+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 16 of 48

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    5

    BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    Hey guys. I got a letter in the mail from Business Network International. They've invited me to a breakfast meeting where they'll supposedly offer me an opportunity to be their exclusive recommended vendor in my particular market space. I've never heard of this organization, and a few quick internet searches didn't turn up much other than their own corporate website. Has anyone dealt with this organization before? What's their angle? Is it a scam?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    5

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    So, nobody's heard of these guys?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    84

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by kombat View Post
    Hey guys. I got a letter in the mail from Business Network International. They've invited me to a breakfast meeting where they'll supposedly offer me an opportunity to be their exclusive recommended vendor in my particular market space. I've never heard of this organization, and a few quick internet searches didn't turn up much other than their own corporate website. Has anyone dealt with this organization before? What's their angle? Is it a scam?
    Kombat,

    Business Network International (BNI) is completely legitimate. They are a leads generating operation where each member brings in contacts that other members don't have. They have chapters around the world and in every state in the U.S., but don't cover every city.

    They operate as independent chapters, but under strict regulations. The weekly meetings usually include a meal, but the costs can vary greatly with one-time registration fee, annuals dues, and variable costs for local meetings.

    Membership is limited to one person per business category, with members encouraged to not only do business with each other when possible, but also to bring leads and referrals to at least one member each week.

    The value to you will have a lot to do with the other members as well as total referral activity within the group. You are allowed to visited every chapter in your market - twice each - before joining, so it make sense to visit everyone that has an opening for you - within a reasonable distance.

    Members are required to attend regularly and only two absences are allowed each quarter, unless you send another person to attend in your place.

    Depending on your products and/or services, membership could pay for itself from just one new customer, or might be a waste of your time/capital.

    The regimentation can be a bit overbearing (bordering on childish to some), but they do get results in most cases.

    Check out your chosen group well before you join. My chapter losts its charter within 6-months of my joining - With no possible refund on annual dues. I'm told I can join another chapter free (where they have a vacancy for me), but the nearest chapters are 90 to 150 miles distant - hardly an option when weekly meetings are required.

    A well hidden secret behind BNI is that they operate as franchises, with chapters getting their support from the franchise owner, which can be an entire state or region within your state. The chapters operate as a profit generator for the franchise owner.

    My results were poor at best. Most will likely be better, so investigate thoroughly and make your two free visits before deciding.

    Considering that I sell promotional advertising, that could be used by virtually any business, my return on investment was abysmal. And most of the leads and referrals were pitiful.

  4. #4

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    Komabt - DBeavers pretty much has it nailed down. I highly recommend BNI, it's been very profitable for me.

    DBeavers - it's a shame your group lost it's charter, you were just getting to the point in your membership where it really starts to pay off. In general, most new members don't see good results when they first join. It takes time for the group to get to know you and to learn how to pass a referral for your business. I didn't get my first paying referral until about 5 months in, and I have steadily increased the number of referrals per month since then. I am having to hire more staff to handle the workload and I am considering expanding to other BNI groups as my sales staff grows. If you can't find another group close enough, you might be able to start your own. BNI gives you a year to get 20 members and earn your charter. You might have better luck if you pick people you know to be reliable and hard workers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    170

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    I looked into BNI guys a few months ago because a cousin was considering it as a network building option for his business.

    I did some research and it certainly seemed legitimate to me, however, these are the first hand experiences I have come across.

    As it is always the case with networking, results do not come instantly, but they do come, so if the network is real you can surely benefit from it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    84

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by BNRBranding View Post
    Komabt - DBeavers pretty much has it nailed down. I highly recommend BNI, it's been very profitable for me.

    DBeavers - it's a shame your group lost it's charter, If you can't find another group close enough, you might be able to start your own. BNI gives you a year to get 20 members and earn your charter. You might have better luck if you pick people you know to be reliable and hard workers.
    After four local chapters failed, I wouldn't even try it here. The Louisiana franchise holder has to take at least partial responsibility, and they didn't lift a finger until it was too late.

    I'd consider almost any other networking group, before I'd try another one in Louisiana.

    By the way, I was a charter member of a stand alone group, and started writing orders the very first month, both to members and shortly after to non-member referrals. I tracked it for one year (not at the beginning) and found over $12,000 in business related to the group, and referrals out to three levels distant from the group - with orders from all three levels.

    Now that's the power of networking. No need for all the games and regimentation for me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    I have to completely disagree with the previous comments about the legitimacy of BNI. It may technically operate within the scope of the law, but it IS a cult, a scam, and a Multi-Level-Marketing-type ripoff. Some members do experience some results, but that is due to their own efforts rather than any positive influence of the organization. The prime purpose of the organization is to take money from the members and give nothing back. There is no room for discussion, deviance from strict meeting protocols, or creativity. Members are told NEVER to question the organization, the method, or the doctrine, and that if they are failing, it is due solely to their lack of effort. BNI is an ideal environment for con-men (sociopaths) to flourish. My friend has been a member for a couple of years, but I had no idea until I recently attended a recruitment lunch that it was actually a cult. As an ex-cult member (8 years in the Moonies), there was no doubt in my mind after attending this lunch that BNI is a cult. It's kind of a low-level wannabe cult - nothing so impressive as AMway or the Moonies - but a cult nonetheless. My friend is currently trying to recover the $12,000 a member of his chapter stole from him for a "real estate investment". That member is currently filing for bankruptcy, and apparently had no intention of ever doing anything legitimate with the money.

  8. #8

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Jitsu View Post
    I have to completely disagree with the previous comments about the legitimacy of BNI. It may technically operate within the scope of the law, but it IS a cult, a scam, and a Multi-Level-Marketing-type ripoff. Some members do experience some results, but that is due to their own efforts rather than any positive influence of the organization. The prime purpose of the organization is to take money from the members and give nothing back. There is no room for discussion, deviance from strict meeting protocols, or creativity. Members are told NEVER to question the organization, the method, or the doctrine, and that if they are failing, it is due solely to their lack of effort. BNI is an ideal environment for con-men (sociopaths) to flourish. My friend has been a member for a couple of years, but I had no idea until I recently attended a recruitment lunch that it was actually a cult. As an ex-cult member (8 years in the Moonies), there was no doubt in my mind after attending this lunch that BNI is a cult. It's kind of a low-level wannabe cult - nothing so impressive as AMway or the Moonies - but a cult nonetheless. My friend is currently trying to recover the $12,000 a member of his chapter stole from him for a "real estate investment". That member is currently filing for bankruptcy, and apparently had no intention of ever doing anything legitimate with the money.
    Do you even know what an MLM is? Do you even know what the rules of the "cult" are?

    I am baffled by all the misinformation. If I know someone that needs a plumber/painter/accountant/ then why wouldn't I recommend someone that I know and trust?? If one of those people knows someone that needs my services then why wouldn't they recommend me?? For the $380 yearly fee, why wouldn't I stay in a group that accounts for well over $30k in revenue yearly? Seems like a pretty simple proposition to me.

    You "friend" being scammed for $12k has nothing to do with BNI. Did your friend also send money to the Nigerian guy who promised millions? Sounds like your "friend" blames BNI for something they had nothing to do with.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    1

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    I vote for shady, at best. It seems to work ok for some people, but for what they charge to join, someone's making some pretty good $$ off of you. It also seems like a way for BNI's founder to sell his books and his over-priced services to some eager suckers.

    The referral concept is great, but your local chamber could do the same thing for a lot less. I just about dropped over when the president of the local chapter told me what they charge to join! One thing that bugged me is that I know how much they pay to use the facility they meet in and I also know they charge their members extra (above the normal dues) to cover it but the members pay quite a bit more than what the chapter pays out, so where does the extra go? The whole exclusivity thing also rubs me the wrong way. (If there are 10 antique stores in a town, the town will benefit more by promoting all of them, rather than just promoting one. More people will come to town if they know there are 10 places to visit rather than just 1.)

    Just my 2 cents.

  10. #10

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    I just returned from a BNI breakfast meeting as a guest from a neighbor of mine who solicited my business on *****slist. Here are my observations:

    • Their regimented weekly meetings are too restrictive for my business. I am a sole proprietor and I would lose business at my shop while attending meetings.
    • I could not with a clear conscious recommend businesses or people that I have not used myself.
    • I already have networked friends that have businesses that overlap with at least half of the attendees. I would always utilize and recommend my friends' businesses over the BNI group members. I would have no trust in unproven BNI members.
    • By using member services, you have very little likelihood of getting the best value or dollar for your service. I always research every major purchase I make, whether service or retail, and I want the most bang for my buck.
    • The whole concept VIOLATES the spirit of free enterprise and free markets. Exclusivity is not always a good thing.
    Overall, the whole thing smells like a multilevel marketing/pyramid scheme. Why else would you be required to invite 40 people to the "core" kickoff party? Needless to say, I will not be joining. In my opinion, this organization is targeted to and prays upon weak minded people.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Weston-super-Mare
    Posts
    85

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    Ha, ha! you guys are funny sometimes :yelcutelaughA::yelcutelaughA::yelcutelaughA: :crazy1::

    BNI aren't a scam they are a business networking club, you choose to join or not - private clubs have rules and regs that can seem a little strict or odd if you are not in the club - doesn't make them a scam!
    You can contact me here via this 123contact.com form:

    www.123contactform.com/contact-form-lemonpies


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    110

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    I used the BNI here in the UK a few years ago. It worked for my business, and brought in some business.

    After a year or more it dried up a bit and I left.

    You can't call the BNI a cult! A cult is supposed to be a closed group, and they are open to members, and give you a few visits to see if you like it or not.

    The starts are early though, but I liked that, as it got me going, and gave me some business before most folks were out of bed.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    84

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    I have to agree with readthis - Although my local chapter didn't pay off for me, a well run chapter can be a boon to the right type of business - if the group is doing what they are supposed to do.

    They are neither a scam, cult, or club.

    They are somewhat similar to multi-level marketing, especially with the rigid controls on the operation of the meeting. The whole "Hoo Hah" marine-style cheer and rah-rah aspects did remind me of an old-style Amway big box meeting I attended years ago.

    My biggest gripe is that they promote themselves as an International networking organizations, but for the individual members, it's strictly at the local level and individual chapter. So, if you're the only BNI member, wall paper hanger in your city with 7 chapters, you only get the referrals from your specific chapter - The networking stops there.

    Meanwhile, the money you pay for dues, plus the initial sign-up fee, goes to a franchise owner who may not even be in your market or state. As long as each chapter is making him money, he or she really has no interest above their return on investment.

    I still have BNI members who argue that BNI isn't a franchise, but every chapter belongs to the franchise owner.

    You're benefit is strictly from the chapter your join - and if you choose poorly, you may never see a return on your investment. You have the option of moving your membership to another franchise within your market - but only if they have a vacancy.

    Do your due diligence and visit every possible chapter in your market. Then visit everyone a second time that seems to hold promise. If the best one doesn't have a vacancy for you, it may be better to wait for the vacancy or a new chapter, rather than just joining one that has an opening.

    If there's an opening for you, it would be a good idea to get the name of the previous slot holder. Contact them to get an idea why they left. It may save you from making a poor choice. If it didn't work for them, the same group may not be a good fit for your business category.

    I wish I had checked with my predecessor.

    Dennis

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    169

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Jitsu View Post
    I have to completely disagree with the previous comments about the legitimacy of BNI. It may technically operate within the scope of the law, but it IS a cult, a scam, and a Multi-Level-Marketing-type ripoff. Some members do experience some results, but that is due to their own efforts rather than any positive influence of the organization. The prime purpose of the organization is to take money from the members and give nothing back. There is no room for discussion, deviance from strict meeting protocols, or creativity. Members are told NEVER to question the organization, the method, or the doctrine, and that if they are failing, it is due solely to their lack of effort. BNI is an ideal environment for con-men (sociopaths) to flourish. My friend has been a member for a couple of years, but I had no idea until I recently attended a recruitment lunch that it was actually a cult. As an ex-cult member (8 years in the Moonies), there was no doubt in my mind after attending this lunch that BNI is a cult. It's kind of a low-level wannabe cult - nothing so impressive as AMway or the Moonies - but a cult nonetheless. My friend is currently trying to recover the $12,000 a member of his chapter stole from him for a "real estate investment". That member is currently filing for bankruptcy, and apparently had no intention of ever doing anything legitimate with the money.
    Amway isn't a cult. Amway is a scam, and here's why: Amway pays out as little money as they can get away with, so they support the higher level IBOs ripping off their downline via the tool scam. As a result, about 99% of IBOs operate at a net loss, while the top 1% make several TIMES more from their Amway tool scam than from the Amway products. Read about it on my blog, I suggest you start here: http://tiny.cc/D5oJh and forward the information to everyone you know, so they don't get scammed.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    Hi to everyone who has posted on the BNI thread. I am brand new to scam.com so please be gentle with me!

    I received a BNI 'come to a taster breakfast' letter a couple of weeks back from a local company I had never heard of, who had not contacted me by phone (although my freephone/tollfree number is widely advertised) to clarify/profile me OR my business (airport transfers to independent business travellers) and yet told me that " A space is now available for a member of your profession...." Okay. What do they know about MY profession? WHY would anyone invite ME to a join what appears to be a 'by invitation only' networking 'club' without knowing a thing about me, my business, its profile, the profile of client I look for etc, etc? Can only be ONE answer: It doesn't matter what the answer to ANY of the above is, they want ME there to get what they want out of ME.
    And . . . . if it is a GENUINE networking 'syndicate', why is there a charge? 'Normal' networking works on the basis of satisfaction leading to willingness to recommend to others. My 'handyman', Keith, being a case in point - he has done a first rate job for me for years on all sorts of jobs round the home which I am useless at, does what he says he is going to do, is clean, tidy and reasonably priced. The result? I have recommended him so many times I have lost count. And as I have put clients HIS way, he has put clients MY way. And not just 'any old client', the ones we pass to each other are ones who will treat US with respect and (as far as is possible these days) be loyal and become repeat customers - that's what it is all about. NOT having 'Hoo-Rah' meetings at 6am in the local Masonic Hall!
    I was also intrigued by the reference in the letter to 'open networking'? Does this mean that the networking after 7am is, in some way 'closed'?
    Nearly thirty years ago as a teenager, I got suckered in by Amway when it operated in the UK before everyone sussed it out for what it was.
    I am, therefore, naturally suspicious of anything like this and I certainly did NOT like the method of approach, or the assumption made in the letter.

    Thank God for the internet and this forum. The truth is out there, Just go looking for it!

    Cant wait to see the replies to this!!!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1

    Re: BNI - Business Network International - Scam?

    BNI is not a scam but it is a waste of time and money:

    1- They charge a fee ($400+) to become a member

    2- They make members pay for refreshments and other activities

    3- They force members to recruit other members and referrals. If you don't, you get kicked out with no refund. This is why BNI members keep swearing by it, because they have to or else ...

    4- Meetings are rigid and too structured, they limit networking, feels like you're in a cult meeting (it is not a cult but feels like it)

    5- Most of the time you are busy recruiting members for BNI instead of recruiting business for yourself

    Better option is to join your local Chamber of Commerce.

Similar Threads

  1. FRAUD WARNING - Network International Inc
    By Halton Hills in forum Mail Order Scams
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-05-2015, 11:49 PM
  2. BNI- Business Network International
    By JackDonlan in forum MLM Scams
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-06-2011, 02:23 PM
  3. E Business Network?
    By jmarcus in forum Work at Home Scams
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 01-13-2011, 09:31 AM
  4. E Business Network
    By skepticg8 in forum Work at Home Scams
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-15-2010, 04:36 PM
  5. Business Network Internatinal/BNI
    By Jrea626 in forum MLM Scams
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-20-2007, 08:46 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may post new threads
  • You may post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may edit your posts
  •