Finding Your Network
Visiting chapters is an important piece in finding your new referral network. Each chapter has a personality of its own, and finding where you fit best helps you to get connected.
Before You Visit
To help you get the most out of your first BNI meeting, here are some things to know before you go.
Visit a chapter prepared to talk about your business. Members are interested in getting to know how connections with visitors can be mutually beneficial. Also, don’t forget to bring your business cards.
Meetings are high energy and run according to a structured agenda. Arrive on time always so you don’t miss out on any opportunities for networking.
You're the Expert
Only one person from each profession specialty is allowed to join a chapter of BNI, eliminating the possibility of competition among our members. When you join a chapter, you are the sole representative of your field and can develop relationships with others in the chapter as their go-to person for your services.
Respect Your Craft
The businesses our members represent are their full-time occupations, ensuring they are able to position themselves as resources and experts in their field.
Find A Chapter
To learn more about BNI, visit a chapter near you.
The most successful chapters of BNI are comprised of participants who are sincerely committed to helping one another.
Attendance is critical for members to best cultivate relationships with others in their chapter. Members are allotted three absences in a six-month period and can send a substitute in their place to avoid an absence. Outside of the weekly 90-minute meetings, members are encouraged to build relationships with other members by having One-to-Ones, opportunities to get to know another member and get a deeper look at another’s business.
Members pay an annual membership fee which gives them access to 52 networking meetings a year, professional development opportunities, experiences to help them become better businesspeople, podcasts, newsletters and more. Individual chapters may also set annual or monthly dues to cover the cost of the meeting space, refreshments and outside, member-only activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Explore answers to frequently asked questions about our organization.
How do I find a chapter?
Finding a chapter in your area is as easy as using our Find a Chapter map. From this feature, you can find out where and when they meet and directly contact the chapter leadership.
How do I join a chapter?
Visiting a chapter is the first step in finding your new referral partners. Once you have visited a chapter that you believe will be a good fit for you, you can apply for membership with the Membership Committee of the chapter. This process involves filling out an application and an interview with the Committee.
How do I get an application and can I apply online?
You can receive a paper application directly from the Membership Committee of the chapter that you are hoping to join.
Do new members need to be sponsored to join?
No, being sponsored is not a requirement to join. Upon joining a chapter, a new member may be assigned a mentor within the chapter, who will help coach them in developing relationships and in growing professionally and personally using BNI resources.
How do you know new members are reputable?
The application process includes an interview with the Membership Committee, a background check and a reference check. This allows our members to know that the new members of their network are in good standing in their profession. Members are also encouraged to have One-to-Ones with new members so they can get to know each other and better identify the strengths and weaknesses of their businesses, ensuring the best referrals can be passed.
What occupations benefit the most from networking?
Any occupation that can accept referrals can benefit from networking.
Are members encouraged to bring visitors?
Of course! Visiting a BNI meeting is the best way for someone to decide if they are interested in becoming a member, and inviting someone to visit your chapter can be instrumental in helping your membership grow. Members are also welcome to invite others from their profession to visit, while they cannot be in the same chapter, the visitor may be interested in joining another chapter in the area.
If I specialize in a field within my profession, am I expected to be an expert in all aspects of my profession?
BNI does not expect any member to be an expert in all aspects of their profession. On the contrary, being a subject-matter expert in your field and primary area of focus can help the rest of the chapter better learn what you do and how to best refer you.
Do ethical rules for certain professions prohibit participation in BNI?
BNI understands the importance of the ethical concerns governing certain professions and acknowledges that rules can differ by location. As such, BNI requires members to uphold the rules of their professions to not violate their ethical obligations. In the event that BNI’s general rules could potentially violate a professional ethics code, BNI’s rules are superseded by the dictates of the profession’s ethics’ code.