Should I Join BNI?

Will BNI help my business?   Is BNI worthwhile?  Is BNI a waste of time?

Ignore the above.  Rest assured BNI is a complete waste of time.  I’m just trying to sucker the search engine bots into ranking me higher for the above phrases.

 I really don’t have a lot of time to play with this blog I’m mostly busy working. (no thanks to BNI referrals)  But recently a reader posted a comment in response “BNI Sucks” article.  I think the point that he so ineloquently attempted to make is that the poor showing we had during our 9 month tenure in BNI was my fault rather than what is in my opinion the many failings of the BNI program and organization.  It’s an interesting point and straight out of the “How to Manage a Cult for Dummies” handbook.  That is if someone is perceptive enough to see though the bullshit and call it at face value immediately charge them with “not getting it” so you can setup an us versus the outsiders pattern.  This is standard operating procedure religious / cult nitwits to separate the people that think from the dolts who believe everything they are told.  We can’t have logic, reason and fact checking mucking up the works!

Somewhere near the intersection of no impulse control and bad grammar Chris of ALS / Absolute Locksmiths & Security / – posted the following drivel on my blog;

Your a small mined prick who simply did not understand BNI. I have been in BNI for a long time and made a lot money from it,and made a lot of other members money from my own efforts. It just shows you don’t understand it and this is why you failed badly at BNI. The only saga is you. Grow up and wake up to the real world you sad twat…


Chris is from England. I’ve always looked down on the British.  This is the country that gave us boiled beef, warm beer, bad teeth and Benny Hill.  The once great empire reduced to following the USA into Iraq like a pup on a rope.  If you were to write a book about England this would be the title;

England 800 Years of Failure: From owning India and America to following orders like a good doggy. 

It’s a deserving end for all of your pompous pageantry and foppy faux royalty.  But at least you have Big Fucking Ben right?

Consider this; when the Ford Motor Company (who makes some of the shittiest cars on the road) purchased British automotive standard bearer Jaguar in 1990 Jaguar’s quality actually went up.  How bad do you have to be at making cars to get taken to school by Ford?  We have Intel, Google, and Cisco Systems and the best of your technology is worse than fucking Ford.  (And I don’t want to hear this Bletchley Park we invented the computer Allen Turning bullshit.  I haven’t seen dick out of the place since the 1940s)

The one thing that you Brits have always had over Americans is that you sound smarter and more refined than us.  You have better delivery and diction.  You put the average British plumber next to the average American surgeon 9 out of 10 people are going to want the plumber to remove their appendix.  Brits simply sound smarter than Americans.  But poor Chris missed out on the one inbred benefit to being British (but not the actual inbreeding) sounding smarter.  Because when you read what Chris read it’s pretty clear that it doesn’t sound real smart.

My final comment on England before moving on to BNI; there are exactly two reasons why you British bitches aren’t dressed up in lederhosen serving superior beer to your German masters;

1)     The USA

2)     The English Channel

Because without the USA and the English Channel your cloudy little island nation would have suffered exactly the same fate as France, but without the good food and hot women.  So show some respect and appreciation the next time you are inclined to call an American a twat, you twat.  You will eternally owe us.

Now that I’ve used most of our regularly scheduled broadcast to bag on our wooden toothed British brethren I don’t have a lot of time to expose BNI for the fraud that it is.  So for the sake of brevity let’s just do a little math.  These are all round numbers from the BNI chapter than I belonged to (note the glorious past tense)

Our BNI chapter had approx 30 members and our chapter earnings were approx $60,000.  Average chapter member earnings are $2000 each for the year.  When you subtract your yearly dues of $600 the average member in my chapter earned $1400.  If each BNI chapter member averaged 4 hours of BNI related activities for 48 weeks a year that would mean the average member in my BNI chapter would have invested 190 hours in BNI.  So if each member earns on average $1400/yr divided by 190 hours per year that means they have profited approx $7.30 for each hour spent on BNI activities. 

So the assertion that Chris made is that I didn’t “get” BNI.  It was my fault that we didn’t turn up a lot of business though BNI is false.  The math is clearly on my side.  Our chapter is one of the better performing local chapters and I brought in near our chapter average of $2000 which works out to somewhere around $9/hr for me.  A miserable result.

Here is the why I’m annoyed with BNI.  Because they sell false hope and they take advantage of the weak.  I regularly see people come though the BNI meetings who’s business is down on it’s luck because of the current economic circumstances.  They hard sell BNI membership as a solution to their sales slump.  They give the illusion that this is a great sales and marketing tool when the to prospective members while hiding the actual performance of the organization.  Of course if they told prospective members the truth that the average member earns between $5 to $10 an hour.  Some less, some more.  No one would join.



28 Responses to “Should I Join BNI?”

  1. Nick said:

    I went to a BNI breakfast today, networking should really help my business, but BNI seems very cultish it seems that the value of a chapter comes from its members, so why am I asked to pay 500 pounds to an multi-level organisation when it’s really the grass root members who are my advocates.
    One of the directors gave an acrostic sermon, based on RECESSION, all I can remember is the word recession.
    I thank you for your blog, as it helped precipitate the unease I felt from their hard sell tactics.
    (on a lighter note, have you actually been to France?)

  2. Grumpy Nerd said:

    I’ve never been to France. The entire above article was based on my view of Europe formed from the movie “A Fish Called Wanda”, various Monty Python skits and the BBC show “Top Gear.”

    The Germans do make much better cars and beer than the British.

    I firmly believe that the statue of limitations has run out on England for the crimes of Benny Hill. So I shouldn’t bag on you for that.

    On a more serious note. The average member in our chapter didn’t earn a lot though BNI. A few (2-3) did alright. But for the majority it was a complete waste of time and money. Myself included.

    If you sell something very generic on the that everyone could use on the retail level you might do OK; insurance, banking, cable tv/internet. If you are doing business to business type selling it’s most likely going to be a giant waste of time and it will suck away energy from your more profitable sales channels.

  3. Peter said:

    Grumpy Nerd
    Great comments about BNI and you have decsribed brilliantly, the ficticous leads and the bullshit fed to the suckers( paying members)
    I resigned after six months in the chapter because I had enough of the propaganda and had grown weary of the phony leadership and MLM all stars.
    When I joined BNI they never informed me that my breakfast dues were $780 ( paid every 2 months in advance) and eventtually increasing to $1320 when the chapter moved 20 miles to a new location without a membership vote.
    The real cost of the membership starts out at $430 per year, breakfast dues and another couple of hunderd dollars per year in training fees, which by the way you have to pay in order to be allowed to perform your 10 min presentation.
    The only people that seemed making money from chapter referrals in the chapter semed to be the real estate person, the dentist, and maybe the home improvement salesperson.
    Out of loyalty to the group I agreed to use the services of the dentist, I went there for an” exam” or teeth cleaning”
    he was out of network on insurance and charged me $450 for a teeth cleaning. he also informed
    me that Ineeded gum work done and that this would cost $7600 but he would discount me 20%.
    No thanks I had a quote already from anotyh dentist
    for $1400!
    Eventually I had enough and resigned via email .

  4. JackDonlan said:

    I posted on another thread. A few other things. They don’t understand that the attendance policy is too strict. They should follow the 80% rule of law school which would be 5 cuts per 6 months. A solo guy, like a computer guy, is not going to be able to make enough meetings. MM, go to BNI or do a closing? What if I have court-appointed apperance? Thanks to your blog to convince me to fire BNI. Misner has a great scam going, no doubt. Kudos to him, he got 3 years out of me, no more.

  5. Mr Taylor said:

    I agree that Chris has freely demonstrated that he is an illiterate and abusive nitwit.

    However, did you know that he is also black?

    Will you be as quick to ascribe his apparent lack of intelligence to his ethnicity, as you are to his nationality? Maybe you’ve always looked down on black people, as well as the British. You might also go on to say that black Africans are primitive and uneducated, and therefore better off being enslaved by white Americans.

    But I very much doubt it.

    Of course, I have no idea what Chris’s ethnicity is. (Or what yours is, for that matter.) But I use this to illustrate that your argument would have immeasurably more integrity if you rose above cheap nationalism and stuck to the simple facts of why he is an idiot. After all, it was he who made himself look foolish with his lack of a logical argument and childish name-calling. It would be far smarter for you to leave him down at that level instead of choosing to join him there.

    I’m also disappointed that you used his email address to identify his business, when he entrusted it to you in good faith that his email, while required, would not be published.

    By the way, with regard to speaking German, research the etymology of the word “dollar”. You’ll find that, as an American, you speak a little bit of German almost every day.

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your writing, Grumpy Nerd. But you’re much funnier when you rally against people’s idiocy and personal misgivings, rather than the things over which they have no control.

  6. OBSERVER said:


  7. Mr Taylor said:

    Touchy Brit? Not at all.

    In fact, I’d like to thank you, OBSERVER IN THE USA, for (somewhat loudly) demonstrating that idiocy is a wholly human trait, and that no single nation has yet successfully monopolised it.

  8. Computer-repair-guy said:

    Holy ^%& guys, I have a BNI meeting at 7 AM central time, this is my first one, I run a computer repair business, thought this might be a great way to network with small business’s, and the guy who invited me told me it was free, I just printed out some tri-fold pamphlet’s and some new cards for these guys, are you telling me I gotta PAY for the meeting???(breakfast?)

  9. Martin said:

    Love your writing Mr Taylor & GrumpyNerd. A bit of light entertainment. Have been so stressed trying to find new clients and was thinking of joining BNI, don’t think I will now.

    Carry on with the banter, makes a great read… Think we need a response from grumpy nerd now.

    “AN OBSERVER IN THE UK” and a big ben lover!

  10. Grumpy Nerd said:

    Mr. Taylor,

    It’s simply that I had some amusing anti-British material rattling around in my head. All I needed was some hard liquor and an excuse to apply it in print.

    I’m not above picking on black people. They just don’t amuse me like the British do. And really the black story is more inspiring than the British story. For fuck sake black people are historically the most repressed group of people in American history and now we have a black (well half black) president. Save for your inner city ghettos the black story is actually an inspiring rags to riches up by the bootstraps story.

    But the Brit story is more riches to rags. At one point these fuckers owned and enslaved the entire known world only to have it slowly melt away until all they are left with is one cloudy little island. It’s a sad story of the decline of an empire. What makes it amusing is that in spite of their rather insignificant position in the world they still strut around like the last 300 years didn’t happen and they still own it. For this I will make fun of them.

  11. Learn Your History said:

    Grumpy Nerd,

    Do you even have any idea about our history?! Most Americans don’t even know their own - all 200 years of it! The Queen is still the recognised Queen of 16 countries, and recognised ruler of many more. That’s just a small dose of education for you. We have a more glorious and commendable history in one bloody chapter of our books, than you do in your whole existence. We’re so minute, that we reside in the most expensive houses in the world, in the financial capital of the world, and have the most widely followed sports in the world. We are also one of the fashion capitals of the world, and have probably the most beautiful countryside in the world. Our air force is the best in the world, our secret service is the best in the world… I could go on.

    It’s also funny that you think we’re your puppets! We are your allies - there’s a huge difference. We’re about as puppetised to you, as you are to countries such as Venezuela and their communist Presdient. You disagree with their regime, but you wouldn’t dare jeopardise the oil they supply you with.

    Clearly, you know nothing of class. How can you, as a Top Gear viewer, seriously think that Ford have improved Jaguar? Improving to you might mean using plastic dashes and cheap material. For others it’s about the driving experience. As an American, you have no cars that can fulfill that experience. Try picturing an Aston Martin, a Rolls Royce, a Bentley, a Caterham… I won’t go on.

    It annoys me to think that you have absolutely no idea about the rest of the world. I’m disappointed for you.


  12. Grumpy Nerd said:


    Please allow me to retort with a little history lesson for you. In 1940 your countrymen were thrown out of continental Europe of Europe by the Germans. So weak was your military and so bad were your weapons and tactics that your soldiers had to be evacuated from Dunkirk by anything that would float.

    It wasn’t until 4 years later that a flotilla of mostly American made ships led by an American general safe under the cover of American planes landed on the beaches of France and re-took Europe.

    Sure there were some Brit and Canadian troops there but by and large France was re-taken by Americans. Most of the Allied material was supplied by America with some bit-technologies invented by the Brits but vastly improved upon by superior American technology (radar).

    Without the contributions of America how would your country ended up? Here is how; the Germans and Russians would have ended up in a stalemate with the Eastern property lines re-drawn. German industry out of touch from British forces would have continued to churn out airplanes and ships and would have eventually invaded your cloudy little island nation and subjugated your people. And for that you and your countrymen will ALWAYS owe America you’re lives and your everlasting gratitude.

    Much like your food your countryside also sucks. I’ve shit bigger than you’re highest mountain peak (3200ft is really more of a hill). Here in the USA we don’t have one large hill we have dozens of mountain ranges. We have we have 70 mountain peaks over 14,000ft. We have literally thousands of peaks both more scenic and taller than that little pimple of a hill you have. We’re surrounded by the Atlantic and the Pacific. We have more beachfront land
    than you have land. The USA is simply the best piece of property in the world.

    To sum up. Fuck the queen. Fuck your foppy acccent. Fuck your terrible food and warm beer. And most importantly fuck you.

    You’re pal -Grumpy Nerd.

  13. Black Effen Bolt said:

    I remember you.

  14. Black Effen Bolt said:

    Having said that, The Last Superpower didn’t ask China about that title… and the sun is setting on its empire as well. After WW2 the US is 0-1-whatever in wars. The US doesn’t build anything anymore. So as the US economy struggles under the weight of the aging Baby Boomers, their subsequent generations of over-entitled silver-spoon, fat, lazy something-for-nothing people will also look fondly back, and have not even the glamor of the UK’s reality-show-that-is-the-royals to comfort them.

  15. Colin said:


    you started off with a very interesting blog but then started laying into my country for no apparent reason. Anyway, I will try to forget these outbursts and give my two cents worth, well at least two pence worth.

    I had considered joining BNI until they told me about the £600 for the first year plus breakfast at £10 a time. Considering you can get a much better and bigger breakfast at any pub in London for £5, it’s not hard to see where they make a large part of their income.

    At the chapter I attended there was one guy there who I believe was quite senior within that actual chapter who was going through the application process and telling me how he could get me loads of work(he’s a backend developer, I’m a front end web designer) and was very nearly taken in by it. When you mention a pyramid scheme, I’m wondering if he gets a kickback from it at all.

    To those who say givers gain, I completely agree with you. But I’ve come to realize its very easy to do that without paying £1100 a year for the priviledge.

  16. Grumpy Nerd said:


    You miss-understand. I wasn’t making fun of your country just the people that live there and your near complete inability to build a machine that isn’t affected by electrical short circuits. Your countrymen’s fear of flavored food and you’re early capitulation to Germany both politically and militarily.

    You’re country and land is average. Not terrible but also not great. Sort of the European version of Ohio. It’s better than Africa but doesn’t match the grandeur of Germany or France and it certainly pales in comparison to America.

    No worries Colin someone has to be average.

  17. Andreas Wiedow said:

    Looong back in history when there were no bridges a Bavarian army marched towards England to conquer. When they arrived at the Isar (small river crossing Munich) they lined up and with a ‘Oans, Zwoa, Gsuffa’ (one, two, drink in Bavarian dialect) they emptied the Isar. Later they arrived at the Rhine River which was much bigger. ‘Mocht nix’ (doesn’t matter) said the commander, ‘Oans, Zwoa, Gsuffa’, Rhine river was empty and the Bavarians marched on. Finally they arrived at the Channel, by far the biggest they had seen. They lined up and with an ‘Oans, Zwoa, Gsuffa’ the Channel was empty. The Bavarians marched on. All of a sudden all the waters came back. ‘Mocht goar nix, sauf mer au no leer’ (doesn’t matter we can do that again), ‘Oans, Zwoa, Gsuffa’ Channel empty, Bavarians marching on. In sight of the English coast they noticed the English standing on the rocks following their commander . . . ‘A one a two a piss, a one a two a piss . . . ‘ So it was not literally that the Bavarians took the piss out of them . . . but finally why they failed . . . Cheers.

  18. Joey said:


    It’s “your” not “you’re” - you made the mistake twice in your last post, so it wasn’t an innocent typo. Methinks you need an English lesson… come over the water to where your language comes from so we can put you straight, mate…

  19. Grumpy Nerd said:


    You’re a twat.

    Is that better?


  20. Notlim 56 said:

    Guys, thanks a million. I’m sitting here with a BNI invitation on my desk doing the Google thing to find out more.

    Now I’m rolling in my office floor literally laughing my ass off at your insightful comments.

    This is the most fun I’ve had at work in a month. You’ve made my day with your wit, frankness and insight.

    I’ve not only learned about BNI today but I got a pretty good history lesson.

    This was good!

  21. London Calling said:

    Isn’t the founder of BNI an American ?!

    By the way, England is actually quite sunny most days.

  22. Joey_Chaos said:

    The founder of BNI is american.

    and englis beer may be warm, but american beer is tasteless.

    why is american beer like shagging in a row boat?

    its f@*%ing close to water!

    south africa has by far the greatest beer….suppose we have to, makes it a little more tolerable to live here!

    been in BNI for 7months myself, typing my resignation as we speak. no good for anyone with a niche market!

  23. Lee said:

    I went to a BNI meeting recently and knew immediately there was something “amiss” whilst I was sitting awaiting the arrival of my “mentor” The conversation sputtered out comments such as … “you can only” and “you must” it also seemed strange that an entire table was surrounding a meek looking lady whos specialty area was gift baskets. (I suppose she will be the next BNI gift basket making millionaire?) anyway… after some time sitting there and no mentor, a few people came up to me and started in on me right away with questions, and of course selling their platform. There was also great curiosity of who I was and where was my BNI mentor??? No wonder he seemed a bit annoyed I forgot to meet him in the restaurant lobby instead of finding the room myself. I guess I wasn’t suppose to enter the cult zone before the appointed time. Long story short as I could go on and on… The best advice I ever got was from my mother and father, FOLLOW YOUR GUT INSTINCTS… if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, flies like a duck… its a duck. well, I ducked outta there afterwards and never looked back.

  24. Ivan Misner said:

    Dear Grumpy

    Clearly you (and others who have posted on this page) had a bad experience in BNI. I am sorry for that. I take pride in the fact that many business people around the world have benefitted from our program.

    I started BNI in 1985 to help people generate more business through referrals. I believed that referrals where the strongest way to build a business. I also understood that people weren’t taught how to network in school and there was a general lack of understanding in how to generate a referral-based business.

    It was my goal to create a structured program that provided an environment for people to generate those referrals. BNI does that. There have been multiple independent studies including a doctoral study (not including mine) and other independent studies that have documented the fact that in any given year we pass millions of referrals and generate billions of dollars in business for our MEMBERS. Clearly, that was not your experience. It may be possible that the numbers you stated in your original post were accurate for your group - I don’t know. I can tell you that the average number is far higher. In either case, that wasn’t your experience and I wish that were not the case. I would like for every person in BNI to have a good experience.

    For the record, BNI regions are locally owned and operated as a franchise (it is not an MLM) and we must meet all federal requirements for a franchise.

    We’ve been around for over 28 years. We have 6,200 groups in 50 countries. It’s working in many ways for a lot of people.

    I get it that you didn’t have a good experience. I get it that your blog is about rants on issues you are “grumpy” about. But, calling me a con-man. That’s more than grumpy.

    Your knowledge of me as a person and businessman comes from your bad experience in my organization. I invite you to reach out to me personally. You have my email address as part of this post. Contact me. If you are in Southern California - meet me. Come visit BNI HQ. You will see many employees working hard to help people all around the world build their business through a structured referral program. More importantly, talk to me. You may not change your opinion of how BNI can work for businesses. But I would be genuinely surprised if you didn’t change your opinion of my intentions.

    I truly believe that one person may not be able to make a world of difference but they can make a difference in the world. I am trying to make a difference for business people around the world by helping to provide them with the system, structure, and training to build their business through referrals.

    I love my business. I love what my business does for many people. I welcome a dialog with you about this further.

    Ivan Misner

  25. Grumpy Nerd said:

    Oh Ivan….

    I’ll dispatch with my usual sarcasm based humor and speak to you frankly.

    I’m sure you’re great guy in person, an exceptional leader and it’s clear that you’re successful. I think your business network is effective over a very narrow range of low end retail vertical markets.

    With that said; I believe BNI is over sold and over hyped. The reality for most members is that it’s an expensive waste of time. My experience with BNI was that the handful of successful members were very successful at the expense of the majority. It worked for basic low end retail level type business referrals; retail level banking, computer repair business, cable TV business, basic insurance services. Products and services that nearly 100% of us consume on a daily basis.

    It doesn’t work for high end professional services businesses for the simple reason that the high level corporate decision makers don’t participate in BNI. It’s entry level networking for entry level businesses. Maybe it was my mistake for not taking the pulse of the room before joining. Maybe I should have looked past the hype and sales pitch and evaluated the demographic of the average member; mostly entry level sales people, work from home businesses, part time businesses and the like. If I would have taken the time to gauge the membership I would have realized that none of the members fit the profile of our target customer; corporate decision maker and I would have walked away. Maybe my fault for believing the hype and sales pressure to join.

    But part of me believes that the BNI organization lives for the churn of the sucker. Sure you help the handful of members that sell to the low end retail product and service market but if you have a 30 member chapter with a 100% retention rate that chapter is only going to clear $12,000 (our dues were $400) a year. If you churn 150 people though the same chapter in a year you’re netting $60,000 in dues. So I have to believe that part of the basic BNI business model is membership churn. Further for the few chapter members that do benefit from BNI are going to see 120 more potential customers in a given year. Great for them too. Not so great if you’re one of the members that paid your dues, spent time at the meetings and 1 on 1s and got little to nothing in return.

    I also don’t appreciate the undercurrent theme “failure is your fault and success is due to the BNI system.” Failure could be the member or it could be that the demographic of entry level sales people and work from home business people aren’t of the caliber you need to succeed at your sales endeavor.

    The referral “show”is just that. It’s built as a sales ploy to the unsuspecting member prospects in the room to hook them. It’s a ruse. You see all of that “business” being passed and they want to plug into that for yourself. What they don’t understand is that the majority of those referrals are complete shit. I received many referrals from members asking me to do free stuff for them. The referrals that weren’t asking for favors were just complete garbage. Low end, minuscule revenue trash engagements that didn’t meet our minimum client spend. Not even close. Again; good retail level sales but not even in the ballpark for what we need to sustain our business let alone profit. Then when you tell the referring member that the sale doesn’t meet our minimums I’m the dick… because I want to stay in business.

    Finally; maybe BNI is a good jump start into business networking; but in my opinion it isn’t. It’s fabricated. It’s forced. It’s scripted. Maybe it’s the thing for people without any interpersonal skills. To me networking is business being done by people that know, like and trust each other. I think something with more community involvement, a less structured approach and based around real long term relationships. Your local chamber of commerce. Thats real networking. It’s the difference between speed dating and a lifelong romance. There is simply no comparison for selling into the B2B market.

    Congratulations for creating a true global business empire. It’s an amazing personal and business accomplishment. I think it can work well for certain sectors of the B2C sales market but the unfortunate side of it is that it’s ineffective for most B2B sales especially at the higher end of the B2B market but yet it’s sold as the best sales and marketing tool available. I feel as though I’ve been conned.

  26. Erik Gibson said:

    Our average chapter member brought in $1,900 after (direct) expenses as a result of belonging to BNI. That comes out to approx $9.50 per hour spent on BNI activities. That is a pathetic return on time invested.

  27. Rebekah T. Church said:

    So to answer to the question that is often asked about promoting both the products and the business opportunities, it’s important, I think, to first have an understanding of the cultural context that permeates the entire BNI organization. Most BNI members understand that. That is we believe that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. It’s about cultivating those long term relationships with people and -this is really important- each BNI chapter is made up of a variety of professions and there is only one professional classification in any individual chapter. Nobody else in the same business or profession is allowed to represent that. That is kind of an important aspect of the MLM issue.

  28. scott said:

    dictatorial@hettys.rejects” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info!…

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