Archive for October, 2011


AWCCI research project sets to change how we do change how we do business

Whether you are a woman or a man – how the other gender does (and runs their) business affects us all.  Be it as competitors, colleagues, employers, employees, or consumers.  Each gender faces their specific challenges and opportunities in business.

Change Is In The Air

There are now more than 700,000 women-owned businesses trading in Australia – and twice as many women than men started their own business in the past year.  Also, the World Bank found that women generate a “higher return on investment”.  Yet, surveys and polls – and the policies, programs and support-structure they inspire – generally do not take gender differences and challenges (e.g. childcare and obtaining start-up funding) into account, and remain male-oriented.  That’s about to change – and it will only take 10 minutes.

Please Help –

Make This Important Survey A Success

We are pleased to be able to pass on to our female members andsubscribers this opportunity to add to the voice of women in business

Regardless of business size, or region.  From “mumpreneurs” to CEOs of multinational giants; whether rural or urban.  And you can do it completely anonymously – or register to go in the draw for one of the fabulous prizes.

Go to to make a change

(and for your chance to win).

We ask all our male members and readers to please pass on the above link to the survey to your (but especially your female) business connections – to forward on and take.

BNI Australia is a proud supporter of Australia’s first national female business-owners poll commissioned by the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI) and conducted by the independent Reibey Institute.  Polling runs until 19 December 2011.

Please take the survey here.

About AWCCI, the Survey – and BNI Australia’s Involvement:

  • It takes only 10 mins to do
  • Complete the survey anonymously – or register to win one of luxury prize worth a total of $8,000.
  • Find out more about AWCCI on their website or Facebook page.
  • The full purpose and aim of the Women in Business National Poll 2011 is explained in detail here.
  • As an Associate Sponsor, BNI Australia is one of main supporters of this groundbreaking survey.  We firmly believe in the benefits the results of the AWCCI survey can bring to our members, the economy, businesswomen, and broader community.   
  • Polling has started now and will be open until 19 December 2011.  You can vote once only to ensure accuracy and clarity of results.


Be Part of this Groundbreaking Australian Survey

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BNI: How much is enough?

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In this month’s Question Corner we are answering Martin Coyle’s questions on the average amount of –

time per week a member will need to invest in BNI, and the amount of
closed business a member can expect to receive from BNI referrals

Thank you Martin, for your questions.

“Farmers” Are On The Money

Most of you would have heard the phrase that BNI chapters encourage “Farmers” over “Hunters” to join their meetings. A Farmer in this context is someone who brings a high level of passion and a strong Givers Gain® attitude to their networking and membership. A Hunter is the polar opposite.

Farmers are actively trying to get to know everyone’s business and referral preferences well by doing dances, listen closely to each member’s weekly 60-seconds infomercials, and are active members of their relevant Power Teams (also known as Power Groups).

And relative to their category, Farmers are the most successful BNI members. In every chapter.

Time: Sow The Seeds For A Good Harvest

One essential “seed” you need for reaping great returns from your BNI membership is time. The more quality time you invest, the faster you build trust and solid relationships. Based on these, your referral numbers and their quality are likely to get better, faster. Your related additional income will grow accordingly.

The minimum time per week members should be prepared to invest into their chapter is:

  • 1.5 hours for your weekly meeting
  • 1-2 hours per week on 1-on-1 meetings (dance cards)
  • 1-2 hours per month to meet with your Power Team members
  • Additional variable time to find referrals, and to introduce members to referred prospective clients

Closed Business Growth

Your time commitment, passion, perceived Givers Gain® and clarity of your infomercial strongly influence how much closed business you can expect to receive from your fellow chapter members.

While the average BNI Member now earns approximately $40,000 p.a. through BNI referrals alone, you need to keep in mind that different businesses categories have varying complexity of products/services and related revenue expectations when making comparisons.

If you are a florist, for example, your product is easy to understand. With a low cost-per-order you are effortlessly referrable, and your services are widely and frequently required. Little trust is needed to engage a new client, and delivery is fast.

In contrast, as a financial planner, your services are more complex and more difficult to grasp. They require a far higher financial, trust and time commitment by your (potential) clients. You are much harder to refer to, but your closed business per referral and overall closed-business level are likely to be much higher.

Conclusion: Be A Committed Farmer To Reap Your Rich Rewards

This month’s Question Corner answered a query by Martin Coyle, Managing Director of Consistent Results.  Please send us your questions for next month’s Question Corner to

Categories : Question Corner
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This month we continue our popular series on the Leadership Roles within BNI with the “Voice of the Leadership Team”: the Education Co-Ordinator.

Challenges, Opportunities & Benefits

As a key member of the Leadership Team, the Education Co-Ordinator gives you a weekly insight into the direction your “leaders” are taking your chapter: the challenges they feel are right to tackle, and the opportunities they see for all members. Though this role is also meant as a resource for you: someone always ready to answer any questions you may have about your BNI experience.

Helping You Get More Out of BNI

The main purpose of the information shared in the education segment each week is to help all members reach the level of success they expect from their BNI membership. It’s all about helping you get more value out of BNI!

That’s why the Education Co-Ordinator’s presentations will always be BNI-focused. After all, you and your fellow BNI members specifically joined a BNI Chapter because you trust the proven BNI system to generate more quality referrals for your business. These weekly presentations are an important tool to help the Chapter and each member reach that goal. Because knowledge is power, and in BNI we believe that learning more is the key to earning more.

Being the Education Co-Ordinator: What To Do

The Education Co-Ordinator speaks for 3-5 minutes at the beginning of each meeting, right after the BNI Purpose & Overview section. The information presented is always geared towards helping the members enhance their networking skills and knowledge of the BNI system, in order to better give and receive referrals.

The Education Co-Ordinator –

  • Picks and researches the topic based on what the Chapter needs
  • Works with the Leadership Team on topic selection (especially with the Membership Committee and the Vice President)
  • As Education “Co-Ordinator” selects, on occasion, other members to present the education piece
  • Presents BNI-related networking education only
  • Uses a wide range of resources, including:
  1. BNI Facebook pages & blogs
  2. BNI International and BNI Learning websites
  3. BNI Books
  4. Members Area of the BNI Australia website

The better the Education Co-Ordinator is at tailoring their information to the Chapter’s needs, the more practical, applicable information the members will receive. Better-educated members utilising the BNI system will create more business for themselves, and their Chapter.

Use The Opportunity

What questions about BNI (and great ideas for your chapter) do you have?

Ask your Education Co-Ordinator to clarify anything that might be unclear to you about the BNI system. There are no silly questions – just those important, but un-asked ones! Your chapter will benefit from a Leadership Team that has the finger on its members’ collective pulse. You can help make your group more successful and engaged by contributing with your questions and suggestions. However, be sure to do this during open networking, or outside the weekly agenda – so the BNI meeting does not overrun.

And you can even present a topic!

Speak to your Education Co-Ordinator about delivering the Education Segment one week. Especially to passionately talk about a BNI subject close to your heart. You can be sure that your visibility and credibility will receive a boost that results in more referrals and business opportunities for you.

And perhaps the next time around, you might even want to put up your hand for the Education Co-Ordinator role!

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One For the Team

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Brent Edwards on How Holding Yourself Accountable Creates Winning Chapters

Think of your favourite team sport during a crucial match for a moment. What would happen if the members of that team were not committed or held accountable for the role they are there to fulfil? Their team would probably lose the game.

Now, as a supporter, would you feel disappointed? Feel that you were ripped off? Would you be angry with those people? Of course you would be.

Team Players Are Winners

Accountability is the state of being accountable, responsible, liable, or answerable. In a sports environment, the functioning of a team is reliant on everyone in the group performing their role. Consistently and diligently. If they don’t, performance of the whole team flags. The underperforming team member will eventually be dropped from the team, and replaced with someone who will show the accountability required.

Are You Looking After Your BNI Teammates?

Accountability and commitment are also critical within your BNI Chapter. What did you sign up for when you joined a BNI group? I think of my BNI group as my teammates, BNI as the field of play – and the Referral Business as the goal.

Your membership is meant to deliver cooperation from other like-minded business people (i.e. your team) to help you and your fellow players tap into new business opportunities in the structured environment of the BNI System.

Accountability = Success

Successful groups, in which all members benefit through acceptable returns on their investments, consistently have high accountability among members. They work on the BNI Givers Gain® reciprocal benefit principal: if I help you, you likely help me, and we both win as a result.

How To Make Accountability Work For You

So how do you know if you are accountable enough in your chapter, creating a winning team? Check your PALMS (Present, Absent, Late, Medical Leave, Substitute) statistics on your BNI chapter’s website (Members Section).

A good rule of thumb to determine whether, as member, you have contributed enough to the chapter and are truly a team player, is to achieve the following:

  • A least 1 referral per week,
  • 1 One2One Dance Card every 2 weeks, and
  • 1 visitor per month, as a minimum participation requirement.

Your chapter size, location, and goals may mean that you will vary from the above, but these are absolute minimum requirements in my opinion.

Together Everyone Achieves More

BNI is all about T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More – which you have probably heard of before). So why not put some accountability measures in place for your chapter, to make sure everyone in your BNI group is committedly contributing to each other’s success.

Because when your BNI team wins you, too, will make more money.

Brent is BNI Australia’s longest serving BNI Director, and Executive Director of BNI Melbourne South. You can contact him at


Achieve 3 Visitors per Week!

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This week Yorkshire ED Niri Patel shares his secret to success of getting 3 eligible visitors at every meeting. Niri writes…

“USA ED Tom Fleming has 1,657 members in 42 chapters, with an average size of 39.45! He does this by having a monthly Leadership Team meeting to ensure the flow of advice and information is not from the BNI office alone, but from the Leadership Team’s peers. He credits his success to this meeting – it gets buy in from the LTs, recognises what’s working and remedies faults quickly. It includes a regular review of goals and targets. One such target is the number of visitors that a group needs each week to sustain growth. Having looked at my own region in January this year, we found the following related to chapter traffic lights banding”:

The conclusion?

“If we want to grow like the best groups in our region, we need 3 visitors per week. You need 2 visitors per week to just stand still! It seems to be working. Each month we remind all groups of this at the LT round table in South Yorkshire. The groups that have a full turnout each month are the ones that seem to be growing. Coincidence? You decide!”

Although the meeting is still a work in progress, Niri’s top 3 tips for the Leadership Team meeting are:
• Do plenty of recognition, especially for things you have set out as initiatives.
• Get the LTs who are doing well to share their experiences. Peer to peer learning is powerful.
• Always start and finish the monthly meeting on time.

Here at National Office we endorse this approach and encourage you to do the same.

Contact Niri Patel

Whether you are just getting your networking L-plates or are a contact-building buff, there are always new resources you can tap into to make your networking successful, fun, and a rewarding time-investment.

Be Visible, Be Trusted. And Be Successful.

Connecting, building trust and relationships with other professionals, industry contacts, your BNI peers, and other referral sources (and of course existing and potential clients) is fundamental to any business’ success. The potential for additional business momentum and income from building a “tribe” and trusting network is enormous.

BNI - Navigate the Networking JungleStroll Through The Networking Jungle

To get the best enjoyment and return on investment from your time spent business networking, you may want to create a few new habits that build on your existing networking strengths.

We would like to share our proven 10 Top Tips to successful networking with you, so that every business function, networking event and BNI meeting will be valuable, enjoyable, and a great experience for you.

Armed with these tricks of the trade, you will be ready to go and breeze through the (previously perhaps a little daunting) networking jungle!

The 10 Networking Tips You Can’t Do Without

Over the coming weeks we will delve deeper into each of these recommendations, plus share more networking ideas with you – to give you even more tools to grow your networking muscle.

  1. Arrive early – and leave late. Welcome new people, be warm and open.
  2. Work the room. Spot the connectors, open groups and “lost” people.
  3. Network as a group of complementary businesses or with those who use your services. Network with a client – a walking testimonial source, and a great way to forge a closer bond with your client.
  4. Be prepared. Bring a lot of business cards, and any marketing material. Wear a name badge with your own and your company’s name.
  5. Listen. Givers do gain, while hard sellers, who talk only about themselves, are seen as rude and pushy. Give the first referral, if you can.
  6. Have an objective. Be specific about the referrals and connections you are looking for. Have a good elevator pitch ready that matches your audience and goals.
  7. Create “VCP”: be Visible, Credible, – and reap the Profitability rewards. Trust takes time to develop, so network regularly.
  8. Be Consistent. How do you present yourself, how are you perceived? Match your appearance to the occasion – and your business. Ensure your online presence is consistent with the real-life “you” and business.
  9. Say thank you. It’s not only the polite thing to do, it will also make your referring contact feel appreciated, and it encourages future referrals.
  10. Follow up after your networking event! Your reputation (and that of your referrer) and conversion-rate hinge on this perhaps most important of all networking tips.

Our networking pointers are of course not all there is to successful, profitable and fun networking. But with practice, these first steps will see you go a long way in establishing a great business network, and trust. And that visibility and credibility are essential to getting referrals, making lasting connections, and to growing your business. So, which tip will you try out on your next networking quest?