a communication casualty by making these two mistakes most speakers make.

It’s not what you say it’s how you say it

More importantly than the actual message is the syntax or the order of how you share your message. Make sure you understand your audience’s needs and wants and share the problem they have (or do not know they have yet). Then, and only then, you can share any solutions you might have for their problem.

Leverage your ability to communicate

Go from Presenter to Persuader. Find opportunities to speak in front of groups instead of a series of one to ones. Do not lecture to them in your presentation. Instead, shift your focus to persuade your audience by gaining engagement with them by asking questions.

Scott deMoulin, Founder of Destiny Training Systems.

One of the top sales, communications, performance and business optimization experts in the world, Scott deMoulin has helped his clients realize over $1 Billion in new results that would have otherwise not been attained. Scott is a highly respected keynote speaker and platform speaking, trainer. He’s attained a substantial following because of his ability to uncover opportunity, create and execute strategy, engage and enroll any audience, and simplify more effective communications and messaging necessary to breakthrough the noise and clutter in your market. For more information, please view his website at https://destinytraining.com/

Scott Mills

Dr. Scott Mills Shares the Power of BNI

Fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Dr. Scott Mills, shares his story with me about joining BNI to find some friends and what surprised him later with his BNI membership. When we were in Cancun together last month, he talked to me about the Power of BNI as a business owner.

Please watch this video

Refuse to be a “cave dweller.”

Be visible. Scott joined BNI to find some friends. Some of these previous members are still his clients today. Get out there and meet people at business events. It is important to be engaged with people. Venturing out of your cave can bring invaluable gains in social capital. It’s well worth the effort, especially if the nature of your job finds you working mostly alone.

 

Making Dreams Come True – by Kollakit Thalerngnawachart

International Networking Week: “A New World of Opportunity” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Kollakit Thalerngnawachart

National Director – BNI Thailand

Kollakit Thalerngnawachart

As Thailand is one of the Asian Countries, SMEs in Thailand has always dreamed to grow their business globally, but never have a supportive platform and system to make such Dream come true.

In Thailand, relationship is the key to success in business. To build relationship, it takes a lot of time to get to know, and to make people like and  trust before doing business. With BNI platform and the business referral community, we create “A New World of Opportunity” to local SMEs (BNI Members) to connect faster with other BNI members in 74+ countries with over 240,000 businesses around the world who may want to source from Thailand products to serve their customers.  Our Members can do business across the globe with other BNI members through BNI Mobile application and can shorten the time to build relationship and start to do business faster.

One of our BNI Thailand Member who is “Local Wooden Furniture Manufacturer” and used to manufacture for other people brands at low price for many years.  After she joined BNI Chapter in Bangkok Thailand, she got support from other BNI members in her chapter to give her advices to change her business model to build her own brand-named products, so she can get away from price competition and to focus on her passion to innovate new design furniture.  Since she started to promote her business at BNI Thailand National Conference and met with BNI Member from Hong Kong who is Interior Designer and looked for sourcing new design furniture for her condominium customers.  With trust as BNI Family, she got initial orders to export to Hong Kong and that was “A New World of Opportunity” for her company.  Now she is expanding her new factory and showroom.  She also exhibited her products at BNI Global Convention 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand and got a lot of interest from BNI worldwide.  Thank you BNI Thailand Mr. Kollakit Thalerngnawachart, National Director for bring BNI into Thailand and Thank you to Dr. Ivan Misner for creating BNI into this world and give us a hope to serve more and become more.”

I am so inspired of her story and feel very happy for her success.  After her success story, we start to have more BNI Members who want to grow their business worldwide and plan to visit BNI in other countries. I am so proud of being part of BNI organization and thank you for Dr. Ivan Misner (Chief Visionary Officer and  Founder) and Mr. Graham Weihmiller (BNI Chief Executive Officer) for creating BNI for SMEs around the world and support their dream to the next level.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week 2019!

Kollakit Thalerngnawachart National Director – BNI Thailand

Graham Southwell

Changing the Way the World Does Business – by Graham Southwell

International Networking Week: “A New World of Opportunity” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Graham Southwell

National Director – BNI New Zealand

 

International Networking Week has come around again. The theme this year is “A new world of opportunity’ and as I sit here thinking about the various activities we have planned this year, I find myself reflecting upon the changes that have taken place in BNI since we first got underway in New Zealand, some 20 years ago.  To say a lot has changed since those days is an understatement!  The business landscape back then would seem very strange to today’s Millennials.  The internet was only starting to gain traction, business websites were still ‘cutting edge’ and communication tended to be by telephone, letter or fax.  The opportunities to connect and network today compared to those times is astounding. Imagine a world in which there was no smart phone, google, text messaging, What’s App, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc!  And yet, this is the world into which we launched BNI in NZ.

Since those times, not only has the world changed, but the organisation has evolved with it – truly embracing new opportunities as they presented themselves. BNI has transformed from what was essentially a family business into a national and then international organisation – and today is truly a Global Organisation.  Just this week for example, I received an email from a member in Singapore, seeking an introduction into our dairy industry. In those early days, I remember entering member application forms onto an Access database – which I duly backed up every few days, storing the discs off site.  Today of course we have a global database in BNI Connect – who would have thought that we would end up with the entire business being stored in the cloud!  Dr Ivan Misner led the change and was always quick to embrace new opportunities.  He held the vision of a single global dataset and at the same time was the first person I knew to start writing a weekly blog, to use social media for business and to start producing weekly podcasts.  For the first time members had direct access to the founder of BNI and we had a solution to the problem of the proverbial ‘leaky bucket’.  Last year, the app was added to the BNI stable – and more recently through the app, the opportunity to pass referrals to members anywhere in the world.  BNI University has added a new level of opportunity in terms of training and upskilling and on it goes.  I don’t see the pace of change slowing anytime soon!

If 20 years ago I had had a crystal ball and could have seen what was coming – I might have thought that BNI would have a very limited future.  Who would have thought that today – with so many opportunities to network and pass business online – that there would still be a call for people to come together to meet over breakfast!  In fact, BNI is growing faster now than at any time in our 34-year history, Changing the Way the World Does Business through our structured word of mouth marketing campaign, our core values to include Givers Gain and through engaging with the very communities in which we are doing business – through the Business Voices campaign.  In New Zealand this takes the form of our support for hospice and our funding of Hospice New Zealand’s Palliative Care programme.  In addition, the various chapter led fundraising activities have now raised close to NZ$2 million dollars for hospice.  BNI truly is a remarkable organisation, the opportunities going forward are exciting and it is an absolute honour to head up BNI in this part of the world.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week 2019!

Graham Southwell National Director – BNI New Zealand

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