Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Visit to BNI


A little over a week ago, I visited BNI Spar Hotell in Gårda, Gothenburg. I was invited as a guest by Martin Richards. Last Thursday, I visited again.

BNI, Business Network International, is an international business referal organization. The idea is simple. A BNI group consists of a number of representatives for various companies. To avoid internal competition, only one company from each trade is allowed. The members have a breakfast meeting once a week, where they exchange business referals. The members also carry each others business cards, and look out for opportunities to help each other.

At my first visit, I was impressed by the well structured and tightly focused meeting. Of course, from my Theory Of Constraints perspective, Throughput is the game, and the group does deliver.

I won't mention any figures here, but on average the membership is well worth the cost. I do not know how the Throughput is distributed over the group members, but everyone I met was very happy with how their system works.

My second visit, last Thursday was even more fun. Martin is a business communications coach. He held a ten minute talk about his work, and I shot it on video. Comparing his performance with mine reminds me of how woefully out of practice I am speaking English. (Writing in English uses different parts of the brain.)

Business referral networks are interesting to me, and my clients, so I am going to delve deeper into how they work, their pros and cons, and how to optimize their performance.

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