High energy costs, increased taxes and normal wages out of line with the pace of inflation, all connect to the fact that there is not as much money to go around as there used to be. While most Maltese businesses today are working harder to survive the current difficult economic reality, a number of these companies are realising that, when marketing their products and services, they should return to basics – but in an innovative way.
Perhaps this is the reason behind the success of Business Network International (BNI) in Malta. BNI is an organisation that virtually guarantees customer leads for its members. In the short span of 20 months, BNI Malta established chapters in Sliema, Valletta and Attard with a fourth one being set up in St Julians, all offering highly motivated business people a structured format for passing of business referrals during weekly breakfast meetings finishing no later than 9am, so that they won’t interrupt the flow of the business day.
BNI Malta is now planning a Visitors Day for Friday 5 October at Corinthia Palace Hotel, Attard. Starting at 6.45am, this is an opportunity for visitors to get to know how BNI works, meet other BNI Malta members hailing from the four chapters, as well as other business people, and ultimately, develop one’s own business by growing the respective chapter network. It is estimated that, initially, each visitor to a BNI’s Visitors Day represents at least €1,000 of business (even if they don’t join).
David Bullock, National Director of BNI Malta, says: “BNI sponsors Visitors Days to help businesses to grow, to help chapters to increase their membership in quantity and also in quality, and for each business to succeed. Even if the macro economic situation is far from ideal, the rapid growth that BNI is experiencing in Malta, is in line with what BNI is going through in other countries.”
“The main purpose of BNI is to produce sales referrals specifically for our chapter members. We are here to help each other make money. Although still in our initial stage in Malta – BNI was set up 26 years ago in the United States – we already generated over 700 business referrals for our Maltese members leading to tens of thousands of Euros in new business. Not many other business organisations can claim such a record,” he said.
“If you believe that most business comes through networking with whom you know, then BNI is for you. “Our business is to help business do business. We are inviting business people to come and learn how they can generate more business through this dynamic tool called business referral networking.”,” says JanKarl Farrugia from Regus Malta, who today has the role of BNI Malta Ambassador after setting up the Verdala Chapter in Sliema, last year.
“The BNI philosophy can be summed up in two words – Givers Gain – the more people you help grow their business, the more business you get in return. The more Malta opens up to an international dimension via BNI, the more we are realising that there are very few differences between BNI members in the Europe, the Gulf , United States, Australia, or Asia. They are generally so motivated and inspired that they have a distinct edge over their competitors,” said Carmel Bonello from BPC International who founded the de Paule Chapter in Attard earlier this year.
Ivan Azzopardi, Managing Director of Cresta Property Services Ltd, and currently President of La Valette Chapter inValletta, says: “In these 20 months, members of the Maltese chapters also had the opportunity to network with other business people at various other chapters in theUK,Italy,Cyprus,Poland,Vietnam,New Zealand, andSouth Africaamong others. We understand that this ‘open door policy’ is of great value, especially for Maltese businesses.