BNI – Local Business, Global Connections.
With the annual BNI Global Convention taking place in Bangkok this week, what a great opportunity to dissect BNI’s motto of “Local Business – Global Connections”.
Simply put, “Local Business” refers to us as members and the geographic location in which we operate our business. Many businesses aren’t restricted to conducting business in their primary location. Some can even operate around the world completely online. But no matter how you undertake your operations, we are all local to somewhere, and local businesses are the underpinning of BNI.
However, BNI itself brings with it “Global Connections”, and for many members, this opens up a whole new market. In some cases, it can even prompt entire new business offerings in the form of new services or products. With a worldwide organisation of like-minded business people, the potential for attracting customers well outside your normal geographical zone increases significantly.
Last week I wrote about Doug Phillips from BNI Achievers, and this week he gets a mention again. In a previous business, Doug held the Handyman category in his Chapter and was approached by a BNI member in Perth to sub-contract to them. The Perth based company offered maintenance services and secured contracts with large national businesses. They had no-one in South Australia to service these contracts though.
The Perth-based member called Caroline used BNI Connect to search for a member in Adelaide who could provide maintenance services. Doug wasn’t the only member in Adelaide who could do what they needed done, however his BNI Connect profile was completed professionally which set him apart from all of his competitors within BNI Adelaide at the time. For an interstate member who hadn’t met any of the Adelaide BNI maintenance professionals and would rather not journey to SA to get to know them all, Doug became the easy choice for Caroline to sub-contract the work.
At a recent advanced training workshop, two participants shared that they had each received several cross-Chapter referrals from other Adelaide based BNI members (who they hadn’t met at the time), initially based on their BNI Connect profiles differentiating them from their competitors.
Doug’s experience is a great example of why it’s a smart idea to have your BNI Connect profile filled out in full. Make sure your Bio is complete and include a high-resolution, corporate head-shot, taken by a professional commercial photographer, plus a high-res version of your logo. Your BNI Connect profile is an excellent opportunity to differentiate yourself and your business from your competitors in your local market.
So for many members, using BNI Connect to conduct business outside their local market is a no-brainer. But even if it isn’t for you, that doesn’t mean you won’t stand to pick up business and build great relationships with other BNI professionals outside your Chapter who will gladly use your services, if you make it easy and low-risk enough for them.