Story of the Week

This week’s Story of the Week comes from Sue Simmons, a member of Marina BNI. If you have a story that you would like to share, please get in touch with the BNI National Office by emailing:

Marina BNI Lead a Dutch Dash!

Sue Simmonds was delighted to receive an email from Hayley Johnson of BNI Seagull - the first international, English-speaking Chapter in Europe, based in Holland. They had decided to organise a ‘Dutch Dash’ to Yorkshire and wanted to meet up with BNI groups in Hull, York and Harrogate. Having spotted Sue's profile on the BNI website, and seen that she was a Gold Club member, Hayley had decided to get in touch. Keen to meet up, Sue arranged for around 8 members from her Chapter, Marina BNI, to meet the group for a couple of hours which turned out to be "truly inspirational and motivational"

On her return, Hayley said: "You gave us the warmest and most enthusiastic welcome by far and it was greatly appreciated! I think useful contacts were made, inspiration gained and plans for future one to ones! Please know that our doors are open when team BNI Marina would like to do a Dutch Dash - we'd be happy to show you around!" And they're seriously thinking about it!


Dolphins BNI Land TYFTB Success!

Members of Dolphins BNI in Gloucestershire have hit the landmark £1 million of TYFTB after launching less than three years ago! The group managed to double their record of £500,000 from 2012. 

Current Chapter Director, Andy Platts, said, “Reaching a real landmark like this has been a fantastic team effort – everyone in the group has contributed to a really stellar performance over the past 12 months. We’re really looking forward to some more growth over the coming months and years. The BNI model proves that the business generated grows exponentially as the membership increases, so as the economy picks up we are looking to develop the chapter significantly."

Quinnell BNI Share the Love on Valentine's Day!

Director Consultant, Pip Hill-John, was delighted to have all hands on deck for Valentine’s Day, ready for one of the busiest days of the year as a florist. 8 members from Quinnell BNI offered to lend their support and time to help deliver over 150 bouquets. With the help of Guy Griffiths, Executive Director for South Wales, all the flowers were delivered by lunch time! Pip was thrilled - “Thank you to BNI - where would we be without you?” 

BNI's Global Success in 2013! 

The figures are out! Nearly £4 billion was passed in a staggering 5.4 million referrals around BNI’s global network during 2013. These figures come directly from BNI Connect for the very first time and have shown that BNI is even more successful than previously predicted!

We’ve had our own successes here in the UK & Ireland throughout 2013. Check out our News article for the phenomenal figures and facts here

Landmark TYFTB for Victory Chapter in South Wales!

2013 proved to be a landmark year for Victory BNI Chapter, having exceeded £1 million in TYFTB for the very first time since their launch in 2008!

Based in Barry, South Wales, Victory has 26 members with an average seat value of £41,000. They passed over £225,000 in 3 weeks of December alone and improved by 60% on their annual total of £637,000 from the previous year.

We wish everyone a similarly prosperous year in 2014! Congratulations to all!

You’re Hired - Apprentice Firm Celebrates Coming of Age

Business Impact team celebrating success with help of BNI As businesses come and go, a training provider is serving its time by assisting employers to recruit the right young people to exist as the next generation of workers.

Business Impact UK Ltd was formed five years ago with intentions to work nationally with companies of all sizes, to identify their training needs and help them to recruit and train young apprentices.

The Gateshead based company now has a national footprint and has recently enrolled apprentices for companies such as The Co-operative College, Chandlers BMW, PG Legal and WM Morrison PLC supermarket chain. The rise of the company can be attributed to a dedicated sales team, expert trainers who deliver relevant work based skills to the young apprentices and a thriving BNI Chapter. BNI has been an excellent source of business and spin off referrals and has added great value to Business Impact UK. 

Nick Atkinson, UK national sales manager and member of Tyne Bridge Chapter Northumbria region says:

“My 60 second slots have educated the Chapter about what we can offer employers with regard to taking on young apprentices.”

“Business Impact looks after every stage in the recruitment process including writing job descriptions, advertising, screening suitable applicants and interviewing. We then train the successful applicant delivering a relevant apprenticeship. A government grant of £1500 is also available to smaller companies with less than 1000 employees to encourage them to take on younger apprentices.”

“We’ve replicated our apprenticeship programme all around the country and proven how effective our no cost apprentice recruitment service and we’re delighted that our fellow BNI members are spreading the word on our behalf, too.”

“We value our relationship with our national BNI network and look forward to assisting many more employers with their potential apprentice recruitment and training requirements."

The Build a Better Business Conferences are a massive hit!

Our sell-out BABB conferences were a roaring success last week, with each event helping hundreds of business professionals across the UK and Ireland to build better businesses!

With talks from top international speakers, including BNI chairman and founder, 

Dr Ivan Misner, and opportunities to let the business cards fly, BABB was a one stop shop for delegates to become more effective, more successful and more profitable. 

Our speakers were bursting with business networking advice for members;

• Andy Bounds, author of The Snowball Effect, spoke on the ABC of turning referrals into sales: Afters, Building and Choices.

• Ivan Misner and his co-authors of Business Networking and Sex: Not What You Think!, Hazel Walker and Frank DeRaffele, highlighted the differences between men and women when it comes to networking and explained how they can learn from each other to become more trans-relational networkers.

• To top it all off, Ivan’s Ask the Founder session and BNI UK & Ireland National Director, Charlie Lawson’s, Build a Better Business presentation truly put BNI into perspective for members.

What’s more, over £10 million worth of potential business was passed during the three conferences; a staggering amount of money! 

For those of you who couldn’t make it, take a look at the fabulous sketchnotes made by Caroline Chapple – BABB wisdom in a nutshell. You can view them in our Facebook album here. Don’t forget to look out for our ‘Afters’ with lots of clips from each session due to be released over the next few weeks.

We hope that you walked away from BABB13 with the knowledge that you needed to help you to build a better business.


"Givers Gain" - Members sleep rough for local charity

When ‘Givers Gain’, the results can benefit the whole community, and this is exactly what BNI Network Central have proved.

Nine members from the Leeds based networking group pushed the boat out last week by attending their BNI meeting straight from sleeping on the streets.

Helen Beachell, General Manager of charity Simon on the Streets, joined BNI three months ago and she, along with nine fellow networkers, spent a night sleeping rough with just sleeping bags and a cardboard mattress – a nightly reality for many homeless people.

Between them, the group raised more than £2500 for the charity which offers emotional and practical support to those who are at risk of sleeping rough A total of £14,500 was generated by the 120 members of the Leeds business community who took part in the event, which including the BNI members. 

BNI members after sleeping rough

Ms Beachell said: "The support that the business community has shown us for this event has been second to none and the money raised is vital to the charity. Particular thanks to the team from BNI Network Central who have supported the event not only through fundraising, but also through offers of skill-based support.”
"It really is fantastic to see local businesses of all sizes showing their support to a local charity.”

Keeley Edge, the Chapter’s Membership Coordinator, was one of the nine BNI members spending the night on the streets; "The sleep-out was a fantastic event to take part in and definitely makes you realise how hard it must be to sleep rough every night. Although it was a fairly mild night I could not get over the cold. I was wearing three layers and had a sleeping bag and ear muffs.

“Some people think we’re crazy to meet that early every Friday, but there is a great atmosphere at the meetings and – as this event demonstrates – all the members are really supportive of each other. The motto of BNI is ‘Givers Gain’, and that is something that all our group members take very seriously.”

Visit the Simon on the Streets website for more information about the ‘sleep out’:

Business group donates lifeblood

A Newcastle business referral group whose philosophy is Givers Gain has given its most important commitment ever by pledging to help save other people’s lives.

Nurse Tandy caring for Peter Hogg, while he's donating blood platelets.

Members of the Surtees Chapter of BNI decided to donate blood platelets after hearing a talk by nurse, Tandy Pickering of Newcastle’s National Blood Service Centre.

Platelets are disc shaped fragments in the blood, formed in bone marrow and designed to stop bleeding and bruising. Most of the platelets are given to patients whose bone marrow has stopped functioning properly, often due to the chemotherapy they are receiving for cancer or leukaemia.

Nurse Tandy explained how critical the group’s donations of platelets would be: “One platelet donation taking about an hour of your time can save the lives of three adults or 12 babies. There are only about 14,000 donors nationwide so everyone who helps is really making a massive difference to someone’s life.”

BNI member Peter Hogg who is an insurance specialist has been donating platelets for a number of years: “I was already a blood donor and heard how critical it was to have a good supply of platelets available for people who were really ill. The procedure is really simple and not at all painful. Basically blood is taken from my arm and a machine extracts the platelets for use by others. It takes about an hour and the nurses really look after me. I use the time to relax and catch up with my reading “

Another of Peter’s colleagues at BNI, Mansel Weatherall has also been donating and the pair are confident that more members will give up their platelets to help others too: “BNI was founded on the principle that if you help me to get business, I’ll help you too. This is taking that philosophy a step further by helping people to survive terrible diseases and conditions. It is very worthwhile and I’d recommend any one to take that first step by contacting the National Blood Service,” said Peter.

Surtees Chapter of BNI meets every Wednesday morning at The Picture and Piano on Newcastle’s Quayside. For more information on how to visit the chapter contact Lynley Robb at

For more information about platelet donation visit

BNI Tigers opening doors for treatment of childhood cancer

Holly Bond receiving the cheque from BNI TigersThe risk of cancer developing in your child is approximately 1 in 500, which leads to 1,500 new cases per year in the UK alone. As the Fundraising Manager for the charity KidsCan, Holly Bond, member of BNI Tigers based in Manchester, advocates the improvement of methods to detect and cure childhood cancer. The Salford based organisation, which was founded on 2 December 2002 by Professor Alan McGown, has been instrumental in a number of pioneering research projects.

KidsCan has found that some children do not respond well to treatment, when they’ve been administrated with drugs which would normally be used for adults. With their team of dedicated and experienced scientists, KidsCan is developing alternative methods to diagnose and cure children with cancer, giving them, as well as their families, new hope for the future!

“We found an anti-cancer agent, which kills the blood supply to the tumour, causing the cancer cells to die,” explains Holly, “the problem is that these anti-cancer agents are too toxic on childrens’ hearts at the moment, so there’s still a lot of improvement to be done.”

Having no statutory funding, KidsCan relies solely on the support of the public, businesses, trusts and fundraising events. Against this backdrop, it was an even bigger surprise, when after one year of membership in BNI Tigers, KidsCan was given a £1000 donation by the members of the group.

Holly was taken aback by the generosity of her networking colleagues: “Right from the start, it was nice to have these people around and all 31 members clubbing together to support our work was just phenomenal!”

Holly also experienced the power of the BNI network when she asked for a referral – not a normal one – but one for John Bishop. As you’d expect, someone had a contact for him! Holly immediately contacted his agent and asked for John to be the compere at one of KidsCan’s events. Although John wasn’t available, Holly was able to begin building a relationship with him. As always, it shows that you should never underestimate who knows who, because you might be missing out on one of the most important opportunities you’ve ever had!

“We as a charity want to raise awareness,” says Holly, “the generosity of BNI Tigers and the money which they donated was fabulous, but the doors which have been opened through BNI has been amazing!”

Isn’t that what networking is really all about - opening doors?

Insights from Susan Boyle and Anne Hathaway

Well, that got you interested!

When Susan Boyle sang I Dreamed a Dream on Britain's Got Talent, millions of people became swept up in her story. I read countless articles talking about the appropriateness of the song - "Susan dreamed a dream, and her life was transformed forever" and so on. But the song actually isn't about dreaming happy dreams.  As anyone who's seen Anne Hathaway's harrowing rendition of the same song in the recent Les Miserables film will know, the words are about her devastation and despair about how things have turned out for her.

Which goes to show how impactful titles are. They're our first impression. And, if we don't read on, they're our only impression.
Think of the titles you see every day at work - emails ("FYI", "misc"); meetings ("update", "progress"); presentations ("Q2 review", "our credentials"); documents ("our proposal", "risk analysis") and slides "background", "summary")...

Now think of the titles you see outside work - impactful newspaper headlines, eye-catching adverts, interesting-sounding TV and radio shows, books you simply have to buy based on the title alone...

The latter list is so much better. That's not the way it has to be. It's just the way it is. So, make your titles at work better. Include something that grabs and/or benefits the recipient. When you do, they're more likely to read it. When you don't, they might not read it at all. This makes your title their only impression of your communication - not the impact you intended.

Look at your Sent Items to see the standard of your titles. And/or look at today's diary, to see which entries sound interesting. This helps you see how others view your titles. Then, of course, if you think they should be better, improve them.