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BNI Scores 1000th Member!

BNI Scores 1000th Member!

28th October, 2002


New Zealand's most successful business referral organisation, Business Network International (BNI), has notched up its 1000th member, after starting up in Takapuna only four years ago.

The newest member is Fiona Jamieson from the Auckland Waterfront BNI chapter. She is a Director of Bioniks Ltd, a company providing mobile therapeutic massage for busy Aucklanders.

National Director of BNI, Graham Southwell said BNI operates a structured program based on word of mouth principles, something people have been doing informally ever since business began. It started in the United States in 1985 and now operates in 13 countries, including New Zealand and Australia.

He said BNI's philosophy is "Givers Gain". That is, if I give you referrals, you will give me referrals and we will do better as a result.

"Our mission is to teach business professionals that the word of mouth process is more about farming than it is about hunting: it's about the cultivation of professional relationships for the mutual benefit of all."

Graham Southwell said that a unique feature of BNI is that it only allows one person from each trade or profession to join a chapter, which means a member's competitors cannot join and any conflict in passing referrals is avoided.

"There are currently 44 chapters operating throughout New Zealand, from Whangarei to Timaru."

He added that almost any trade or profession can benefit from membership of BNI with occupations ranging from bankers to balloon artists and from interior decorators to insurance agents.

"Just imagine having 25 - 30 additional people on your sales force. That's what membership of a BNI group means - every chapter member carries your business card in a special wallet and is constantly seeking opportunities for fellow members," said Mr Southwell.

"New groups are being formed all the time to meet demand and already there is a waiting list of business people anxious to join a BNI Chapter as soon as a position becomes available."

He added that success in a BNI group is in the hands of each member. They can get as much out of it as they put in. The added bonus is the group of motivated people encouraging individual members to achieve greater things, both personally and in business.

Mr Southwell said a little over a dollar a day membership of BNI makes good commercial sense, especially compared to other forms of advertising.

Detailed information about BNI can be found on its website -


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