Business Network International (BNI) is an American franchised networking organisation, which was founded in 1985. They refer their members to grow their business through a structured, positive, and professional referral chain programme that enables them to develop long term relationships. BimalSamal, Executive Director, Kolkata Central Business District (A), BNI, spoke to BE's Kuntala Sarkar about their latest growth strategies.
Q. How many countries do you operate in?
A. BNI is currently present in 72 countries and has close to 2,40,000 members and more than 8,500 chapters. Last year, we crossed 10.1 million referrals globally. When converted to business, it nearly amounts to Rs. 98,277 crore.
Q. What are the main sectors that are you focusing on?
A. We cater to every sector without any specification. From a dentist to an IT professional or even an insurance person, representation from every field can be found in a BNI chapter because it ensures good opportunities for every sector.
Q. How different are the challenges in India?
A. India is a growing market. As of now, I won’t say there are any challenges in Indian market where our growth is concerned. We have been able to penetrate the tier I, tier II and tier III cities like Meerut, Vijayawada, and Siliguri. We don’t see any challenge in the Indian market because of the sheer geography that we have. On a different note, India is currently in the second spot in terms of members of BNI.
Q. What areas does BNI cover and how is it catering to social objectives?
A. Currently, BNI is present in 58 Indian cities. We have member strength of more than 22,000 with 449 chapters. Last year, BNI passed 1,23,000 referrals and did around Rs. 8,411 crore of business in India. In eastern India we operate in Siliguri, Guwahati, and Howrah. We are going to start soon in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. We have planned to expand to Durgapur, Asansol and Sambalpur.
Q. What is the philosophy and vision of your organisation?
A. The philosophy of our organisation is very simple.
It is givers’ gain. The more we give, the more we get. We believe in the old proverb, “what goes around comes around”. We want to give great experience to all our members and we want all our members to benefit out of this and we try to ensure that they grow their business exponentially.If I talk about my vision for Kolkata, I would want to see all the members of Kolkata become important stake-holders by 2025.