Business referral group generates P1.3B in pandemic year

Published February 23, 2021, 11:27 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s adverse effects on the Philippine economy in 2020, one unit of an international business referral organization said it has generated P1.3 billion in revenues during the pandemic year. 

BNI Philippines, which groups 236 members of the Taguig region, of the Taguig region generated more than 17,000 referrals with revenues of P1.324 billion from January to December 2020.

In addition, Iconic, a 48-member chapter of BNI Philippines generated 3,704 referrals and P166.37-million in revenues for their members during the same period.

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“Because small and medium enterprise (SME) owners realized they can increase their business through a structured, positive and professional word-of-mouth program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals, BNI Philippines and BNI Iconic have grown explosively,” said Louie Evans Sala, Iconic president.

“Some of our members have increased business by 20, 30, 50 or as much as 100 percent. Some members have added as many as 20 new clients in their first two years of joining.”

For instance, he cited BNI’s Bonifacio Global City-based Taguig region generated 65 percent of business for the entire BNI Philippines in spite of comprising only 29 percent of its national membership.

The Philippines had 801 members in the organization as of December 31, 2020, distributed throughout 25 chapters nationwide. 

More than 45,000 referrals totaling P2.084-billion in value were generated in the period of January to December 2020.

Under the mechanics, BNI chapter members already own existing businesses. They help each other by referring each other’s businesses to their contacts. As a result, member firms get more businesses from the referrals and higher revenues. Members do not gain any commission or share from the revenues generated by the referred company, just higher and better business performance.

Members also meet regularly to account for the referrals and to track down the revenues earned from such referral. The association earns from the membership fee collected from chapter members.

Since October 2014, an excess of P5.988-billion in “TYCB”, or “Thank You for Closed Business” in BNI culture, was recorded by BNI Philippines. The Iconic chapter, named BNI Taguig’s Chapter of the Year for 2020, recorded P565.65 million in TYCB since the chapter’s inception in May 2018.

BNI is a 36-year-old business and professional organization that allows only one person from each trade or profession to join a chapter.

 The organization’s headquarters are in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA and is led by CEO Graham Weihmiller. BNI has over 275,000 members from over 300 types of professions and trades, in more than 10,000 chapters, in 74 different countries, worldwide.

In 2020, while most of the world’s economies slowed down, 11.5-million referrals were made and $16.3-billion dollars in revenues were generated by and for its members globally.

“Because every single company out there wants referrals, BNI can help. What goes around comes around,” said Sala, an organizational development expert. “If I help you, you’ll help me, and we’ll both benefit as a result. BNI offers members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts, networks and, most importantly, business referrals.”

Since 2014, BNI had been promoting face-to-face business networking among entrepreneurs in the Philippines, all the way up to March 14, 2020. 

 With health and safety rules currently being enforced by the national and local governments to keep the Covid-19 virus in check, online networking and webinars have been the norm in the organization for the past eleven months.