BNI may be a global networking organisation with more than 175,000 members worldwide, but it’s not your only option when it comes to networking. There are plenty of alternatives to BNI. If you’re an accountant looking for a networking group to market your practice and you don’t want to go to BNI, here is our ultimate list of alternatives to BNI.
Top networking groups & events (alternatives to BNI)
When choosing the right networking group for you and your firm, you may consider lots of different things. Factors such as cost, timing, frequency, number of members, types of members, type of event, etc. It may even be your gut feeling of what feels right to you.
Whatever your criteria for choosing, it’s vital to understand what is important to you so that you can maximise your time spent at your chosen networking event. With that being said, let’s look at some of the best alternatives to BNI.
The Business Referral Exchange (BRE)
If you like the structure and weekly breakfast meetings of BNI, but you don’t like the people or the strict rules of the group, BRE is a great alternative.
It is very like BNI. The only difference at BRE is different people and the freedom to join other networking groups at the same time.
4Networking has gained popularity as the modern alternative to groups like BNI and BRE. 4Networking:
- Runs breakfast meetings from 8 am - 10 am.
- Is an open-structured event (50% business, 50% social).
- You only pay for meetings that you attend.
- Membership starts free - giving you online access and your initial three meetings - ranging to a 12-month passport for £499.
- Membership is open to as many people from the same profession as they choose.
- You can access events across the country, not just in your region.
4Networking is a great option for accountants who are looking for alternatives to BNI.
Local Independent Networking groups are a great alternative to BNI
Networking groups like BNI and 4Networking have national coverage. However, there are also many independent networking groups that are just as beneficial and they may be more local to you.
Whichever region you are based in, you can find an independent group which is likely to be:
- completely local
- privately-funded and free to join
- aimed at offering SMEs basic business support and the benefits of a membership program to help them grow in an organic and cost-effective environment.
Local groups can be very beneficial in helping you to expand your network. They are an ideal alternative to BNI if you’re looking for cheaper and more relaxed alternatives.
Local Chamber of Commerce
Although not necessarily classed as a ‘networking group,’ your local Chamber of Commerce will run their own networking events and groups, They can advise you on events that are going on in your area and connect you with other entrepreneurs.
Arguably more suited for service-based SMEs and firms within the B2B sector, your local Chamber of Commerce may be one of the best alternatives to BNI for your small accountancy practice.
Benefits of this networking group include:
- Cost - memberships are often much lower than 4Networking or BNI.
- Practical - as well as networking, groups also focus on the time support of everyday commercial guidance and help with technical business elements.
Unique networking events
Networking is all about forging connections, expanding your network and fostering relationships, so you can do this in any way that you feel is right.
If you’re more comfortable and confident in a certain environment, then you’re much more likely to get referrals. Consider being open-minded with your networking by attending weekly events such as:
- Mastermind dinners
- Un-networking lunches
- Wine-tasting events
- Business speed dating
- Tech-free networking
Where do I find these local networking groups & events?
If you’re looking for alternatives to BNI in your local area, there are so many resources that you can use to find the right ones for you.
Look online at:
With so many networking options for SMEs of all sizes, you won’t have to worry about finding alternatives to BNI when looking to market your small accountancy firm.
Just make sure to know your fundamental goal for wanting to make new connections in the first place. This will help you make the right choice for you and your firm, helping you to build strong connections and drive your business growth in the direction that you want.