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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost?

One-time membership application and initiation fee of $200.00.

Annual dues of $610.00.

Monthly meeting fee (for the room and full breakfasts) of $150.

What if I can’t come every week?

We understand that it may not be possible. That’s why members are encouraged to arrange for a substitute to come in their place. This person not only represents your business in your absence, they have the chance to present theirs as well. If a substitute cannot be arranged, members are allowed to be absent three times in six months.

Do you always meet this early in the morning?

Yes we do! Over 28 years of BNI chapter experience around the world and 7,500 chapters have proven that the winning meeting time is 7 am. This makes it easy to ensure everyone arrives on time (no other meetings in advance!) We make sure meetings end at 8:45 on the dot so you have the rest of the full working day ahead of you.

What if I don’t have a huge network of contacts to bring?

You’ll be surprised at how many contacts you actually have! The average person has at least 300 contacts (business, personal, family). It’s not always how many, but what kind of network you have that can be mined to help build other member’s businesses. We work with members from the start to teach them about networking. It’s much more than passing on a phone number. We show you exactly how to achieve the best results.

What do you look for in a member?

We only accept one member from each business category. This ensures there is no competition within the chapter for the same referrals. We also look for these attributes You have honesty and Integrity towards the Givers Gain mentality  – we look for people who want to help others – that’s core! You have a broad network of personal, business, professional or community contacts that you deal with and who trust you as a professional and a valued advisor. You have the entrepreneurial desire and capacity to grow your business and actively seek new business for others and follow up on their referrals.

How do you measure success for a member?

We track 3 kinds of member contributions. These are giving a referral, bringing a guest, or writing a testimonial about another member. The chapter expects each member to make 4 contributions a month.

Are all your members excellent speakers?

Not at the start! Many of us fumbled and mumbled our way through many an infomercial until we learned from watching others, and from member feedback. Networking is an essential professional skill that they don’t teach in school or business! BNI is the premier training ground for creating outstanding networkers who are comfortable talking about their business, asking for referrals and following up.

Can a quiet entrepreneur fit with your boisterous group

We have a wide range of personalities and styles in our chapter. That’s what makes it so interesting. We’re pretty lively for 7 o’clock in the morning – that’s because we like each other and are comfortable being together. We have fun while we’re doing business. There’s a good balance of styles and everyone contributes.

Are most of your referrals between members?

We certainly use each other’s services when needed – it’s great to rely on people you know and trust to help you with your business – but generally we are looking for ways to help solve the problems of those in our broader network by referring them to the services of our BNI colleagues. In fact, we measure the health of the chapter by the number of referrals to external contacts.

How long does it take to get referrals?

Referrals grow out of building trust and confidence. Sometimes a new member will get referrals right from the start and sometimes it takes much longer. It depends on your business, on how well members understand your business and/or the needs of others.

Will you teach me? I was never great at networking.

Each new member is assigned a mentor whose job it is to coach and provide training. As well, you will participate in the BNI New Member Service Program consisting of training sessions, reference tools and on-going check-ins to see how you’re doing. BNI GTA has several events throughout the year that are open to all members. 

Are there only weekly meetings?

Formal meetings are weekly but informal meetings take place in between. The key to referral success is getting to know other members better. Informal Business Development Meetings (1-2-1s) are encouraged so members can get to know each other’s businesses better.

Can I share a membership with others in my company?

If you can’t make a meeting, you can arrange for a substitute, however there is no formal sharing of membership. Because networking success is dependent on building deep relationships, we want members who show true commitment to participating in every aspect of our chapter. 

Are you connected to other chapters’ networks?

There is a growing group of corporate chapters in North America and we are connected to others through a new Corporate Connections website that allows us to interact in a Facebook kind of way. It’s one of the exciting developments underway at BNI.

What’s the membership application process?

First, we encourage interested potential members to come two or three times to our meetings. We want you to want us and we want to find out if you’re a good fit for our group. We also recommend you set up meetings to get know some of our members. Submit a completed application form with cheque and we’ll set up a formal interview with our Membership Committee. If things go well, we’ll do reference checks and recommend you to our membership for acceptance. The process takes roughly 2-3 weeks because we treat membership as a business search for a top executive.


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