Many Maltese businesses today are seeking new ways to overcome the challenging economic realities. 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 main reason behind the success of Business Network International (BNI) in Malta. BNI is an organisation that virtually guarantees customer referrals for its members.
In the short span of less than 3 years, Malta BNI established chapters in Sliema, Attard, Valletta and St Julians, with a fifth one set up last September in Birzebbuga. All Malta BNI Chapters offer a structured format for passing of business referrals among highly motivated business people during weekly breakfast meetings.
Other than passing on referrals on to each other, BNI members also enjoy ample opportunity to assist one another with advice, even encouragement, with various issues faced by management on a daily basis. In the process, members get to practice and improve upon vital managerial skills, especially those requiring constant practice, such as public speaking.
Malta BNI is now planning a Visitors Day for Thursday 5th December 2013 at the Phoenicia Hotel, Floriana, to introduce this concept to other businesses. Starting at 6.45am, the Open Day is an opportunity for visitors to get to know how BNI works, meet other BNI members hailing from the five Malta chapters, as well as other business people, and ultimately, develop one’s own business by growing the respective chapter network.
David Bullock, National Director of Malta BNI, will be sharing BNI’s secrets to success through “word-of-mouth” marketing. “BNI sponsors Visitors Days to help businesses to grow, to help chapters increase their membership in quantity and also in quality, and for each business to succeed. BNI in Malta is experiencing rapid growth, and this is in line with what BNI is going through in other countries across the world,” he said
Established in 1985 by its founder Dr Ivan Misner, today BNI has over 6,000 chapters internationally. Last year, BNI members passed over 7 million referrals generating US$3.3 billion worth of business for each other.
“BNI’s main purpose is to produce sales referrals specifically for our chapter members. We are here to help each other make money. Just since January 2013, the five chapters generated over 1,400 business referrals for our Maltese members leading to hundreds of thousands of Euros in new business. Not many other business organisations can claim such a record,” Mr Bullock said.
“If you believe that most business comes through networking with persons whom we 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 Malta BNI Ambassador after setting up the Verdala Chapter in Sliema in 2011.
“Givers’ Gain” are two important and essential words that sum up BNI’s philosophy – 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 whether in 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 in 2012 and is now assisting in the establishment of Wignacourt Chapter in Birzebbuga.
“In these last three years, members of the Maltese chapters had the opportunity to network with other business people at various other chapters in Cyprus, Italy, Poland, Vietnam, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and the UK among others. We understand that this ‘open door policy’ is of great value, especially for Maltese businesses. And this is only the beginning,” said Mr Bullock.
Visitors are reminded to bring plenty of business cards to pass around as they will be meeting many other business professionals.