Q. – Why do we have to have an Attendance Policy? After all business comes first and I cannot put BNI before my business.

A. – This is a common question that I get from BNI and non-BNI members regularly and I understand the question because I use to be a BNI member myself. I owned an insurance agency and joined BNI to grow that business.

One of the first things I did when I launched my chapter in 1991 was change the attendance policy for our members. After all we were adults, we were business people, we could do this in a way that made sense to us. So we allowed members to miss up to 6 meetings in 6 months. Needless to say, it failed miserably, our chapter had only 8 regularly attending members. We became what happens to most networking groups, 40 members on the books, and only a handful that ever show up. We had to restart the chapter to get back on track.

Our referrals dropped and my business was not growing, because no one showed up. There was no value to being in the room since most people were not there anyway.

An attendance policy keeps members accountable to one another and sets a priority for your own mindset. People will always find reasons to skip a meeting early in the morning or take that last call before leaving for the meeting. There is no value to my membership in the organization if my fellow members are not consistently in the room–they are not there to hear what I am looking for, they are not there to learn more about me and my business, and they are not there to learn from.

My BNI is more than just the referrals I get and give, it is also about the important resources that my fellow members become. I can refer to my clients to those members when they need something. This allows me to be the first stop for my clients and ties their loyalty more closely to me, beyond even my business.

BNI members forget that BNI is part of their business, it is the Marketing side of their business. How will they stay in business if they are not attracting new prospects? Every company must have a Sales and Marketing strategy for their business or they will go out of business. BNI is an important part of that strategy.

Being in the room is 80% of success. Showing up, being in the room, connecting and teaching your network how to help you cannot be done IF you are not in the room. Certainly there is no value for me if you are not in the room. You will not hear who or what I am looking for or how you can help me.

Remember, I paid for a membership where other members were going to show up and help one another, your attendance is important to everyone in the room. Accountability for attendance is the key to making sure we all get value for our time and money.