Growing Your Business

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Treating BNI as a Business

By: BNI Staff
  • Category

    Growing Your Business

  • Author

    BNI Staff

  • Post Date

Submitted by John Kelliher of NRC East Environmental Services and Member of Wealth Builders BNI (South Burlington, Vermont).

John, a committed BNI Ambassador, has found value throughout his Membership with BNI. Not only has he been able to grow his business, but he has improved his time management skills and grown confident in his ability to speak publicly. The opportunity to work with a diverse group of business leaders has led to countless referrals that have come from unlikely, yet trusted sources.

John is currently serving as an Ambassador which has allowed him to expand his network among the numerous Chapters throughout VT.  At the Chapter level, he’s also currently involved with Membership, but he’s also been a Visitor Host, and co-coordinator for last year’s Visitor’s Day. This resulted in, roughly, 85 visitors and 9 apps!

Please read this submission from John below which touches on the importance of treating your BNI Membership as a business. The inspiration for this topic came from U.S. National Director Tim Robert's Power of One Podcast #218.

How do you view your BNI experience? Each week we meet with fellow Chapter Members, and we begin to become familiar with them. As that familiarity grows, so too can lassitude towards the policies that make BNI so successful: attendance, getting to (and staying in) the green, inviting visitors, maintaining a steady schedule of 121s, continuing to grow and develop through educational opportunities, the list goes on and on. We begin to see our weekly meetings devolve from a formal business meeting to an unstructured social experience.

Treat your BNI experience like a business. Make it your business to attend each meeting. Would you miss a business meeting with a colleague? Of course not! Make it your business to participate in the open networking portion of the meeting – get there early, deepen the trust and relationships you are growing with other Members. Cultivate! Be present! Make your 121s work by NOT just having a coffee, but really getting down to learning about what your partner’s needs are – who do they need you to introduce them to? What specific key words can you listen for when you are out in your circle of influence?

Make yourself listen to a podcast on the way to work. Make it your business to follow the formula that has proven to be successful.

Like a business, hold others in your Chapter accountable. How is your Leadership Team managing the Chapter? Are they leading you towards success? Likewise on Membership – treat potential Members like Interviewees. Would you as a business owner want to hire someone who was late for meetings, or wasn’t on top of their game? Is Membership holding your chapter accountable? It is not easy to address accountability issues with your friends and colleagues, but if you don’t, you are doing them (and yourselves) a disservice. Ask the hard questions of potential Members, don’t accept mediocrity.

Consider the time commitment that BNI exacts on you. Yes, it does require a lot of time and effort. Make that time commitment to BNI a part of your business. Include BNI in your annual business plan. Set that time aside so that you can work ON your business. This is how you will grow your business. Like anything else in life, you will get out of BNI what you put into it. Often, you will find that the rewards are far greater than the efforts you’ve invested. You do need to invest, there is no denying that BNI requires a commitment – Choose to be “all in”. It’s YOUR business.

John has worked in the environmental industry since 2000. He has a BS in Geology and an MS in Hydrology. In addition, John served in the US Peace Crops between 1991 – 1995, which helped provide professional clarity and enhanced skills that have proved valuable even today.

As a Senior Project Manager with NRC, John’s ideal referral would include a partnership with a fuel dealer or dealers to provide 24/7 emergency spill response services.  NRC is well suited to handling environmental emergencies, from oils, hazardous materials, caustics, acids, toxics, industrial cleaning - you name it, they’ve got you covered.

John would like recognize his entire Chapter (Wealth Builders BNI, and our Director Consultant Erik Kolomaznik).  They are the true heroes of his success story and provide invaluable inspiration on a weekly basis.

BNI Starts Now!

John Kelliher

Member of Wealth Builders BNI

Meets Wednesdays, 8:30 – 10:00 am Comfort Suites 1712 Shelburne Road, South Burlington

Current Roles: Ambassador, BNI VT, Membership Committee, Wealth Builders BNI

Past Roles: Visitor Host, Wealth Builders BNI