We have been trained to have opinions, always. If you don’t possess opinion on certain things, you are looked upon as an unattractive, a fool or a boring person. We are often forced to have opinions because they are the ice breakers at social gatherings. In most cases, things like Politics, Cricket, Movies & Gadgets are always the topics of possessed opinions.
There is nothing wrong in having opinions about things. The problem lies in having an opinion on each an everything in the world, whether you know enough to have one or not. Opinions are dangerous to have especially when you want to grow in your life. To have an opinion is a skill as well as a responsibility of being humble enough to listen someone who hold exactly opinion and to change our opinion based on facts. We seldom do this.
Furthermore, we rarely see a person refusing to portray his opinion on certain subject matter. Imagine a friend asking you, “What do you think about the newly elected UP CM?”. In response, you reply, “Frankly, Neither I know much about UP Politics nor about the background the new CM. I am not sure whether it’s good or bad.” It’s odd to say this, isn’t it? You feel withdrawn by saying this and you don’t want to seem fool, so you pick an opinion which is widely accepted on media about a person because that prevents you from being a fool. Here, a bias called, Social Proof is at play.
Additionally, Our opinions are always binary, and mostly it’s influenced by our preconceived notion over matters in past. As I said, we can’t afford to have neutral opinion. I think, it’s not in our genes. You have conclude something in good thing or bad thing. There is no way out.
The other reason to have quickest opinion through social proof is because it needs enormous amount of mental capital to process information, interpret it and coming to an appropriate conclusion. The proper thinking also gives you pointer when to change the opinion if the new information come across you. These things take lot of time and mental discipline, in the generation of FB, WhatsApp and Instagram who is that free to spare 30 minutes to research about something before forming an opinion.
The reason for writing this whole thing is not to preach you over it. Like other posts, it’s reminder to my own self about not jumping to an opinion without processing enough data. I learnt somewhere, when you write something down, it clears your mind and it also helps you to think more clearly. The whole purpose was this only. Nothing else. 🙂
Since long, I wanted to write a review about BNI and my experience with it. I have been a member of BNI since 13th of September 2016. It’s almost been 6 months now. I will take you through what is BNI, how it works, costs involved, advantages & drawbacks. Please note, these are all my personal opinions and only influenced by activities of Surat South Region. I haven’t visited any other chapters or regions till now so I don’t know much about them.
What is BNI – Business Network International ?
BNI is an organisation, started by Ivan Misner in mid 1980s. It started out as a group meeting where different business owners used to meet at a place and they exchanged business referrals. Over a period, these meetings got more refined and it got a successful and proper structure to conduct those meetings to reap sweetest fruits.
Members of BNI meet on weekly basis on a same day of the week at the same time for 2 hours. I will take you through the meeting structures and activities involved later in the article.
BNI is divided in Regions in India. Surat South is one of the region. These regions have Chapters and I am a member of BNI Benchmark Chapter in Surat South Region.
What is a Chapter?
A Chapter consists of varieties of Business Owners from different categories. To avoid competition, one chapter can have only one person from such category. A chapter can be formed once it reaches 25 members. I am sharing list of BNI Benchmark Members so that you can get the idea.
Also, Leadership Team is chosen from this chapter and then LT takes care of the operations of the chapter on weekly basis. The chapter gets support from Regional Directors as and when needed. In our case Mr. Gaurav Singhavi and Dr. Nidhi Singhavi are the Regional Directors.
Link : https://goo.gl/fZn5v8
Some of the BNI Jargons
Weekly Presentation : In Weekly Presentation, Every Member has to present his business in 30 Seconds. He can add varieties of information he wants. He can also ask for specific referrals. Below is my 30 Seconds.
Hello Everyone. Good Morning.
I am Mihir Naik from MultiPack. I represent Corrugated Boxes Manufacturing.
We manufacture & supply Packaging Boxes/Cartons as per customer’s requirements in various quality grades, shapes, designs & styles.
We are in this business since 1996 and our esteem clientele consists of Garden Silk Mills, Kejriwal Group, Eagle Group, Kribhco, Euro Foods, Zota Healthcare and much more.
I want you to connect me to Mr Ashok Kejriwal of Harmony Yarns.
Mihir Naik from MultiPack
In weekly presentation, all members make note of what other members are asking. If anyone
Referrals : Referral are like leads. If one of my friends needs TV and he ask me for it. I connect him with a very good supplier who is Gaurav Shah from Pushpa Electronics who represent Home Electronics in BNI Chapter. I refer my friend to Gaurav. Whether the business will convert or not is totally depends on dealings between them. WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO TAKE ANY COMMISSIONS OR BROKERAGE. This works purely on Givers Gain philosophy.
Thank you Notes : If I have given a referral to Gaurav. He is able to convert it into a business. Then he will get the payment in his Bank. Once he gets the payment. He has to give me Thank you note. Because I helped him converting business worth rs. 70k for example. So these thank you notes are recorded once the member receives payment.
One to Ones : To give more business to fellow members, you first have to understand his/her business. BNI Members are encouraged to meet personally on one to one basis with properly structured BIO Sheet, Contactsphere and Last 10 Clients. We meet with each other and exchange referrals. As per my opinion, ONE to ONES ARE THE BEST BUSINESS CONVERTERS. A typical one to one takes around 3-4 hours.
BNI Benchmark Meetings are conducted every Tuesday. It starts at 7.30 and ends at 10.00.
7.30 AM to 8.00 AM = Open Networking over High Tea
Meeting New Visitors and Fellow Members, Followup on Referrals passed.
8.00 AM to 9.30 AM = BNI Benchmark Meeting
8.00 to 8.20 = Welcome & Educational Slot
8.20 to 8.50 = Weekly Presentation & Asking Referrals
8.50 to 9.10 = 2 BNI Members Presentation(8 mins Each)
9.10 to 9.30 = Passing of Referrals, Thank you Notes & Testimonials
9.30 AM to 10.00 AM = Open Networking over Breakfast
These meetings are conducted in timely manner and BNI Culture is very strict with timings. That’s a good part.
Costs Involved in BNI
BNI is NOT an MLM scheme. You don’t get paid when you join another member. You get paid by converting more business with the help of other members. It’s as simple as that. So nothing fishy about their model.
Still there are several costs involved and I want to share it with practicality.
First Year Registration Fees : 4,715/- (includes taxes)
First Year Membership Fees : 25,934/- (includes taxes)
Weekly meeting Fees (800/- x 52 Weeks) : 41,600/- (Generally paid in Cash at Venue)
These costs include cost of venue, projector, sound, breakfast, stationary etc.
Other events fees (Approx) : 5,000/-
These costs include Social Gatherings with Family, Door Prizes etc.
So a rough figure comes to 78,000/- per year.
You get to meet lot of new people. It’s a big plus.
You get to know about certain business you never knew existed.
You create great bonds with some of people and you get very good friends from there because you are meeting them on weekly basis. And believe me, the week rotates very fast. 😀
Your network becomes strong and you get to know about cultures of different businesses.
All the fellow members are your sales rep, they are constantly thinking to give you references because incentives are set in such a way that in BNI meetings, the givers are rewarded the highest.
You also learn some Business Etiquette, Manners and how you have to conduct yourself.
You are given access to BNI Global Connect where you can find and connect with any BNI Member across the world. If you want form a partnership overseas than this platform gives you change to do it.
One to Ones also gives you access to some of the best insights in the industry. BNI fellow members put more trust on you and shares some of the information which you never knew. It’s useful to build perspectives. It’s important.
BNI Meetings are meticulously structured and it only talks about Business. There are no random rants like Politics and other matters discussed. There are not sub-agendas like Charity, Public Awareness or things like these are involved. BNI is purely for business. You give business to others. Others will give business to you.
Your whole BNI experience depends on the members of BNI Chapters. The more powerful your fellow members are, the more response you are stand to get. So when you join a chapter, see to it whether the chapter consists of powerful net-workers or not.
It eats up lot of time. Put aside 10-12 hours out of your week. If you cant dont join BNI. Otherwise you won’t be able to contribute in proper way. In turn, you will end-up generating less referrals. Highest business is converted by the one who gives highest referrals. The data shows the same in Surat South region.
Attendance policy is very strict. You can not have more than 3 absent in rolling 6 months. You can send substitute for 3 times to the meetings. Substitutes are not considered absent. So you can stay away only 6 times out of 26 times. If you work involves lot of travel then it’s not for you.
BNI Review – Conclusion :
Last 6 months experience has been great in BNI Benchmark. I was able to convert 3 good leads and I am doing good business out of it. Also, my business is continuous in nature so I stand to get regular business out of those 3 customers. There are few more leads are under conversion. I am hoping to convert them in future. All of the members have been very cooperative and they were very aggressive in helping me out. .
Whether you will have the same experience or not is totally dependent on the business you are in and the chapter you get into. However successful your product may be, you wont be able to convert more business if the members of the chapters doesn’t carry great authority and experience. So look it before you join.
More often than not, I am surrounded by the questions regarding future.
How future will impact us 50 years down?
What tech are going to be prominent?
What are the high growth industries for next 20 years?
How to be a part of growth tides?
Which countries will be in better geo-political positions?
And I am daily surrounded by task like,
Reading a pending book
Meeting the new lead for business
Revert Call to a friend
Other pending tasks
Long awaited discussion with prominent person on some topic
Lately, what I have observed is the more I indulge on futuristic questions which are more ambiguous in nature, the more I loose on productivity front. There is no definite answers to futuristic question. All we can do is to assume, to form an opinion and wait for the unfolding of facts.
But the same brain storming destroys the balance, eats out lot of time and I loose much on productivity front.
So I have started following this filtration.
I ask myself, Whether it’s a imaginary question or a real question?
If it’s a real one than I continue, if it’s an imaginary one I write it down and keep it for a weekend.
I avoid discussions on those topics with people, I avoid thinking about it, I avoid reading about it. I read, talk, think and discuss in weekend. I form an opinion and write it down. So it avoids ambiguity. I revisit once in a while and track what’s happening on those fronts like Solar Energy, Electric Cars, Artificial Intelligence, Algo Trading and much more.
It has helped me to narrow my focus and priorities. I clearly know what has to be done in working hours by knowing what has not to be done in working hours! Charlie Munger you see!
At the current moment, I am very clear about my 3 month challenge & 2 year challenge. I know what has to be done. I miss out sometimes on getting things done but its okay. Avoiding imaginary questions has cleared lot of rooms for me to focus on real ones.
I am feeling more productive and helping to getting things done faster.
Hope the same will help you as well.
Last thing, as soon as you find yourself spending time on Imaginary Questions, just bookmark it and move to a Real Question!
Emotions are also like stock market where it has tendency to wave the pendulum on one side or another. Often times we are in emotionally drained & down situation and sometimes we are in over-confident situation.
It’s never centred & still. The one who is successful in balancing this state and keep on execution wins the race in longer run. It doesn’t matter what he is pursuing.Continue reading
It’s been a while since I wrote a last blog post. Lots of things were going and I am sure the same is the case with you. The new year has started and we have embarked on a new journey.
As a tradition, I was writing few resolutions year on year but I wont do this time. There are several lessons I learned in past 1-2 years which I want to share with you here. When I write a blog post generally it’s less for you but more for me.Continue reading
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. Martin Luther King, Jr.
My simple question is, Do you think our current education serves the above purpose?
On the contrary, It not only defies the purpose but work against it. It’s teaching students not to use their creativity and tell them to mug up the same essay on Gandhiji and write down in exams.
If student is given to use internet for only 5 mins after 45 mins lecture, I’m 100% sure that student is going to have 10 times more information than a teacher standing and speaking there. Let’s agree to this fact.
Today, it has been very easy to access information compared to earlier days when you needed refer hundreds of books and newspaper articles to gather concentrated information.Continue reading
My CA Final November 2014 exams ended on 21st November and I planned a short trip to nearby places. I am actually preparing for Trip to Goa by Road so this was a kind of warm-up trip having 300 Kms each day.
One more thing is, I bought Riding Jacket and Riding Boots for better safety so I wanted to check whether I feel comfortable riding my motorcycle or not. For that, short but long trip must be there to check out all the issue. 😀
Shirdi Route is combination of all type of roads. 😀 Hills, Cities, Villages, Roads with Patches, No Roads (Sometimes) and so on. So the trip was very good in experience. 🙂
Here, I am sharing some images taken on route, route map, my luggage and my expenses.
Not all of us are same. While a financially secure job is all most men look for, there are a few of us who are just not made for the ‘office’ picture. There is so much more we want from life than just coffee breaks, appraisals and privileged leaves. And there is no way we’re settling in for anything less satisfying. If you think you’re one of us, this one goes out to you! Here are 20 signs you’re just not meant for a 9-5 desk job.Continue reading
Being a student of commerce, I have heard, read and mugged Corporate Social Responsibility so many times. For the first time, I am personally being a part of Corporate Social Responsibility.
I am writing this post as a part of an initiative by Franklin Templeton Investments, named “The Idea Caravan “. Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012. In this event few speakers came forward to share their innovative story which is solely in betterment of India. I believe, participation and support of Franklin Templeton Investments was a contribution towards the society, by whatever name you call it.