From the Founder

Applying Givers Gain in Business

Givers Gain® is not only a great way to get business; it’s an even better way to do business.  This is why BNI has made it our principle core value in our networking organization.

Giving has many cultural and legal differences around the world. In some cultures, giving is seen negatively, yet it is a positive force in society and that this can be applied in every business regardless of location or culture.

What is important in acts of giving is our motivation. Here is a list of motivations that fits with the philosophy of Givers Gain and helps us maintain mental clarity around our motivations when we give.

  1. We give because we understand that in a community, what we do, others will do, and we all benefit.
  2. We give because we know that in the same situation others would do the same for us.
  3. We give because we want to give back where we have profited before.
  4. We give because when we work together, we get bigger and better results than working on our own.
  5. We give because we enjoy it.

Having ethical motivation is key to giving. You can always give once and justify your motivation, but giving over and over again requires a motivation that is understood not only by you but also by the people you surround yourself with. Adopting one or more of the motivations above will help you stay grounded to your motivation.

Here are some examples of where giving in business changed lives.

Allen. is a commercial real estate agent in Orange County, California, USA.

Throughout 2009 and 2010, Allen had met with as many businesspeople as he possibly could, using his network to find these people and to book a meeting with them. They were not just from his local BNI group but were members throughout the county. The more people he met, the more he was able to become a super connector for the local business community. He was generating a ton of business for the local economy simply by making connections and giving the gift of a referral.

He even won awards for it and became the star of his group. He was recognized as having the most one-to-ones, and he also gave out the most referrals. Allen focused on building relationships and once he was convinced he had found a good business opportunity for both of his contacts he would often phone the contact on the spot and put them together, thus creating a powerful introduction much more likely to lead to business.

When asked how all of this activity had affected his business at a bad time for real estate, he said, “I am completing the best year in my 26 years in the business. I have had a great, great year.”

Giving in business, as in life, works in many different ways. Here is another example.

David runs a fantastic print business. He offers a brilliant service, great value, and delivers when he says he will, if not before. If you ever try to pay him a compliment, he’ll offer a sheepish smile and an explanation that he was only “doing his job.”

Just up the road from where his business is based is the area’s largest independent hotel, which, of course, he is a trusted supplier for. After turning around an order on a particularly short deadline, the hotel manager, showing the gratitude effect, offered David a meal for two at the hotel’s restaurant as a way of saying thank you.

David thanked his client, graciously declined the offer, and instead asked for something else—for them to take the call of one of his other clients, a commercial designer and project manager named Suzanne. Suzanne had recently asked for help and David, being a supplier of hers, decided to use this opportunity to get her the introduction that her business needed.

The introduction was made, business was done, and both of David’s clients were happy.

In the true spirit of giving, the additional revenue has allowed Suzanne to take on larger development projects, which David now prints for. The local sub-contractors who are used on these projects have increased revenue and now come to David when they are in need of his products and, due to the quality of his work and products, they become ambassadors and referrers for his business.

David is selfless, humble, and a wonderful networker because he embraces the principles of Givers Gain. The cycle of giving continues to benefit him and those around him.

Acts of giving change lives. Acts of giving can be powerful in business regardless of the size.  We can give many things. Here is a list of the types of giving that make a real impact in a business community.

  1. Give a referral opportunity between two other businesses you know—maybe a supplier of yours and a client of yours.
  2. Give mentoring to a business that needs your expertise.
  3. Give your knowledge to local business groups.
  4. Give to local education and youth community groups.
  5. Give to the elders of the community.

All of this giving activity is part of an eco-system that will come back and benefit you and those you care about in a positive way. You choose how to practice Givers Gain that is right for your business. Once you make a commitment to using the power of Givers Gain to fuel your business, success will follow.

The more this happens then the more energy can be given to important global social concerns such as climate change and sustainability of our planet. Infinite giving allows us to focus on the bigger picture. The bigger picture is living in a world of plenty where resources are plentiful, and the struggle of life is not against each other. Rather, it is against suffering and scarcity.

Based on material from Infinite Giving, The Seven Laws of Givers Gain.

Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author.  He is also the Founder & Chief Visionary Officer of BNI (www.bni.com), the world’s largest business networking organization.  His latest book, Infinite Giving, The 7 Principles of Givers Gain® is a book about building a life and business where you don’t have to choose between winning or helping others. 

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