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My Review of BNI After Just One Meeting

Review of Business Network International (BNI)

Having been invited to a BNI online meeting as I was kickstarting my own non-profit community, RewindConnect, I had a unique opportunity to peek into their operational dynamics. Here's a structured breakdown of my experience and insights from attending a BNI session.

BNI's Operational Structure

BNI mimics a typical corporate structure, complete with a president, vice president, and treasurer at each chapter level, and operates on a franchisor-franchisee model. To open a new chapter, you pay an upfront fee of $60,000, with the franchisor then taking a cut from your chapter's member fees annually. This creates a clear incentive for franchisees to boost their membership numbers to turn a profit.

During my visit, I noted members smartly dressed, some with BNI logos on their backgrounds— a formal setup with around 50 participants from various sectors like SMEs, sales, marketing, and more.

Meeting Experience

The meeting started with a half-hour tutorial on BNI’s networking fundamentals, emphasizing the importance of first impressions—pretty standard stuff. What followed was a one-minute self-introduction from each member. Interestingly, some kicked off with a motivational song, adding a bit of pep to the process.

However, as the meeting progressed through its two-hour agenda, including segments on collaboration successes and individual scorecards detailing referrals and recruitment, it all felt a bit forced. The enthusiastic presentation of what I saw as routine business interactions seemed over the top.

Pros and Cons of BNI


1. Well-structured: Regular meetings, monthly events, and clear reporting keep things organized.

2. Encourages Commitment: The "three strikes you’re out" policy ensures consistent participation.

3. Accountability through Scorecards: Tracks and motivates member activity effectively.


1. Cost-Prohibitive: At $1,600 annually, it’s a steep cost for a networking group.

2. Limited Brand Focus: The spotlight is more on BNI than on individual businesses.

3. Brief Presentation Time: One minute to introduce your business is hardly enough.

4. Rigid Commitment: The structured environment can feel more restrictive than empowering.

5. Forced Dynamics: The emphasis on performance can make genuine business interactions feel transactional and less meaningful.

Personal Reflections and an Alternative: RewindConnect

The main takeaway from my BNI experience wasn't what they offered, but rather what they lacked for someone like me, looking to build a non-profit community focused on authentic, meaningful connections. BNI didn’t tick the boxes for me in terms of fostering the kind of community spirit I envisage.

Consider Joining RewindConnect

If you’re thinking about leaving BNI or seeking a different experience, why not check out RewindConnect? Our community is FREE, less sales-driven, and more about building meaningful relationships that help your business thrive externally, not just internally. Because it's Free, the members criteria are better managed as well.


In essence, while BNI offers a solid structure designed for business growth, it may not suit everyone, especially those looking for deeper, more personal business relationships. RewindConnect fills this gap by offering a platform for those who want to engage at a more meaningful level. Join us to experience the difference.

At RewindConnect, we believe in:

- Deepening connections for long-term collaboration.

- Drawing inspiration and insights from diverse experiences.

- Supporting each other in a non-competitive, enriching environment.

Interested in a community that aligns more with your values?

Join RewindConnect today and start making connections that truly matter.


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