Join Heather this week as she shares about her experience learning about and getting started joining her local Business Network International Group. BNI’s primary purpose is to connect entrepreneurs and it is unique in that there is only one “lane” for each type of business in the group. It’s next level word of mouth building and because it’s a weekly meeting that allows the members to get to know each other at a deeper level. BNI’s philosophy is that “Givers Gain.” Personal Development is integral to these BNI groups. Heather’s unique experience will shed light on whether or not BNI might be what you are looking for to scale and grow your business.
・BNI is a value over volume proposition
・BNI helps you develop consistency in your business
・ How to find the BNI “family” that is right for you
・ What the investment looks like
Connect with Heather:
You can text (912) 405-8912 any of these keywords to learn more:
ARTIST (to learn more about what I do selling the makeup)
PODCAST (to get a direct link to all the things)
COLORMATCH (to get a free custom color match for the Seint Makeup)
VIP (to get a link to my VIP makeup channel over on Telegram)
35 | My Networking Secret Weapon – Referral Marketing: Five Ways BNI Can Help You Scale Your Business
Hi, friends. And welcome back to the scale without social podcast. So, what if I told you that there is a way that you can scale and build your business? That’s been proven to work for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of others. For over 30 years.
Heather: But it might not even be something you’ve heard of before. So I wanna share with you my new secret weapon. <laugh>. For building my business that I had no idea even existed. Just a month ago or so, and that is. Called B N I or business network international. And I love the way that the website Bizfluent.com describes BNI and the primary purpose.
Is to “connect entrepreneurs and other professionals with each other in a structured development focused setting”. And to me, that sums up what this really, really cool program. Founded over 30 years ago by Dr. Ivan Meisner. And how it’s helping entrepreneurs and small business owners. Just like me and probably just like you.
Grow their business exponentially by focusing on some time tested principles. That work even outside of social media. So let’s get into today’s episode.
Okay. So I’m super curious if you have ever heard of BNI and there’s a good chance that maybe you have, or again, if you’re like me, you’re like, what the heck is this? <laugh>. And I wanna tell you’re a really funny story about how I found BNI. And again, I cannot wait to share how this has already impacted my business and I have no doubt is going to continue to transform.
And help me scale and grow my business in the years to come. So BNI it’s, again, it’s business network international founded by Dr. Ivan Meisner. Back in 1991 over in Southern California, where he, and a group of his entrepreneurial or sales based friends decided to. Get together each week and network.
And pass along referrals to each other. And it just absolutely exploded because people were so. Interested in the idea of being able to pass business back and forth with like-minded business owners that they. Got to know and could trust and build connections with by meeting each and every week. And so the way I found it was the way that so many others.
Find BNI. And that is one of my awesome customers and friends that I serve with at church. Her name’s Tiffanie. And she just invited me one day and she said, Hey, I’m a part of this group called BNI. And I feel like you might enjoy just coming in, meeting some of the, the group. That’s there. So we have a visitors week this week. And if you wanna meet up it’s Thursday morning at 8:00 AM at this church, about 30 minutes from from my house. And so the first time she invited me, I wasn’t able to go. I thought I was gonna be able to make it work and it just didn’t happen. So she. Was persistent and she invited me again.
And finally, I was like, okay, sure. And I actually even had in mind, I was like, well, I’ll just go scope it out and see if it’s effective. And maybe I’ll do a podcast episode on it. And even she told me, she was like, I, I don’t really know that this is gonna be something that you would be interested in because it is an investment.
Both in terms of time and also financially. But, you know, I think you’d enjoy checking it out. So give it a shot. So I can remember talking to my husband about it. And my husband is also a small business owner. He has a pond management business here in uh, Savannah Richmond hill area. And when I told him about it, he was like, what the heck? He’s like, this sounds.
Like some kind of cult <laugh>. And I was like, well, I don’t think it would be that for, you know, my sweet friend, Tiffany is amazing. And he, and he was laughing. He was like, that sounds like something that is for people who aren’t bold enough to go out and find the business themselves. And I thought, well, I don’t know. We’ll see you know, can’t hurt to just go and try it out. So I went to this visitor’s meeting and first of all,
I was blown away by the caliber of entrepreneurs that were at. My group where we met, there were probably, gosh, maybe 15 to 20 different people there representing all different types of business models. And the cool thing about BNI is there’s one person for each. Lane as they call it of business. So there’s one person who.
Sells insurance, one person. Who’s a real estate agent. One person who does health and wellness, one person who. Is an aesthetician or hairstylist. And the idea with that is you get together each and every week. At one set time and place with a structured environment. That allows the members of the group to get to know each other on a deeper level. And that builds connection and it builds trust.
To where they refer business back and forth to each other, either personally or even better. Through the people that they interact with with their business. Day in and day out. So long story short, I went to that one meeting and absolutely fell in love with everything about it. I loved the fact that I was seeing and hearing the stories of entrepreneurs.
At like one lady, ADA is her name. She’s an incredible woman who is from Peru. And she, when she first moved to this country, she didn’t even speak English, but yet here. I am watching her stand up in front of this group, beautifully presenting this incredible business model that was based on serving.
Her customers through her cleaning company, that was a pet friendly cleaning company. And she’s since joining BNI scaled her business. To where she is just thriving and not only is her business thriving, but you can just tell that she is thriving as a person and anything that. Helps to create both momentum in your business and in your personal life. I’m all about learning more about.
So I was intrigued right from the beginning.
And so basically at its core B and I is a method for gaining leads for your business from something called referral marketing, which is essentially taking that. Concept that we love so much word of mouth and taking it to the next level by allowing other like-minded businesses to get to know what you offer. And be able to recommend your business via word of mouth, to the other people in the customers and the friends and family that they interact with on a daily basis basis. So it helps you to.
Step up the volume of people that you interact with. Almost immediately from right when you join. So also, if you were in network marketing, it is. A perfect opportunity for you to build your network, especially if you don’t have a really strong one right away. Maybe you have been a stay-at-home mom and.
You really haven’t, you know, been back to church through. This crazy pandemic season, or, you know, maybe you’ve been <laugh> at home with little kids and you just don’t have that big circle. Of influence, but yet you don’t want to go online and be this online I influencer. Right? Well, this is a really great opportunity for you to connect with and get to know other people.
And I’m gonna share today. Five reasons why? I think BNI is a home run, especially if you’re looking to build your businesses in ways. Outside of social media. So let’s start with the first reason which is based in the philosophy. That makes BNI, what it is, and that is “Givers Gain.”
so again, this concept is, first of all, it’s a beautiful concept that you should just apply to your entire life. But basically it says that if you give to others, whether that’s through your knowledge, through the business that you offer. You gain so much more than just the financial.
Impact you gain. And reap the rewards of being able to serve others through what you have to offer. So the concept of BNI is that you give. More referrals than you gain. So if the entire concept is based in referral marketing, the goal with that is for you to actually pass along more leads or more referrals.
To those in your chapter. And in return, they do the same, which benefits your business. And again, this builds off the concept. Of connection, which is what leads to trust. And that is done most often. One-on-one. In value over volume. And when you’re trying to build your business on social media, it’s kind of flipped. You’re offering volume and you have a lot of people.
That may or may not be interested. It’s really difficult to build connections with them, even if they do buy your product, or if you’re a network marketing, they do, you know, join your business as a distributor. It can be really difficult to know these people because you essentially just know each other.
They face value. From online. Whereas at BNI, you get to know and build trust with the others that are in this chapter. Which allows them to fully be able to recommend you in whatever it is that you offer. To their friends, their family, their customers. And so on and so forth. So it is very much based in that framework of connection, building into trust.
So the second reason is all about personal development. So I love anything that is going to. Make you not only stronger in business, but make you stronger. As a person and personal development is integral. To the BNI philosophy in that each week, you actually. Are held accountable to having one, what they call C EUS, which is continuing.
Education units, where you can listen to podcasts or. Trainings from business leaders all across the world. Who have leveraged something like BNI to build the referral aspects of their business. So you’re learning from the stories of others. You’re watching the transformations each week with the. Again, not only the business growing from the people in your chapter, but you’re seeing them grow as a person because you stand up.
You report what your week looks like you report what it is that you’re looking for from a referral each and every week, which is really cool. It makes you, if you’re maybe kind of an introvert or not great at public speaking, it will make you more confident because you’re gonna be sharing boldly about your business each week with this group of people who are doing the same thing as you. So it, it doesn’t feel so weird to stand up and say,
Something like I help the everyday woman. Transform her makeup routine by simplifying it into one custom. Compact saving her time, saving her money.
So if you know of anybody who wants to lose five pounds and five years off their face and five minutes, Just have them check out my free color match at HeatherKBurge.com. So something like that, me standing up each and every week and reminding even the painter <laugh> who might go tell his wife, like, Hey, I met this, this gal at my BNI meeting.
And she’s got this awesome makeup line. I saw this, this. Compact that she was holding. And I feel like it might be something that you might like, right. Or the real estate agent who wants to. Share something like this or teach her agents how to level up their makeup routine. Something like that could absolutely transform.
The business by getting. You out there in front of so many people. But again, it makes you more confident and more bold in sharing what it is that you do, not just with your BNI group, but with the people that you interact with when they ask you that kind of question that can, you know, scare us entrepreneurs, especially if you’re a network marketing, when someone’s says, what do you do?
What’s your job? So I. Love the fact that BNI is based in personal development and it can, and will make you more confident in sharing boldly about your business. The number three reason that I feel like BNI is a home run is. It builds your consistency muscle. So consistency is so important, whether or not you’re building your business on social media or off of social media.
You essentially have to treat your business like a business and you have to show up. In your business, whatever that looks like for you. And. I use the term consistency. Muscle <laugh> because it is a muscle, it’s a habit. It’s something that you have to kind of get into as a rhythm. And so by showing up every single week for an hour and a half and taking your business seriously.
In reporting on your business numbers, that is not only. Having this amazing external accountability. Because you’re reporting like, Hey, what do you, what do you need in your business? What do you have going on in your business? Each week, but it builds up that muscle for you. Consistently showing up in your business in a way that will.
Impact your business. So. It builds your consistency muscle. And similarly, my reason number four is it helps take what might to you feel like a hobby? And it gives validity. Into making it as a business. So for me, I mean, this has long been a business that I believe in, but funny story, I have not had business cards for the entire five and a half years of having. My Seint makeup business.
In fact, I’ve always told my team that you don’t need business cards. You can just connect with the people that you meet, either via social media or exchange, contact information with them in that way. But if you are going to build your business, Primarily on word of mouth and connection or referral marketing. And certainly if you’re gonna use something like BNI,
It might be time to get some business cards for yourself. And so that’s what I did, actually. It was, it was so funny that I was the night before I was like, wait a minute. I think I might need to bring business cards the time that I went to visit this chapter. And so I was on Canva whipping, something up really quickly and printing it off on my home.
Computer onto card stock. Cutting it up needless to say they weren’t maybe the most professionally done. And since then I, I have actually had some more professionally printed. But I loved that. It. Now has equipped me for a way to. Just take my business to the next level. By again, something as simple as having a business card.
Which PS, I might do an entire episode on that, but definitely if you do that, check out Canva’s business card, like little templates and it’s super cool. You can actually add in a QR code. So I have a QR code on my business cards that goes straight to my website, HeatherKBurge.com and right underneath it, it says free color match, where that helps anyone who has my car or anyone that’s passed along my card.
Know what that next action is. If they wanna try the makeup that I sell. So business cards can be super powerful, especially if you’re building off of line. Also another way that this allows you to kind of take your business to the next level is because anytime you make an investment in your business, that is significant and BNI is, it’s not cheap. It’s like.
Between the yearly fee, which is like seven or 800. And then between the registration fee, it winds up being a little over a thousand dollars to invest in. BNI for your business. And that’s a yearly annual investment. Which is naturally gonna make you step up your game and take your business pretty seriously, right?
So on that note, I have shared about this before. That I have a rule that you should not spend. More than 20% of what you’re making. So what that means. If you have a network marketing business, you want to make sure that you have made at least $5,000 in your business. And that’s, if this is your only expense that you are using for your business right now. So you definitely don’t wanna do this. Unless you are bringing in the money to justify the investment. But if you need a business write off, like I do. One that not only will be a good.
Justifiable business expense, but one that will actually generate revenue for your business. Then this, my friends could be the perfect fit for you. And then lastly, number five. Is it allows you to focus on goal setting and y’all know I’m super passionate about goal setting. This podcast was actually founded as the “Dream With Me” podcast. So if you need some help breaking down your goals, you can go listen to the first episodes. I think it’s one through five or two through six, one of the two, where you can learn how to break down your big goals into bitesize pieces.
And what’s really cool about BNI is the investment. Itself is a goal. So what I mean by that is maybe you aren’t quite making the money in your business right now to justify that investment. You can say, once I make $5,000, once I bring home $5,000 in my pocket, then I will. Invest in something like BNI to help scale and take my business to the next level. And once you do that, then your first goal should be to make back that investment ASAP. So that’s where I am right now as I’m laser focused on that goal of making back my investment. That I have put into BNI as quickly as possible so that I can say this is a justifiable business investment, not just a business expenses, right.
So if you’re not quite ready to make that investment, or you just wanna check it out, you can visit any chapters. Meetings and you can find a list of those at BNI.com. And you can visit them. And if you make a connection or if you know someone who uses and leverages BNI to build their business, then you can sub in for them, meaning if they aren’t able to be in a meeting. So for example, this week I’m gonna be going to our company’s advisory committee leadership retreat.
And so I have. A dear friend, who’s considering joining. She’s gonna sub in for me this week, just to see what it’s like, just to make sure she wants to come one more time to see if it benefits her business before she takes that. Investment in her business. So subbing is a great way for you to kind of get your feet wet in BNI. Make sure that the group that you’re with is the right fit.
Because every group is different. There are, I think for example, 13 in my area alone, and this is not a huge area around Savannah. So there are likely many different groups and you wanna find the right fit. I knew the minute that I met the, the people in mind that it was just gonna be a great fit as I heard their stories and, and learned about their businesses.
And so I dove right into the first one that I did, but I do encourage you to check around. And find the family that’s right for you. All right guys. So those are my five ways that I believe that B and I can build your business, but I’m curious. Have you ever been to BNI? My friend, Sophie that’s subbing him for me. She says that one of her friends she’s with the company Aban.
And she says that one of her friends in the business absolutely crushes it with BNI. And it’s something that she has done really well with for a long time. And in fact there’s a great, I can share in the show notes. There is a great interview. With Eric Worre, who, if you’re in network marketing, he’s kind of a legend.
He’s an amazing coach. And he wrote the book GoPro. It’s a fantastic book, but he has a YouTube interview with Dr. Ivan Meisner, the founder of BNI. And they talk about the different ways that you can leverage it to build your network marketing business. If that is you. So definitely check that out. And then if you are local to the Savannah area, hit me up. You can text me anytime at 9 1 2 4 0 5 8 9 1 2. You can kind of swipe up and see my.
Show notes for some of the different words that you can text, or you can just text hi or be an I or something like that. And come visit with me and you can check out Locally, if you’re you’re here in the Savannah area and if you’re not local, cuz I know I’ve got listeners all around the world. Good news. BNI is everywhere. So.
You can you know, definitely go check out bni.com. And you know, find a local chapter there. And if you want to learn more about my business, you can just go to Heather K burge.com. So thank you guys so much for listening today and i hope that this has been helpful for you.