Is BNI worth it?

I have the opportunity to be a part of a BNI chapter founding group. They want a non-refundable $150 application fee and $495/year for membership. That’s $645. It’s a significant chunk of change for me as a 23 year old with a wife and 2 kids just finishing his first year in business full-time.

I just wonder, would it be better to spend that $650 incrementally on other forms of advertising that work for me, such as newspaper ads?

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Worth. Every. Penny. I’ve done $23k in my group so far.

Gotta find the right group. I’ll elaborate later.


I think BNI is 100% worth it for the right people. I’ve seen it work in other fields. The key is you need to have your business fully functional. You need to be willing to be a people person. And, you need to be willing to promote other businesses in your group. Lastly pick the right BNI group.

I would in a heart beat. If your not sure, let thus guy tell you how to work it.

BNI can be super profitable or a complete waste of money. Here’s some factors to consider:

  1. The size of the chapter- find out roughly how much business they refer each year. My group has 35 members and refers $8-$10 million per year and is well worth my investment. If the group is only 10 people doing $1-$2 million per year, it may be less valuable. Most cities have multiple chapters, try and visit all of them and find out which is the largest.
  2. Your willingness to refer business to others- the main way to get business from BNI is to be known as someone who refers business to others. The easiest referrals for me so far are to my chapter’s plumber, painter, landscaper, and contractor because these are also home services. Another easy way to refer business is to give your own business to people within your chapter (e.g. insurance, real estate agent, mechanic, etc.)
  3. Your ability to attend meetings- this seems to be the number one reason people fail at BNI. They get busy and just stop attending. I think we are allowed 3 absences per 6 months or we can be kicked out. It’s super helpful if you have a backup (like your wife or another employee) who can attend meetings for you when you are gone.
  4. Patience- the longer you are in the group the more trust you can build with the other business and the more business you are likely to get. Referrals can be pretty slow at first.

Hope this helps!

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Yes. It’s about 20% of my business after only 4 months.


Thanks for the advice guys. I am not going to lay $650 to be one of the “founding members.” The area this chapter represents is one where I already have a strong presence. There is another BNI nearby in an area that I would like to focus more on that has 30 members. If I am going to spend money, it’s going to be on that chapter, not this one.