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Looking for views/ opinions on BNI

Is it worth it?

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Hi All,

I have been asked to join a BNI chapter, and wanted to see if others can share any experience they have had from getting involved and attending these meetings?

Its a big committment and a new chapter, therefore I imagine it will take some time to get going. My dilemma is that they offered me a seat as the guy who provides Probate and Estate Admin (I was referred to as the will writing guy during the meeting too). However, they have not filled the accountant seat, and when asked if I could take that seat instead, they have kept putting off to discuss it.  Intially, the accountant seat was not offered to me. I know this is the most popular seat at the BNI, which worries me a little.

My opening pitch at these events is that 'I am a chartered accountant'. However with another accountant at the table, I can see possible conflict. Further,  I would not refer the other accountant business as I would be able to do the work myself.  This may then cause problems, as I know these events are about people bring in business for each other.

Any views/ comments welcomed.



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David Ballantyne - Director at Ballantyne Accountants Ltd
By djballantyne
30th Jan 2020 20:15

I was contacted out of the blue by a financial adviser who gave me two leads, one of which I did sign up, and then invited me to a meeting at a new BNI group.

I discovered the following:
It costs around £1000 to join plus an expensive ongoing fee to stay in.
You must recruit new members to retain your own membership.
You must bring referrals for other members to retain your own membership.
If you are starting up and have no/few clients they won't be interested in you.

I concluded it was not for me. My recommendation would be to go to networking events where you can interact with people without the pressure to provide referrals and place your hard earned cash with an online advertising agency who will probably get you more leads.

Thanks (2)
Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
03rd Feb 2020 16:03

In a word 'no'... dont waste your money.

A new 'chapter' started in my local town a couple of years ago and I duly went along every week at 7.30am for 6 weeks. I was the first one to join.

The person who runs the chapter gets paid per introduction so obviously wants as many to join as poss.

I was the first 'accountant' and then another from a large firm came along .. I didnt mind this as he put himself forward as an 'auditor' but then a bookkeeper came along wanting to be called a 'general accountant' in other words pitching for the same clients as me.

So the 'auditor' and I went out for lunch separately, discussed the pros and con of joining and decided it wasnt for us.

Main reason being that you are expected to introduce clients to other members. Every week we had to say how much business we had introduced. We were particularly worried about any come back should we recommend anyone (e.g broker or solicitor etc) and it didnt work out for client.

We were not happy about this so we left.

There are many other networking groups to join.. cheaper and with more potential client reach.

djballantyne is 100% correct with his analysis... leave well alone.

>> sorry... I meant 7.30am!!

Thanks (2)
By Roland195
02nd Feb 2020 18:56

Everything that has been said so far is an accurate reflection of my experience that maybe doesn't quite do justice to the soul crushing boredom you will encounter listening to to the most inane bullshit every week. If I'm being entirely honest, you might even be able to do reasonably well out of it but you'd have to weigh it against the alternatives and your sanity. "My name is Hank from Strickland Propane and I sell propane and propane accessories", "I'm Henry and I sell a different kind of propane accessories" x every bloody week.

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Replying to Roland195:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
05th Feb 2020 11:19

Great cartoon.

Thanks (0)
By JoF
02nd Feb 2020 19:24

Totally agree with what the others have said. th eonly good thing about it is you might get a decent breakfast. But it will cost you! If you dont provide x number of leads in x weeks (think its 2 weeks) or you miss a week and dont send a standin to do your pitch and pass on your introductions then you are out.

Think the pyramid selling version of networking. With added American sickly sweet film endings thrown in.

If you got the Accountant's position then they will ask another Accountant in anyway - will use the excuse that one is Management/Tax/US Tax/Polish Tax/Scottish Tax/Financial/Banking/any made up niche or specialism that suits.

Save your cash. Spend your precious time networking where you can really add value to your own business and that of others.

Thanks (2)
By pauljohnston
04th Feb 2020 09:51

Its not supposed to work like that. I am suspicious that you are not being offered the accountantcy position. I believe you can go for three times before joing so do that and treat as a learning curve.

New BNI groups were set up around near we are based and I am advised none last 12 months.

Thanks (1)
By optimist
04th Feb 2020 10:08

I did it for 2.5 years and I have to be honest, the process is terrible and most BNI employees/heads of chapter are clueless charlatans who have never run a successful business in their lives. I dreaded getting up every Wednesday and it was a borderline cult pyramid scheme.


I developed a huge profile in my area because of it. I met nearly every business person worth meeting across my time, and I still get referrals after 8 years of being a non-member. Lots of BNI members became long term clients and friends. We all still reminisce about our time in BNI in a "back in Nam" style.

So it may be painful, but it got results.

Thanks (4)
By enanen
04th Feb 2020 10:32


Getting out of bed to have breakfast with people you do not want to. Life is too short.

Thanks (3)
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