FTC 198 | Business Networking

198: The Power Of Business Networking With Dr. Ivan Misner

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There’s no way to overestimate the power of business networking. The relationships formed through such interactions will no doubt be invaluable to you as an entrepreneur down the line, so make the most of them. Dr. Ivan Misner is an entrepreneur and the founder of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization. He sits down with Mitch Russo to talk about the finer details of successful business networking. If you’ve ever underestimated how powerful business networking can truly be, this discussion between Dr. Ivan and Mitch might just change your mind.

The Power Of Business Networking With Dr. Ivan Misner

Readers, do you know any other show that’s a two-way conversation? You can talk to me anytime you want and I’ll respond back. All you have to do is click the Speak to Mitch button on every show page. Tell me what you think. Tell me what you think of my guests, any in particular, and I promise to forward that over to my guests so that they can respond as well. Thank you in advance for all of your support, for all of your reviews on iTunes. We’re over 125 five-star reviews at this point. That’s all because of you. Thank you. 

If you have a business that is in need of some love, some revenues, and profits, I want you to grab my latest free give-away. It’s called Profit Stacking Secrets. It started out years ago as a new client assessment but it became more and more detailed as the years rolled forward. Hundreds of clients later, I’ve refined it to be what you need right now to grow quickly with little investment using strategy instead of cash. You get the first three lessons FREE – Does that sound good to you? Go to ProfitStackingSecrets.com and get your copy. Now onto my guest and his incredible story.

You’re about to meet the man that revolutionized the concept of local, organized early morning business network meetings. It all started in 1985 when my guest had the need to connect locally with some of the neighborhood businesses but didn’t have an efficient way to do it. He decided to start his local group, which turned out to be incredibly successful for him and for everybody who participated. Soon thereafter, neighborhood communities decided they wanted to do it too. He showed them how and that’s how Business Network International, known as BNI, got started. It has over 9,400 chapters throughout every populated content exists and BNI generates almost 12.3 million referrals per year, resulting in over $16 billion where the business for their members. He’s also written 24 bestselling books. He’s a columnist for Entrepreneur.com and a university professor. Welcome, Dr. Ivan Misner.

Thanks, Mitch. It’s great to be here.

My pleasure, Ivan, and thank you for spending time with readers and sharing your story with them and with me. Let’s get started. Tell us how this all got started for you.

BNI is a great example of necessity being the mother of invention. I needed referrals. I was a management consultant. I had my own business. I went to a lot of networking groups and many of the networking groups I went to were mercenary. Everyone was trying to sell to each other. I’d leave those meetings and I felt like I needed to get a shower because I’ve been slimed. Everyone’s trying to sell to me. I’d go to these other groups that were totally social. It was happy hour and hors d’oeuvres and no business was being done. Neither of those worked for me. I thought, “I’ll start my group.” I was structured and organized and there was a process. It was focused on business.

It's about building relationships within the context of doing business. Click To Tweet

That handled the business element. The other piece of it was it was all about relationships, but it wasn’t social. It was about business but not mercenary, and it was relational, not social. It’s about building relationships within the context of doing business. From the very beginning, we only took one person per profession. We hit 9,500 chapters. I’d like to tell you that I had that division when I opened that first chapter. The truth is I needed some referrals for my consulting practice and I wanted to do it with people I trusted. What happened is we opened that first group. People came and said, “This is great, but I can’t join because my profession is represented. Would you help me open up another group?” At first, I said no, but they talked me into it and I did it. At the end of the year, I had twenty groups by accident. That’d be like 400 members.

It hit me. I always take time between Christmas and New Year’s to reflect what’s my plan for the next five years. What do I want to be in ten years? How was last year compared to what I thought it would be? That year was mostly like, “What happened?” It was not part of my plan at all. That’s when it hit me. We don’t teach this in colleges and universities anywhere in the world. Networking, social capital, emotional intelligence. I decided that I thought this could scale. At that point, twelve months into BNI, I started in January of ’85 and this was December of ’85, I created my plan to scale the company. I remember thinking we could have 10,000 chapters someday. I told a couple of people that they looked at me and one of them even put his hand on my shoulder. He said, “It’s good to have goals, Ivan.” I’m like, “I know that sounds crazy, but this could be big,” and it is. We’ll probably hit 10,000 chapters soon.

You’re already at 9,500 and growing, so no doubt. When you think back during that time, the original idea, the formation of the group, the way it got structured, the 2nd and 3rd groups, are you the type of person that thinks that there might have been a little divine intervention there or not?

I’m not a big believer in luck. Divine intervention, maybe, but I certainly don’t believe in luck. To a large extent, we make our own luck. The harder we work, the luckier we get.

That’s exactly what I was about to tell you. Let me explain my question. In my world, what I do and what I have found, I’m probably around your age. It turns out for me, when I look back at my life and I look back at the years that I’ve lived. I think to myself, “How did these things happen?” I didn’t do many of these things. I was well prepared for them. I was exerting the effort to make something happen, but in many cases, we trip into or discover something or have a thought that changes the entire trajectory of our lives. That’s what I meant.

FTC 198 | Business Networking
Who’s in Your Room: The Secret to Creating Your Best Life

In that sense, yes. That is a part of who you surround yourself with. Ironically, I know we’re not going to talk about this, but my latest book’s called Who’s In Your Room? and it’s all about the people you surround yourself with in life. Although the book is not about networking, it’s all about networking. We don’t even talk about networking in the book, but it’s all about who do you allow into your life and how do you screen that? A lot of the things that happened to me were because I was intentional about the kinds of people that I led into my life.

That is part of the process. I’m not trying to force you into a mold here, but to me, it feels as if that you had an inspired idea and then you ran with it and believed in it and put your effort and time behind it. It became something much bigger than you ever imagined or dreamed of.

In that first year, it was much bigger. A couple of years later, I realized that this was going to be a large organization. It didn’t happen that first year.

As the name of this is called Your First Thousand Clients, let’s talk about your first 1,000 clients. It seemed like they must have come quickly. How do you feel about that when you look back?

It was about three years to have 1,000 members into BNI. We now have 272,000 paid members worldwide. These aren’t Facebook friends. These are paid members worldwide. It was a real slog that first three years because we were inventing industry and getting everything right, getting the formula right. There was a lot of trial and error and it took a fair amount of time. We made a lot of mistakes. Entrepreneurs love changing stuff. They pay money for something and then they want to change it. Don’t reinvent the wheel. When you have 9,500 locations, chances are good you’ve set it up well, so don’t mess with the system. Creating that system was the biggest challenge. Creating a system that worked consistently, that was replicable, that people could do in different cities and in different countries.

That was the hardest part of getting those first 1,000 clients and then teaching people how to do it. Education is a leaky bucket process. If you teach me how to do something, some of the information leaks out. When I teach somebody else, more information leaks out. By the 3rd or 4th generation, you have half a bucket of information. When that happens, then people definitely start throwing their own stuff in. That’s when feature creep takes over and it’s not what it was designed to be. Creating the system and the process was the biggest hurdle. Writing everything down and creating manuals, that was the first big hurdle for the first 1,000 clients.

It’s interesting because all businesses follow a similar path. Usually, there’s a spark that ignites the enterprise. At that point, that spark becomes a smolder and then a flame. From there, what usually has to happen is that either the creator must change their hat and move from the creator to the organizer to the leader. Tell us about that journey for you.

I believe that if you want to scale a company, that founder needs to reinvent themselves several times. In the early days, I was probably Thor with the great hammer and leading the way. Now I’m Colonel Sanders. I’m basically the spokesperson for the organization. One needs to recognize where you need to make those changes as a founder. Those changes take place as a company grows. As a founder, let’s go of the day to day management at some point sooner for some than others. I ran the company for 30 years. That’s a long time. I had other people. I turned over a lot of things to other people, but I was still basically running the operation for 30 years. I’ve not been running the day-to-day management anymore and I don’t own the entire organization. I own a significant portion, but I no longer own the whole business and it gives me an opportunity to have a different role.

Here’s the way people can now frame it. It’s important that you learn how to work in your flame and not your wax. When you’re in your flame, you’re on fire and excited. You love what you’re doing. People can see it in the way you behave. They can hear it in your voice. When you’re working in your wax, it takes all your energy away. People can see it in the way you behave and they can hear that in your voice as well. It’s important for an entrepreneur to learn what they’re flame is. Especially in the beginning, learn what your wax is. I understand that in the early days, you got to do what you got to do to get to do what you want to do. I was a Jack of all trades for a long time. At one point early in the operations, I literally had a list. It was on my Outlook to-do. It was titled Things I Should Not Be Doing Anymore. That was all the stuff that I would write down. Shouldn’t be putting antivirus software. Somebody else needs to do that.

One of the first things that I realized was my wax, literally in the first couple of years, was bookkeeping. I can work my way around a financial statement. I know how to do QuickBooks. I hate it. It’s not my flame. I remember hiring my first bookkeeper and it was her flame. She loved it. True story. One day she came up to me. She said, “Ivan, it took me two hours, but I balanced the books. They were off by $0.05.” I said, “Well done. Good job.” I told that to a friend and he said, “Are you kidding me? Did you reprimand her?” I said, “Why would I reprimand her?” “It took her two hours to find $0.05. It was$0.05. Why spend two hours?” I remember vividly saying to the guy, “What if it was $50? What if it was $500? She wouldn’t go home.” If it were $50, I’d say, “Close enough.” What would she do if it were more? I said, “No. I congratulated her. I told her, ‘Well done,’ because that’s her flame. She was proud of finding those $0.05. I knew that if it were ever $50, she’d stay there until she found it.”

Let’s go back for a second. Once the organization was rolling, you started to shed some of what I would call the basic responsibilities and hired some people. You became the supervisor trying to make sure that everybody knew what their jobs were and their roles were. You were still getting involved every day in the groups and getting involved with the members and doing all that. When in the growth phase of those first three years, did you say to yourself, “We got to get some system in place?” Maybe it’s software, maybe it’s a true system that does everything we need to bring up a new group, including all the paperwork, including teaching people how to run that group. How long did it take before you started working on those systems?

We make our own luck. The harder we work, the luckier we get. Click To Tweet

We had systems but forget about computers, you’re talking about 1988. Three years into BNI, it was 1988. There wasn’t the software that exists now. For example, PowerPoint didn’t even exist. Presentations were a whole different ball game. Excel might’ve been out, but not everybody had all of those software packages. The online process came later, but the paperwork, the forms, the systems, they were all paper-based. We had them by 1988. They were all in place. What I needed to do was to hire more people and to delegate work. I learned early on an important lesson that a lot of business people don’t understand. When you delegate, it’s important that you delegate both responsibility and authority.

Explain what you mean by that.

We delegate responsibility to people, but then we don’t give them the authority to make tough decisions and they’re constantly coming back to us asking for permission. We’re ending up spending more time than necessary dealing with things that we don’t have to if we delegate responsibility and authority. There’s a caveat to this. If you hire somebody new, you don’t give them 100% authority because they’re not trained fully yet. One of the things that we’ve done in the last few years in training people, we call it bootcamp. You’re in BNI bootcamp. You don’t start your job full-time for about 30 days. Do a little part-time work with it. You’re full-time, but not doing your job. For the first 30 days, you’re in bootcamp. You’re meeting with people from other countries. You’re going to BNI meetings. You’re meeting with all the people in the staff, you’re learning the business of BNI.

Within 30 days, you complete your bootcamp. Bootcamp final is a Skype call with me going through the core values, the culture, the mission, and the vision. If you can’t pass that, you’re sent back to bootcamp. Two people have failed. I sent them back. We take it seriously. You got to learn about the business and I want you to learn about the business, then you can start the job and maybe the supervisor should give them 50% authority. You can make decisions up until this point. Anything beyond that, you’ve got to come to me for. That’s for a learner. As they’re learning and becoming more and more successful, then it’s 70%, 80%, 90%. Somebody who knows the job, you give them full authority except for a sliver. Meaning you can make any decision, except a decision that will impact the bottom line by X.

You give people authority in stages, which is the wise thing to do. Most of us don’t learn that’s the right way or the wise way to do things until we make the mistake of not doing that. I’m sure you’ve been through that as well.

If you give it to them in stages, the goal is that you finally get to the point where they have both responsibility and authority to make decisions. Sometimes people say to me, “Sometimes people make mistakes.” My answer would be, “That’s not true. It’s almost all the time.” Don’t make mistakes. You got to take a look at what mistake they made. I remember one time I had an employee who made a $5,000 mistake. It cost me out of pocket $5,000. I was not happy. I called her into my office and she said, “Are you going to fire me?” I said to her, “What did you learn from this experience?” She told me what she learned and it was a good lesson.

FTC 198 | Business Networking
Business Networking: Goals are important. You can’t hit a target you’re not aiming at.


I said, “To answer your question, no, I’m not going to fire you because I invested $5,000 in you and we’re never going to do that again. Are you?” “I’ll never do that again. I promise.” “If that happens, what are you going to do?” She told me and I said, “Okay, fine. We’re good. Go ahead and don’t do that again.” She was a good employee. I would have been well within my rights to let her go, but sometimes that’s the cost. That’s an extreme example. Few employees make that kind of mistake when I’ve given them full authority. It’s usually smaller mistakes than that. You’ve got to let people make mistakes. I’ve made plenty. If I started firing people for a certain level of mistake, I could start with myself.

It’s funny because we all have stories like that. I made a $30,000 mistake once with Chet. We were running an event and in the middle of the afternoon, I made an “executive decision” to have the hotel bring in some coffee. I had no idea what they charged for coffee. As you can imagine, as I already told you the punchline, let’s say that Chet was not happy. He said to me, “I paid $30,000 to teach you not to bring in coffee to events. Did you get the lesson?” I said, “Yes, friend. I sure did.”

It’s an even broader lesson than that. The lesson in that situation is always to ask what the cost is. Whatever it is, even water. Hotels will charge crazy numbers for water, even water out of a pitcher. Forget about plastic bottles. It was a lesson which I have learned as well. You’ve got to ask how much would it cost to bring in coffee or water or donuts or whatever it is because, at the last minute, they’re going to hit you big.

Readers, we are talking to the amazing Dr. Ivan Misner. He is the Founder of BNI, Business Network International, with over 9,500 chapters, generating $16 billion worth of business for their members every year. Ivan, you’ve already shared some incredible ideas, and if you will, lessons about this. What do you think was the most important element of moving the organization from where it was in those first three years to the next level? What was that next level?

There are a number of things. Scaling a business is a formula more than it is a single act. One of the things that are critical for the formula is to know your numbers. I know that we had 9,503 chapters in 70-plus countries and we have about 272,150 or so. I get literally a daily report five days a week. When I talk to people about knowing their numbers, it’s like watching one of those bobblehead dogs in the back of a car who’s like, “I know that’s important.” I don’t think most people understand how incredibly important it is to know your numbers. You got to start that from the very beginning. Here’s another one where everybody goes, “I get it.” The importance of setting goals. A lot of people say goals are important. You can’t hit a target you’re not aiming at. You got always to have goals.

One of the things that I recommend is that you do three levels of goals for yourself, if no one else. Three levels. The high level is if you achieve this number, at the end of the year, I call it the, “You’re dancing on the roof level,” you’re going to have a party because you did something difficult. The next level is your target and the last level is the floor. If you can’t hit that number, maybe you’re in the wrong business. Setting goals like that with a range. First of all, you have a good shot at hitting it and you also have a good understanding of how well you’re doing in it. The next thing is to reverse engineer those goals. That’s another piece that a lot of people don’t talk about. Reverse engineering. If you have goals for year-end, where do you want to be in November? Where do you want to be in October? Where do you want to be in September and August?

Scaling a business is a formula more than it is a single act. Click To Tweet

You literally reverse engineer it so that where do you want to be at the end of month one. What happens is people set these goals, it ran them down, they do a plan, it’s April, they pick up the plan, and they go, “I’m way behind.” That’s several months too late. You need to be on top of your numbers. You need to know your numbers and be on top of them and set goals and reverse engineer those goals. These are part of the basics. I’ve got a book I’m working on called Garage to Global. This is how you take your business out of your garage. My business started in my house above my garage and in my garage. How do you take it from your garage to global business? These are scaling techniques one-on-one.

I’m glad you mentioned two things that you said that I wanted to elaborate on in my own life. That’s the part where you talked about knowing your numbers. I was fanatical about my numbers, but I have to explain why I was. It was because I was afraid. I was afraid that if I was not on top of my numbers that we would make a mistake and because the company to go out of business. I was a 50/50 partner in building my software company. I would be harming my partner and all the people that worked for us if I did not know my numbers. I was motivated by the wrong thing.

You still did it and it’s important to do that. Here’s another one, and this is one that Chet talked about a lot. I’ve been talking about it for years. He talked about it as well. If you want to be successful in business, do 6 things 1,000 times, not 1,000 things 6 times. Chet talked about that, did he not?

He did. His number was four things, not six, but you’re right. He talked about that a lot.

It doesn’t have to be six. It could be 4, 5 or 7. The thing is you do a handful of things and you do them over and over again. If I have any superpower as a businessperson, my superpower is that I am a dog with a bone. I take some issue and work on it until I get it done. I’m good at being focused on what those handful of things are and doing them over and over again. All too often, entrepreneurs in particular are constantly chasing bright, shiny objects.

We have too many of those in our world because of the internet, the web and all that. I want to go back to something else that you mentioned and that’s goal setting. I tried many different ways of goal setting. I tried Tony Robbins’ system, which I thought was wonderful, but not for me. Chet taught me another way of doing it. Here’s for me what ended up being the most effective and the reason I mentioned it is because maybe somebody reading could potentially use this as well. It’s simple. When I sat down in January, as I do every January, I wrote out my goals for the entire year. Like you, I started backward.

FTC 198 | Business Networking
Business Networking: People are not going to get together unless you have a compelling reason for people to get together.


I looked at the end of the year and said, “This is where I want to be.” What I did is I created a series of standardized things I would do every day, every week and every month. Even every quarter, no matter what. Not some specific things like post this on this time at that place, but goals like review social media and if not where you wanted it to be, then spend some money and hire an assistant to help you, that kind of a thing. Every month I looked at those numbers. Every week I would always look at cashflow, as you do, I’m sure. To me, having a rote set of things to look at every period helped me make goal-setting far easier than I ever thought it was.

You said that you heard Tony Robbins is good, but it wasn’t for you. That’s important. Recognize what system you want to use and implement that system. Doing nothing because you don’t like the choices is a bad choice. It’s probably the worst choice of all the choices, to do nothing because you don’t like the other systems. Do something so that you get started on it. I meet people who say, “I don’t believe in goals.” You must believe in failure because you cannot hit a target and you’re not aiming at. You got to aim and you got to have that target. It’s critical.

I have never met a successful person who didn’t use goal setting as part of their strategy. Readers, if you don’t set goals, by all means, at least take it from those who are doing well around you. Look at those around you and ask them what they do because goal settings are part of that.

Anybody who’s successful knows that.

Ivan, I’d like to transition to another topic. What I’d like to do is if I could get your take on this, we have a lot of readers who would like to start localized groups around their topic, whatever that may be, whether it’s a personal topic or a business topic. If you could give us some tips on from the ground up, how do you start a localized group? What do you do?

Are you’re talking about within their flame, within what they do? If it’s a networking group, I’d recommend you go to BNI.com. If you’re talking about you want to get people together on a particular subject, my biggest recommendation is that you got to find a way to make a compelling because people are not going to get together unless you have a compelling reason for people to get together. Probably weekly is too often. With BNI, we meet weekly, but it’s like every week is a holiday in the sense that you get gifts or referrals. It’s highly compelling to be there on a regular basis. If you don’t have something that compelling, maybe monthly or getting together via a GoToMeeting or Zoom or some group Skype meeting where you get people together, that’s good. The key is you got to have a compelling reason for people to show up or they will fall off quickly.

Recognize what system you want to use and implement that system. Click To Tweet

Why don’t you use Skype? Why do you still insist that people get up at God awful hours in the morning and show up in someplace?

Let’s talk about that a little bit. I believe that face-to-face networking is important. Talking to you like this is good. It’s better than me emailing you. Emailing was better than me writing you a letter. Skype is good, but it’s two-dimensional and there’s a lot that you can’t see or hear. I could be typing emails while you’re talking. You don’t know exactly how engaged I am. I’m not, but you don’t know how engaged I am. It’s a level up, face-to-face. Now having said that, let me tell you two things that might surprise certainly any BNI people that are reading this. I’ve been reading a lot about mixed reality technologies. One of the things that I read was a statement by the Vice President of Linden Labs, who said that in a few years, mixed reality technology would be as commonplace as the iPhone.

When that happens, when you have virtual reality, 3D technology that is effective, cheap and everyone has, then the meetings might be a merger of face-to-face and mixed reality. You might see people showing up face-to-face. Nothing beats shaking someone’s hand, look them in the eyes and having a conversation. You’re going to see a mixture. We’re doing this during this outbreak of the Coronavirus, with that in our Asian countries, we have set up group GoToMeeting for this specific person’s purpose because they don’t want to meet face-to-face. They can’t safely meet face-to-face. We are doing some chapter meetings on a limited basis because of this outbreak. What’s interesting is that integration into the face to face system is probably inevitable. The technology’s not quite there yet, though.

The killer app, as you say, is face-to-face, is pressing the flesh as they used to say. I have to agree. You can’t build a great relationship unless you are with somebody. Remember, a one-hour Skype meeting is a long meeting, whereas a one-hour get together for coffee is a short meeting. There’s that element of engagement that you talked about as well that I truly believe you’re right about. People can be multitasking and they do. I’ve had people do it on interviews. It’s the way the world works and it’s a deficit in the way we are set up to think that we could because we’re not giving all that we can when we do.

That’s one of the downsides to it. The technology’s not quite there yet, but it will be. I believe that BNI will lead to the disruption. There’ve been many companies that have been disrupted by technology. Kodak and Sears closed down their catalog business, which was the largest catalog in the world. The Sears catalog, they closed it down in 1993 and Amazon opened in 1994. Sears could be Amazon now. Sears and Blockbuster, they were all disrupted. I want BNI to be the disruption not be disrupted. We’re keeping our eye on the technology because there’ll be a time where things may change.

Imagine if Sears would have been the Amazon of this world. They’re in a perfect position. They had the distribution, the locations, everything. It’s like Sony could have been Apple and invented the iPod. It’s many missed opportunities because people cling to what made them successful in the past.

Xerox could have been Microsoft or Apple. They invented the mouse. They invented graphic interface. They’re a fraction of the company that they used to be because they didn’t see those opportunities. I don’t want to be disrupted. I want to be the disruption. The way to get disrupted is to do something like Kodak did. Kodak invented the digital camera. They invented it and they licensed it to other people. The reason they licensed it was they said, “We don’t want this to disrupt our film processing business.” It got disrupted anyway, but they were no longer the leader. The president of Blockbuster once said, “Netflix isn’t even on our radar as competition,” and look what happened. I get what you’re saying. We’re keeping our eye on that. At the moment, face-to-face is still the best. What is likely to happen in the next few years is that we’re going to see an integration of the two.

Coronavirus aside, what I’m hearing is your advice to people wanting to start these groups is to focus on your flame, as you say. Be the passion to attract and invite people to your group. I’ll derive from what I’ve heard from you as another way of helping people take this to the next step. Create a system in advance, so this can expand in a logical and orderly way. Is that right?

Yes. What you’re describing to some extent is a mastermind group, a group of people are getting together and they’re sharing best practices. That’s a great idea, but you’ve got to have a process because what it becomes is a coffee klatch. It’s going to fail quickly. You have to have a process, a system. You have to work that system and you got to make it compelling so that people walk away from every meeting going, “That had value to me.” If they’re not walking away from most meetings thinking that had value, there’s going to stop coming.

We are at a point in the interview where we like to transition to the questions. Longtime readers know we ask these questions of every guest. The reason we do is that it’s so much fun and interesting to read the answers. Here’s the first question. Ivan, who in all of space and time would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?

It would be Nelson Mandela. I never had the opportunity to meet Mandela. That would have been amazing. His story to me is incredible. I use him a lot when I’m talking to BNI chapters and talking about rules and applying systems and processes. I tell people, “You got to act more like Mandela than Attila.” You got to apply rules. Rules are important. Hockey without rules would be boxing on ice, but it’s the way you apply them. It’s how you deal with people. I would have loved to have met Nelson Mandela.

Thank you for the answer and Nelson Mandela’s a great answer. I don’t think it’s ever come up before. I’m glad you brought it up because you have a great reason to as well. Here is the grand finale, the change the world question and I know what you’re going to say, but I’m going to ask it anyway. Ivan, what is it that you are doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?

Our vision statement for BNI is changing the way the world does business. That’s our vision statement. One of the important ways that we are changing the way the world does business is through our principle core value, our philosophy as an organization, which is two words. Givers gain. If you want to get business from people, if you want to get help from people, you have to first give to people. That means you start with a relationship, you build a relationship, you get to know each other, trust each other, and like each other. The first thing to do is you refer them. Take that first step, support them, refer them.

One of the quickest ways to build a relationship is to help somebody. Help someone freely without strings. Someone you know, like and trust, help them and they’ll do the same for you. That’s why we passed 12.3 million referrals, $16.7 billion worth of business for our members. Mitch, $16.7 billion is twice the gross domestic product for the country of Liechtenstein. It’s a small country, I know, but still, how cool is it that we as a business organization could generate more business than the gross domestic product of a small nation? I’m looking for bigger nations next time, but I still think it’s an incredible thing and that’s one of the ways we’re changing the way the world does business.

Dr. Ivan Misner, you are changing the world and I’m thrilled to have had this time with you. Before I let you go, tell me the websites that you would like our readers to visit.

I have a blog, IvanMisner.com. It’s all free stuff up there. I’ve been blogging since 2007, so there’s a lot of content. BNI.com, it’s easy. Thanks for asking, Mitch

Readers, go there and learn from Dr. Misner. He’s an incredible resource. If you happen to be a BNI member, I bet you’re smiling throughout this interview, but if you’re not, why don’t you check it out? Why don’t you think about maybe joining the local meeting or at least getting to know some people so that you can, because it will benefit you and others? Go with the spirit of giving and you’ll get the most that way. Readers, thank you for reading. Dr. Misner, thank you for being here.

Mitch, thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

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