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    22 Replies Latest reply on Nov 17, 2012 3:23 PM by ocbob

    Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?

    ocbob Adventurer

      I am developing a home based business as a Certified Health Coach associated with Take Shape for Life. Many have touted BNI as an essential
      networking outlet, but the chapters I’ve visited don’t seem to present opportunities for mutual referral synergy between my kind of enterprise and the mostly brick and mortar small businesses represented. By its nature, most of my client contact is by telephone and is limited to immediate business, with little personal “chit chat” that might reveal referral opportunities.  I just can’t imagine how I can expect to offer many referrals and receive enough referrals to justify the expense of money and time involved.  I’d like know the experiences of other similarly situated small business people who have joined BNI.  Is it worth it for my kind of business?  Why or why not?

       

        • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
          sarnheim Newbie

          I am a Certified Health Coach with Take Shape For Life also and have been an active BNI member for over 3 1/2 years in the Portland, Oregon metro area.  I find BNI to be an extremely valuable part to the continual growth of my business.  Take Shape is a referral based business and that is the core of BNI.  The key to getting the most out of a BNI membership is to take an active part in your chapter.  Each chapter has a different chemistry so it is important to find a chapter that resonates with you and that you feel comfortable.  Then it is critical to do one-on-ones with each chapter member.  Losing weight is a sensitive subject, so talking individually to other chapter members is the best way for them to understand your passion and understanding as a health coach.  One of my best referrals which has transformed my business was a doctor of a fellow BNI member who now regularly refers patients to me. As we learn in our Take Shape trainings it takes time to build relationships with people that can then feel comfortable referring people to you.  BNI is a perfect place for people to know, like and trust you which is a central value of BNI.  I would highly recommend BNI as a part of your marketing as a health coach. 

          • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
            tammy ale Newbie

            I am in agreement with the above comments. I have been in BNI for 14+ years and have found it a very effective way to grow a health & wellness business. Just as with most things in life, you will get out of it what you put in. The number of good relationships you develop and how many quality referrals you give usually will also make a difference in how many quality referrals you get. It isn't a fast process though. It will take some time to build your reputation and begin getting referrals. Again many times it depends on how active you are in the chapter and how much you believe in and participate in the "Giver's Gain" philosophy. It is very important to take advantage of the trainings offered by BNI and to read the materials offered like Success Net as networking is a learned skill. Yes, some people have a natural ability when it comes to networking but anyone can become a successful networker if they really want to. I believe that BNI is the perfect organization to learn and practice networking and to grow your health coach business.

            • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
              dbaumoel Newbie

              I am also a Health Coach with Take Shape For Life in the St Louis area.  I have been in BNI for over 2 years.  The contacts and relationships and clients I have received and continue to receive through BNI comprise 65% of my business and I cannot imagine my business without BNI.  Improving our health is a powerful motivator for most people.  By communicating the success of TSFL clients, we generate interest.  Through establishing relationships with members, we learn about them and they learn about us and what we have to offer.  When fellow BNI chapter members become clients and other members see their success week by week, the momentum that is generated takes on a life of its own.  Referrals just happen!  By having one-to-one meetings with fellow BNI members, opportunities arise to make referrals, not just to my current client base but to all the people I run across day to day, at church, with family and friends, even on Facebook!  Aside from reciprocal referral relationships, the business skills I have learned through BNI are invaluable.  I have learned to speak in front of others, to give presentations, to distill my message down to 60 or 30 or even 15 seconds!  I have learned how to listen to others and I have learned how the Givers Gain philosophy can help build long term relationships that keep the pipeline full and continue to expand opportunities.  As you can tell, I strongly recommend BNI.  My business has more than doubled in the last year as I am able to reach out and help more and more people get healthy and realize their dreams.  It's a perfect match!

              • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                Tami Stackelhouse Newbie

                I know several TSFL coaches who give BNI all the credit for where they are in their businesses. These are Global and National Directors. I don't know about you, but I think that's a great recommendation.

                 

                For me, BNI is so much more than just about getting clients - though that part is nice too. =)

                 

                BNI gives me the opportunity to meet other professionals who know my target clients. I get to build relationships with them, partner with them, do events with them... It allows me the opportunity to practice my speaking skills, to grow as a business owner, to get business coaching, and to get out of my house and interact with other business professionals.

                 

                I've become known as "the gal who knows everybody" in my circle of friends and clients. This makes me look REALLY good, and it keeps me top of mind. Even if someone isn't ready to work with me right now, they know I'm the go-to person for finding a real estate agent, a handyman, a carpet cleaner.... so when they're ready for a Health Coach, you bet they'll think of me!

                 

                This year, I'm the President of my BNI chapter. This gives me even more visibility each week as I lead our chapter meetings. Every week, about 30 people watch me lead the meeting and are reminded that I'm in business and what I do.

                 

                If you go into BNI ONLY to get business, it might not work for you. BNI is built on the philosophy of "Givers Gain". In other words, those people who give will receive. I've definitely found this to be true. But you can't give *in order to receive*. People can sense that.

                 

                And yes, you will get business. My first year in BNI, my coaching business went up by about 30%... all while focusing my business on a very narrow target market - women with fibromyalgia. Let me give you another concrete example - last month my BNI Chapter did approximately $109,000 in closed business with about 30 businesses. Wouldn't you want a piece of that pie? I do.

                  • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                    ocbob Adventurer

                    Tami,

                     

                    Thanks for your input.  All of the responses I've been getting have been in

                    the same vein; BNI is indispensable to a small business, and learn and live

                    the Givers Gain philosophy. I got the message and contacted the local BNI

                    Exec Director. I'm lined up to visit a couple nearby chapters with open

                    slots in my business category next week.

                     

                    Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my inquiry.

                     

                    Bob Steingisser ("ocbob")

                     

                    On Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 12:04 PM, Tami Stackelhouse <

                  • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                    craig Newbie

                    Hi there, I'm a certified Nutritional Therapist and I've been in a BNI chapter in western Massachusetts for almost 4 years. I thought I'd chime in here.

                     

                    You said, "I just can’t imagine how I can expect to offer many referrals and receive enough referrals to justify the expense of money and time involved."

                     

                    Referrals come out of developing relationships.  That's what BNI is all about.  It's a more intimate form of networking than any other.  As such, referrals come out of the trust that's developed between members.  That's why what you do is a perfect fit for BNI.  People want to know and trust their health practitioners.  We all know how unhealthy people are these days and people are looking for answers all over the place.  If you can help just one person in your BNI chapter (and I guarantee it'll be more than one), they're going to tell everyone about you.  Word will spread.  Most members are eager to try out other members' services. 

                     

                    That was certainly my experience.  I do about 25-30% of my business through my BNI chapter.  The yearly fee is minimal compared to what you'll make in return.  So it's well worth the time and money.  And as far as giving referrals, that will happen naturally through learning more about their services.  It will also happen when your members start referring to you.  You'll feel so grateful that you'll want to return the favor and refer back to them.  That's why the BNI motto is "givers gain."

                     

                    Hope that helped!   Good luck.

                      • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                        ocbob Adventurer

                        Craig,

                         

                        Thanks for your input.  All of the responses I've been getting have been in

                        the same vein; BNI is indispensable to a small business, and learn and live

                        the Givers Gain philosophy. I got the message and contacted the local BNI

                        Exec Director. I'm lined up to visit a couple nearby chapters with open

                        slots in my business category next week.

                         

                        Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my inquiry.

                         

                        Bob Steingisser ("ocbob")

                         

                        On Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 12:40 PM, craig <

                      • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                        jeff@bni-il.com Newbie

                        ocBob.

                         

                        Hi - I am an Exec Director for BNI in Central IL.  I admit to being biased to BNI but I have seen many different types of business' do very well as long as they use the info we give them.  It's like anything else, if you put some time in to it, it will more than pay off.  The great thing about it is that because everyone has SKIN in the game and they know they need to be there every week, you get some pretty serious people in the room that are there to help.

                         

                        I started out as an Auto and Home insurance guy 12 years ago and you would think it would be easy for me to get referrals but it wasn't until I really started using the Giver's Gain philosophy that we teach.  It's really amazing what YOU can make happen.

                         

                        ..and don't get caught up in the size of the chapter either when choosing one.  It's about getting to know the people and everyone one of them probably more than 1000 people.  When you walk out of your visit and you get that WARM FUZZY, you were probably in the right chapter.

                         

                        Again - I'm rather biased, but I've seen people and their business' grow up right in front of my eyes.

                         

                        Take care and good luck

                        Jeff

                        • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                          brheault Newbie

                          I'm a certified health coach with TSFL. I've been a BNI member for almost 2 years. I too had reservations about my ability to find referrals for other members as a TSFL health coach. In addition, we just moved to our current address about 3 years ago, so we didn't know a lot of people in our area when I joined BNI.

                           

                          My experience is that the nature of our business, that being a home based business, is not necessarily a handicap to finding referrals for others and participating in the givers gain philosophy of BNI. I've used Dr. Meisners suggestion of "follow your check book" to find referrals. One of my first referrals provided, came from my sons pre-school teacher one day when we were talking, after I picked him up. Yesterday I got a referral for the Realtor in our group from a person I was talking to in the gym.

                           

                          In my experience, if you're willing to do the work, you'll be very happy with the results.

                            • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                              ocbob Adventurer

                              Thanks for your input.  All of the responses I've been getting have been in

                              the same vein; BNI is indispensable to a small business, and learn and live

                              the Givers Gain philosophy. I got the message and contacted the local BNI

                              Exec Director. I'm lined up to visit a couple nearby chapters with open

                              slots in my business category next week.

                               

                               

                               

                              Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my inquiry.

                               

                               

                               

                              Bob Steingisser ("ocbob")

                               

                               

                               

                              On Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 10:13 AM, brheault <

                            • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                              august20 Newbie

                              Hi There!

                               

                              You've gotten several testimonials to the benefits that BNI offers to home based businesses, specifically for Health Coaches with Take Shape For Life, so I thought that I would join in to let you know that membership in BNI is a perfect match for your business.  I, too, am a Certified Health Coach with TSFL (41/2 years) and have been a member of my BNI chapter since March 2010.  Currently, I am the president of our 50 member chapter.

                               

                              I was drawn to BNI by their collaborative spirit and their motto of "Givers Gain".  As it turns out, it is all true!  Givers DO gain and their collaborative spirit never dies!  I did have my concerns about being able to give referrals to other members, but very quickly, that concern evaporated as I got to know my fellow members through one on ones, trainings, and other BNI related events.  As a new member, one concentrates on getting to know their fellow members through one on ones...and then the magic begins.  I would be shopping, at the gym, in my neighborhood, or just going through my day and in conversation I would hear a need and would be able to connect them with someone who could help them meet that need, whether it was the plumber of the financial planner!

                               

                              Regarding TSFL, we do connect with our clients on the phone primarily.  However, when I am initially profiling a client to see if they qualify for our program, I am asking lots of questions to learn more about their needs.  I always close by letting them know that I belong to a group of business professionals that I know and trust.  Then I ask them if there is anything else I can help them with by giving them examples of some of our members and their products or services.  They are happy to know that I can connect them with skilled professionals and since they trust me enough to guide them along their weight loss journey and beyond I already have credibility!  It is easy and fun!  I probably would not even still be a TSFL Health Coach if I had not joined BNI...it is the BEST thing I ever did to grow my business...and it keeps on growing!!  Also, I can't leave out the satisfaction that I feel when I know that I have helped a fellow member grow their business as well. So, let me wish you all the best and I hope that you find a chapter that fits!  You won't regret it!

                                • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                                  ocbob Adventurer

                                  Thanks for your input.  All of the responses I've been getting have been in

                                  the same vein; BNI is indispensable to a small business, and learn and live

                                  the Givers Gain philosophy. I got the message and contacted the local BNI

                                  Exec Director. I'm lined up to visit a couple nearby chapters with open

                                  slots in my business category next week.

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                  Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my inquiry.

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                  Bob Steingisser ("ocbob")

                                   

                                  On Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 4:49 PM, august20 <

                                • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                                  kimcharboneau Newbie

                                  Hello!

                                  I am also a Certified Health Coach through Take Shape for Life and I live in Vermont.

                                  I joined a BNI group in June and I think it is a great thing to do to grow your business. The thing I tell new people joining is; it takes some time to build a relationship with people. That is what BNI is about; building relationships and getting referrals.   They need to trust you and make sure you are going to help them bring in business as well.  I am just starting to feel more comfortable as my real personality is starting to show.  I have 3 people  in the group doing my plan now and know it will blossom from there.  I had the intention to start at a group 35 minutes from me and then move to the one forming in my town once it started.  I no longer want to do that as the relationships I have made are helping my confidence.  I don't want to start all over again.  I also planned to do this for a year and that was it.  I am now thinking about the education coordinator in the future.  I was advised to be a visitor host to get to know more people so I started that in October.  I joined to spread my business but also because I do not like public speaking and felt this would help me.  I still get a bit nervous when my turn approaches,  but it is getting easier.  As we teach our clients and coaches in Take Shape for Life; this is not a quick fix, we want those who will stay in for the long haul, so is BNI.  We can't expect immediate results like we do with our plan.  This needs nurturing, time, a bit of energy and focusing on why everyone is there.  Find referrals for those in your group and they will come back to you at some point.  I have my book of business cards with me everywhere; never know who may "need someone" and I have that someone with me and available always.

                                  Good Luck! 

                                    • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                                      ocbob Adventurer

                                      Thanks for your input.  All of the responses I've been getting have been in

                                      the same vein; BNI is indispensable to a small business, and learn and live

                                      the Givers Gain philosophy. I got the message and contacted the local BNI

                                      Exec Director. I'm lined up to visit a couple nearby chapters with open

                                      slots in my business category next week.

                                       

                                       

                                       

                                      Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my inquiry.

                                       

                                       

                                       

                                      Bob Steingisser ("ocbob")

                                       

                                      On Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 6:23 PM, kimcharboneau <

                                    • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                                      moore health Newbie

                                      I think you're getting the general idea that BNI is a profitable networking opportunity. Keep in mind, you're going to get out of it what you put into it. The BNI system works. Are you willing to fully engage with the system? The people who do the best are the ones who are there to give their best. When you hear us all say, "Giver's Gain," that's the mindset you have to adopt. If you stay primarily at your desk making phone calls to your clients, then you're going to have to attend other networking events to engage with folks who will be potential referrals for you to give to the members in your BNI chapter. And, as so many other people have said, do the one-to-ones with all of the people in your chapter. Then, you will know how to find business for them. Remember, when you help enough other people get what they want, you will get what you want.

                                       

                                      Dawn Moore,

                                      Lifeforming Leadership Coach and Certified Health Coach and Regional Director with Take Shape For Life

                                        • Re: Is BNI valuable for a home based service business?
                                          ocbob Adventurer

                                          Dawn,

                                           

                                           

                                           

                                          Thanks for your input.  All of the responses I've been getting have been in

                                          the same vein; BNI is indispensable to a small business, and learn and live

                                          the Givers Gain philosophy. I got the message and contacted the local BNI

                                          Exec Director. I'm lined up to visit a couple nearby chapters with open

                                          slots in my business category next week.

                                           

                                           

                                           

                                          Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my inquiry.

                                           

                                           

                                           

                                          Bob Steingisser ("ocbob")

                                           

                                          On Sat, Nov 17, 2012 at 12:02 PM, moore health <