Friday, October 12, 2012

why I won't be taking up the offer of unlimited bacon sandwiches...

(so: bacon sandwiches - who's mouths are watering already...?)

I got up at 5am this morning to drive into Manchester to attend a business networking meeting -  some of you may have already deduced from the time and references to bacon, that this was a BNI event.
(For those who aren't aware, BNI are a world famous business networking club, priding themselves on enabling local businesses to generate £m's of sales leads and referrals for and amongst their members. They're also infamous for meeting at "I didn't know this time of the day existed"-o'clock in the morning, and kick starting people with liberal quantities of coffee and bacon sandwiches.)

Anyways - I'd been identified as a business whose services weren't otherwise represented within this particular group, hence the invitation to 'meet and greet' and maybe sign up. 
And it was a good way to spend a few hours - I've always argued that its good for any business to put itself into situations it wouldn't normally naturally find itself, and given I work all over the country, the opportunity to meet with a 'local' business network seemed interesting...

However, despite the warm welcome, and seemingly limitless amount of bacon sandwiches, I'm not signing up. Not because I don't like bacon, or because I think networking and referrals don't work (its lovely, and they do!), but because the way BNI works is by members' commitment to regularly meeting each week, and given where I am in the time of my life, I can't offer the other members that assurance - and that would only be unfair on them, and ultimately myself, so sadly I'm forgoing the prospect of a weekly bacon sarnie fix...

But its an important reminder about the way we do business: relationships are crucial, and the way relationships prosper and thrive in ways that create mutual benefits is through commitment - and while we might not always be able to offer people in our networks the levels of commitment they might like, there are other ways to keep in touch and remain connected. Some people prefer to do this in person, others, like me, make the most of other means to be able to do so...


  1. Interesting post Adrian; I too have, in the past been invited to partake of the hallowed Bacon Butty, however I also refrained from joining. I am somewhat uncomfortable with A) the cost of joining, which I consider exorbitant and B) am very against the ethos of "No Competitive Member". I have no problem with competition, in fact I welcome it and indeed work alongside and in conjunction with my competitors. I network with the competition. Additionally there are some excellent networking events that require no more than a measly "Tenner" for a good sandwich, coffee/tea, and plenty of candidates. Fergus Brown

  2. I've always felt BNI is not for me as don't like the pressure to make referrals. I do refer frequently through networking but naturally and when there is a good fit. I go to another group regularly and chat to several other web designers which I find helpful ... we all have a slightly different offering and different target market.