Growing Your Business


Chapter Life Cycle – Where is Your Chapter?

By: BNI Staff
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    Growing Your Business

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    BNI Staff

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Submitted by Sara Minnis, BNI Fast Track, del Fuego Companies

The above graphic is one that we often share with chapters who are thinking of doing Fast Track. We do this for two reasons. One, we like the chapter to be able to self-identify where they are on the curve, because this helps them set reasonable expectations for growth during Fast Track. Second, based on where a chapter is on the curve, it helps us to know what it will take for Fast Track to be effective and the challenges that will most likely occur.

Let’s take a peek now ourselves. In the Build and Grow stage on the left, the chapter is very active, has good energy, is committed to the BNI processes, and is focused on growth and success. Most often this is a relatively new chapter in the “Honeymoon Period”, where most members are wearing rose-colored glasses (at least BNI-colored glasses!). Sometimes, this is also when a new Leadership Team takes over with goals, commitment and gusto!

Why would a chapter doing all these things right want to do Fast Track? The answer is simple – so they keep on doing all those things right! Moving from the higher energy launch period to a commitment of best practices is the key to long-term chapter health and survival. It also helps the chapter develop as a team, and really build BNI habits that are consistent and predictable.

For a new Leadership Team looking to build & grow, Fast Track can take the chapter to a whole new level. More money, more members, and more FUN!

The middle section of the curve, called BNI Disneyland (if you don’t know why, the answer is on the Visitor Experience CD set!) is where the chapter culture and experience is at an all-time high! It’s easy to invite. People are joining. Referrals are happening. And revenue is increasing! It’s the optimum BNI experience. We see this a lot in chapters their 3rd through 7th or 8th year… “Everything’s coming up roses”!

This kind of chapter benefits from Fast Track, as it helps the new members acclimate more quickly. It supports everyone having a common language about BNI as the chapter grows, and it continues to reinforce the best practices of BNI. In addition, it helps with maintaining accountability. As chapters grow in size from 25 to 35 to 40 and beyond, without a common language and a system to support accountability in the small stuff, often this buzzing, big chapter will begin to fray around the edges.

The truth is, some chapters never get to this BNI Disneyland experience. They go right from Build & Grow to BNI Lite, where attrition is high and members have stopped doing the basics. In these chapters the energy is low, and there are often issues with absences and other elements that are foundational for BNI.

This can happen when there was significant attrition after the launch period, or maybe a Leadership Team that was overwhelmed, or maybe even when key members left. When a chapter is more fragile, it doesn’t take a long time to slide down the slippery slope.

A chapter can also end up at BNI Lite after having been a strong, successful chapter for many years. They reached a plateau in referrals, stopped inviting and growing, and became very comfortable with each other, but no longer as business-focused. People come and visit, but often don’t join because the high-energy business buzz is missing.

This chapter often takes longer on Fast Track to restore. First the members have to re-engage with the BASICS, but most often they need to recommit their enthusiasm and dedication. They need to really work BNI the BNI way instead of “waiting and seeing” what will happen.

For this kind of chapter, listening to the Fast Track CDs often produces a lot of “Oooh… we’re not doing that” awareness, and a sense of possibility of what could be! Once they regain energy, inviting becomes easier and we often find that visitors want to join a chapter that is engaged in a chapter training program to increase referrals. It’s like a two-for-one offer — I get a group to build my referral business with, and I learn exactly HOW to do it!

So… after reading all the details it’s time for you to answer, where is YOUR chapter on the curve? Email us or find us on Facebook… we’d love to hear from you!