What’s the difference between Shout Network and BNI?

This is a question we are asked daily by guests who are looking to visit our groups. BNI is probably the most recognised name in business networking and operates franchises across the globe. Shout Network is a locally family owned business based in Preston, Lancashire. But that’s not where the differences end!

Business Networking groups come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, with varied formats and members. There’s a group to suit everyone’s tastes and although Shout Network is often compared against BNI, the two offer a very different experience. So here are some of the main differences you should expect to see between the two.


1) Referral Networking

BNI – BNI is a referral networking organisation, members are encouraged to follow the philosophy of “Givers Gain” and the number of referrals each member passes at a meeting is monitored and measured.

Shout Network – At Shout, we focus more on developing long term business relationships, and referrals are never monitored or insisted upon. We work to encourage members to build long lasting relationships, which we have found leads to quality introductions being made based on experience and trust.


2) Attendance

BNI – The BNI Policies state that attendance by members is critical to the group, every meeting must be attended either by the member or a sub who the member has chosen to send on their behalf. If a member is absent more than three times in any rolling six-month period, and the member may be removed from the group.

Shout Network – At Shout Network, we believe that business must come first! Members are encouraged to attend as many events as possible, but if they are unable to make their own group alternative meetings are usually available.


3) Networking Opportunities

BNI – The BNI Policies restrict members from attending any other networking group (including any other BNI Chapter). Basically, if you join a BNI group you are in breach of the BNI policies should you join any other group whose primary purpose is to pass referrals.

Shout Network – At Shout Network, we encourage members to attend as many of our own, and other business networking groups as their diary allows. We believe our members need to be out and about as often as possible meeting contacts from different groups and sectors.


4) Single Sector Restrictions

BNI – BNI only allow one person from each profession or classification at each BNI Chapter.

Shout Network – This is also true at the fortnightly meetings at Shout Network, however we do offer members the opportunity to visit any of our other groups if their sector is available. We also hold at least one event each month which does not carry the single sector rule, ensuring that members have the opportunity to meet everyone else in the network during their membership.


5) Leading the event

BNI – BNI Chapters are encouraged to create a leadership team populated by members of the chapter. This team is responsible for elements connected with the running of the group. The leadership team is compensated if they fulfil all their responsibilities.

Shout Network – At Shout Network, each event has at least one dedicated Shout team member to ensure the meeting runs smoothly. The Shout team are responsible for all elements of the groups development including inviting and introducing guests to the network, dealing with any issues a member may experience and identifying and fulfilling the requirements of the groups. This leaves our members free to focus on their own business and ensures that each event remains impartial.


So, whichever network you decide best fits your needs for meeting new contacts, its worthwhile trying all the options available beforehand to see which works best for you and which group has members most likely to be able to assist in your business growth.

We always welcome guests at Shout Network and a member of the team will be more than happy to arrange a complementary visit for you. For more information e-mail info@shoutnetwork.co.uk or call (01772) 642829.

Source – https://www.bni.co.uk/policies