bni 30th anniversary logo eps format bni foundation bni foundation

Need Help? Let us know.

BNI Minnesota & Northern Wisconsin
PO Box 390405
Minneapolis, MN 55439

Phone: 612-664-9500
Fax: 952-920-6496



Over 30 Years of Proven Success!

Since 1985, BNI has grown from one chapter to thousands because it has earned a reputation as a potent referral generator for business people around the world.

BNI provides a structured and supportive system of giving and receiving business. It does so by offering an environment in which you can learn and develop your networking skills, along with establishing personal relationships with dozens of other qualified business professionals.

BNI's Mission

The mission of BNI is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive and professional referrals marketing program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals.

BNI's Core Values

No organization would succeed without a strong foundation. BNI’s Core Values have been the key to creating a culture that allows busy business professionals to learn how to convert their social capital into financial capital in a genuine and lasting way.

  1. Philosophy of Givers Gain®
  2. Building Strong Relationships
  3. Continuous Learning
  4. Traditions + Innovation = Success
  5. Positive & Supportive Attitude
  6. Accountability
  7. Recognition

BNI's Code of Ethics

BNI's Code of Ethics has been established by members to help create a safe environment where business professionals can focus on helping each other reach their goals.

Upon acceptance to BNI, I agree to abide by the following Code of Ethics during the tenure of my participation in the organization.

  1. I will provide the quality of services at the prices I have quoted.
  2. I will be truthful with the members and their referrals.
  3. I will build good will and trust among members and their referrals.
  4. I will take responsibility for following up on the referrals I receive.
  5. I will display a positive and supportive attitude.
  6. I will live up to the ethical standards of my profession.

Professional standards outlined in a formal code of conduct for any profession supersede the above standards. This means that a member belonging to a profession that has a more stringent standard must adhere to that higher standard.

What You Should Know

  • Only one person from each professional specialty is permitted to join a chapter of BNI.
  • All participants should represent their primary occupation, not a part-time business.
  • Attendance is critical. If you cannot attend a meeting, you may send a substitute. This will not count as an absence.
  • Participation in the chapter by members is a key to the success of a group. Members can participate by bringing bona-fide referrals and/or visitors to their BNI chapter.
  • There are one-year and two-year participation options. In addition, each chapter may collect a chapter facility fee to cover the cost of room rental and other chapter incidental expenses. See the Secretary/Treasurer of the chapter you visit for prices. If you apply to participate in BNI, your application will be reviewed by the chapter's Membership Committee, and you will be notified of the status before the next meeting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can anyone join a chapter?
A: We only take one person per professional specialty. So if you are a residential real estate person and we already have one, we can refer you to another chapter, or help you to start another chapter. Of course, if you are a commercial real estate person, you could be eligible to join this chapter.

Q: How do you know new members are reputable?
A: The application asks for references and we have a membership committee that checks them. It's word of mouth, so before they even come to a meeting they have to have spoken to someone or been invited by someone in the group. Everyone has to have a sponsor, or one is assigned to them, and they interview them.

Q: What if a member gets a referral and does poor work?
A: We have an ethics committee and it is imperative that anyone who gives a lead and finds out it was not satisfactorily handled must report that to the membership committee, who will investigate.

Q: What occupations benefit the most from networking?
A: It is not the occupation, it is the individual. The occupation can be anything. If you're focused and you have a dream and you're willing to make a sacrifice, you are the person we want in the group.

Q: Are members supposed to bring visitors?
A: You are encouraged to bring visitors (potential members) and guests (potential shoppers) to your chapter meeting. Expanding your network and connecting with more people is key to your success as a business owner.

Q: Do ethical rules for certain professions prohibit participation in BNI?
A: BNI understands the importance of the ethical concerns governing certain professions and acknowledges that rules can differ by location. As such, BNI therefore requires its members to uphold the rules of its profession so as not to violate the professional’s ethical obligations. In the event that BNI’s general rules could potentially violate a professional’s ethical code, BNI’s rules are superseded by the dictates of the professional’s ethics’ code. Significantly, a primary objective of BNI is to educate its membership in ways to market and grow business. It is BNI’s intent to ensure that this is permitted.

Q: If I specialize in a field within my profession, am I expected to be an expert in all aspects of my profession?
A: BNI understands that many professions are broad and that people often specialize within their profession. BNI does not expect, nor does it encourage, any professional to participate in an area in which the professional does not have expertise. On the contrary, BNI prohibits professionals from acting outside of the scope of their abilities.

Q: My profession does not let me directly solicit business. Is BNI still right for me?
A: BNI’s primary objective is to assist its members in ways to improve their business and to educate them concerning how they can effectively network. Business people get business when their expertise is known and others reach a comfort level with them. BNI provides a forum that allows members to meet other business peers who need to know effective and efficient business people.