Early Birds Get the Worm

As the saying goes, for those who want to be successful, they must not only work hard but also work smart. In the world of business, working hard alone will not guarantee you a fruitful result. While it is important to mingle and expand your network yet how would you distinguish between those who are really interested in working with you from those who just want to socialise?

Come Business Network International (BNI) to the rescue. Unlike other networking clubs and event, BNI holds its meetups early in the morning and in Ipoh they do it every Thursday at 7am! While that may appear to be an ungodly hour for a networking meeting, Andy Wong, one of the Executive Directors of BNI Malaysia, said during BNI Perak Open Business Day at Syeun Hotel recently, “The early meeting-concept is used among BNI groups all over the world. The reason behind this was to gather those who are really serious in doing networking and learning among members.” Currently there are two groups of BNI in Perak, one the Pioneer Chapter and another, Unity Chapter where members communicate only in Cantonese. The Unity Chapter is said to be the first Cantonese-speaking chapter in Malaysia. There are about 40 members in the Unity Chapter and 30 in Pioneer’s.

Aside from their early meetup, another point of difference about this group of business entrepreneurs is that no members can have the same profession within each group. Instead of competing with another, BNI goal is for members to help each other.

“In the Pioneer Chapter, we have a property developer, a lawyer, an interior designer, a water-filter agent and many more. Imagine you as a real estate developer and you have secured a deal, you can then introduce your customer to the lawyer for legal issues, hold a meetup with the interior designer to help your customer design their home and so on. What we want to create is a healthy business chain that will not only benefit our members but also the customers,” said CG Huan, the president of Pioneer Chapter.

Founded in the United States, BNI is a worldwide networking organisation with branches all over the world including Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan and United Kingdom. In Malaysia alone, there are over 50 chapters located in Klang Valley, Penang, Seremban, Ipoh and more.

However, does it do wonders for the entrepreneurs’ business or is it just like an ordinary business meetup? According to one of its members, Mike Chu, he sees BNI as a good platform for his business growth, “I joined it because of its interesting concept and no frills. People join to get business and to refer business. As simple as that. The point is there loud and clear and it is not like a masked association,” said Mike, the Creative Director of PTT Technology.

While they encourage the public to join, to be part of BNI, one has to be recommended and invited by the members within the pioneer itself. Mike was invited by Pattrick Ng, one of the core members from Pioneer Chapter. Readers who are keen to know more about BNI can do so by visiting their website at

Ili Aqilah

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