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Locally developed software application to roll-out

MEDIA RELEASE

28 April 2006


Locally developed software application to roll-out in 26 countries

International adoption of locally developed software means small businesses here will have a trade channel to small and medium business owners in 26 countries.

A business management software application designed and developed in New Zealand has been selected ahead of competing software from the US and UK by US based multi-national Business Network International (BNI) for international release.

BNINET2 – which uses the Internet as its delivery platform – was developed by North Shore based company eQuest, to allow BNI to manage its 82,000 members globally.

BNI is currently experiencing unprecedented levels of growth across the entire organisation. More chapters were started last year in the US than in any previous year. This growth is reflected in New Zealand where BNI grew nationwide from 58 chapters to 77 chapters in the space of one year.

“Essentially BNINET2 allows each Business Network International franchise region to manage its membership – everything from dues paid, attendance at meetings and referrals passed, to monitoring how well meetings are managed and making payments online,” says eQuest director Brian Falkner.
BNINET2 was initially commissioned by BNI New Zealand director Graham Southwell to manage the New Zealand wide business operation.
He says it had small, local beginnings and has now been adopted worldwide.

“We’re extremely excited about this. It is a significant achievement for eQuest. This is definitely another local Internet success story.”

Southwell says another benefit of BNINET2 is the public interface called BNIWeb, the Internet system which provides website functionality to directors and a range of facilities to members.

BNIWeb creates a worldwide first – a portal for ‘qualified’ international trade referrals between small businesses in the 26 countries where BNI operates, including the US, the UK, Australia, Singapore, India, South Africa, Malaysia and Europe.

BNIWeb is accessible by the public for free and will facilitate trade between small businesses across the world.

Southwell says potential BNI members are screened before their membership is approved, and all BNI members are regularly reviewed by their peers.

“This means that anyone dealing with a member of BNI can have confidence they are dealing with a professional, ethical business person.

“This is a huge plus for promoting global trade for small to medium businesses.”

ENDS


About BNI
BNI is the world's largest referral organisation with chapters in 26 countries around the globe and is unashamedly members helping members generate more business.
It was started in 1985 by Dr. Ivan Misner, one of the world's leading experts in networking and word-of-mouth marketing. In New Zealand BNI more than 1,800 members.


BNI takes the small to medium business sector by storm

1. Business Network International was awarded the “One-On-Many” Award at the inaugural, national Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards 2005.

2. The average chapter membership in New Zealand the highest in the world. Between 20 and 40 business owners meet in various ‘communities’ (chapters) once a week – throughout New Zealand – to follow a ‘structured network referral’ programme.
New Zealand has twice won the BNI International award for the highest chapter average in the world.

3. Examples include the Parnell Chapter of BNI, Ponsonby, Kapiti, Cambridge, Christchurch, New Plymouth, Wanganui Chapter etc. The principal function is to network, develop and grow small to medium business relationships in New Zealand.

4. While BNI has a system and a strict code of ethics, chapters are autonomous and are led by a president, vice-president, secretary/treasurer and two visitor hosts. Leadership changeovers occur every six months.

5. The leadership team reviews the performance of members on a regular basis.

6. BNI is a structured referral organisation – there is discipline, a standard agenda, each member gets to stand up and present his or her business for 60 seconds and to ask for referrals.

7. Attendance is mandatory. A member may miss three meetings in a six month period, but for any other absences they must send along a substitute.

8. Each member is constantly looking for referrals to pass on to their fellow chapter members – the more you concentrate on ‘giving’ in business, the more you’re likely to receive. BNI’s motto is ‘Gives Gain’.

9. BNI was founded by the bestselling author of ‘Master’s of Networking’, Dr Ivan Misner in the United States more than 20 years ago.

10. Only one member from each trade or profession is allowed in a chapter.

11. BNI teaches business people that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. It is about developing relationships that result in referrals for each other.

12. BNI Code of Ethics
I will provide the quality of service at the prices that I have quoted
I will be truthful with the members and their referrals
I will build goodwill and trust among members and their referrals
I will take responsibility for following up on the referrals I receive
I will live up to the ethical standards of my profession*
I will display a positive and supportive attitude with BNI
* Professional standards outlined in a formal code of ethics supersede the above standards.

Current Position

There are 77 chapters and more than 1,800 members in New Zealand – significantly in excess of the targeted growth for last year of 64 chapters.

The growth represents an increase of 18 chapters (31%) and 392 members (28%).

The main achievements in 2005 was the winning of the Vero Excellence in Business Support Award, a letter of appreciation received from the Minister for Small Business and the award at the International Conference in Long Beach California for the highest average chapter size of any country.

Perhaps the single greatest achievement in 2005 was securing BNINET Version 2 as the approved intranet and membership management system for the entire organisation.

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