Should I Join BNI (Business Networking International)
For your own good don’t join this organization. I’m just putting that title on this article to get the search bots to rank my blog high for that search phrase. I get a lot of “BNI sucks” and “BNI is a waste of time” search traffic. People that search those phrases have already been wronged by the evils of BNI and I end up preaching to the saved. I want to reach out to people pre-cult where I can do them some good.
With a world of things that piss me off on a daily basis why waste anymore bandwidth yapping about the evils of this organization? I’ve been inspired by brother Barack’s call to public service and I can’t think of another way that I can make a positive societal impact in my boxer shorts fueled up on this much cheap liquor. So on with another alcohol fueled anti-BNI rant.
Into the Belly of the Beast
I got a call from one of my former BNI chapter members asking if I could “sub” for him. For you lucky folks that have no idea about BNI protocol, they have a strict attendance policy. If you miss more than a few meetings you’ll be put on probation for poor attendance and may be dismissed. You receive a get out of jail free card if you have someone come to the meeting in your place. This like everything else in the rigid BNI system this rule plays to their advantage. It basically tricks potential suckers into showing up for their meetings where the “visitor hosts” will apply high pressure sales tactics and get them to try and join.
I have to admit I enjoyed visiting my former chapter. I enjoyed it in the same way one “enjoys” their 20th year class reunion when you see that the former Prom queen is shacked up with a tweaking meth dealer, weighs 300lbs and lives in a trailer with 7 kids from a variety of fathers. It is pure scheidenfreud and it is delicious. These suckers are still getting up at the crack of dawn to participate in a 25 moron circle jerk and I’m sleeping in! Internally they all know that this happy delusional exterior masks and perpetuates the lie that BNI is helping any of them which by my calculations it is not.
BNI Chapter Performance Numbers
Aside from my smug self righteousness I walked out of the meeting with the 2008 Chapter performance numbers which completely substantiate my claim that BNI membership is a giant waste of time and money. The numbers are rounded to protect the innocent. Here we go:
$95,000 – 2008 BNI Related Member Revenue
$(22,800) – 2008 Member dues and other BNI member expenses (38 x $600/yr)
$72,200 – 2008 BNI Related Member income after expenses
$ 1,900 – Average BNI Income per member (38 members)
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.
Does $9.50/hr sound like an effective sales channel to you? It doesn’t to me. And when you consider that to earn that $9.50 and hour our average chapter member wasted 10% of his/her work year flagellating other BNI members the opportunity cost is massive. Think about what they could have done if they spent 200 hours in 2008 on more fruitful pursuits. Or just sleeping in?