Business Network International – sustaining small business development

Business Network International – sustaining small business development

IO – At both national and international levels, numerous people and organizations undertake various efforts to encourage our local small businesses to link up with a wide network. This is necessary to speed up the recovery of the economy, following the damage of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these organizations is Business Network International (BNI), which launched its “BNI Amplify Chapter” in Jakarta last Wednesday (03/11/2021).

The Amplify Chapter launch was held virtually at 08.00 WIB, attended by BNI Support Director Consultant Setio Priyono, Launch Director Consultant Grace Hakim, and 200 invitees – entrepreneurs, BNI members from other Chapters in Jakarta and Bandung, and members of BNI Chapters overseas.

BNI operates a 36-year-old referral business organization with more than 10,000 Chapters and more than 300,000 members worldwide. Its latest Chapter, the Amplify Chapter of West Jakarta, had 40 members at its launch and is managed by young entrepreneurs: Chapter President Aadhistya Handy Christyanto, Chapter Vice President Violison Martheo, and Chapter Secretary/Treasurer Arman Lie. With this launch, BNI has created three Chapters in 2021: Grow Chapter (West Jakarta, launched on 21 January 2021, with a membership of 63 entrepreneurs), Rise Chapter (Bandung, launched on 5 October 2021, with a membership of 47 entrepreneurs), and Amplify Chapter.

“By launching the Amplify Chapter, we of BNI are doing our part to develop the businesses of our small and medium-sized enterprises and revive the national UKM economy, amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Grace Hakim, BNI’s Launch Director Consultant, in her speech during the launch. “We initiated the Amplify Chapter in early July 2021. Our 40 members are businesses in real estate, investment, health and beauty, business services, and trade. Each business group in the Amplify Chapter runs a different type of sub-businesses. For example, our real estate members include sales agents, contractors and interior designers, among others.”

BNI regulations stipulate that each Chapter can only register one member for any single type of business or profession, to prevent duplication and competition among members of the same Chapter. Each member must actively provide business referrals to fellow members. This is precisely where BNI’s power lies. It has generated USD 16.7 billion through its business referrals worldwide, and each member is supported by a global team that provides them with the necessary training, structure, and technology that they need to succeed.

Support Director Consultant Setio Priyono declared that Business Network International creates an environment wherein its members, all of whom are active entrepreneurs, can get business from the referrals given to them by other members of the BNI Chapter. “There is an ethic in providing a good referral: you don’t just provide info about the business, but you must mediate them until something really comes out of it, to the satisfaction of both parties. Each member must provide at least one referral to another member. Did you know that our Chapters in Japan have a tailoring business which took in 80% from its earnings just from fellow BNI members? This is a small example of the powers of referral, and that happens at BNI,” he said.

Referrals have become even more relevant nowadays, in a time when Indonesia’s small and medium businesses are challenged to sustain exports and business connections with international clients and markets. “We at BNI are helping the Government revive our economy by connecting Indonesia’s small and medium businesses with potential foreign business partners through BNI’s network in 74 countries. Such small businesses need only apply for membership, then we will include them in our system and immediately partner them up with our members abroad. This is in line with BNI’s tagline – ‘Local Business, Global Network’,” Setio said.

Organizations like BNI are becoming more relevant than ever in the development of Indonesia’s enterprises, as they share the burden of marketing, which usually requires a great investment. Marketing of
any company’s product or service is traditionally carried out using
one of three methods, or a combination of them: direct selling by sales workers; through advertisements, whether in traditional media, electronic media, or social media; and referrals. The most effective of these methods is the referral, including in terms of economic effectiveness. The other methods are “scattergun” approaches, and must be executed on a large scale, or they will only reach a small, quickly saturated segment of society.

“Here in BNI, we cherish this value “givers gain”. We don’t just receive from others – it is only by helping others that we succeed. This is why not any business can be part of BNI, even though it is an open organization: not only do we only accept one member for each type of profession or business, we also only accept those businesses that are stable enough to have survived for at least three years, and that we can be sure to have the soul and spirit to continuously share their network by constantly referring other members. We seek to prevent internal competition, and we only want those reliable companies that are worthy of being referred to and that can themselves provide reliable referrals to their fellow members,” Setio said.