Architects are not like normal people, they are trained to think in three dimensions, how to draw and how to communicate visually, they are not trained to express themselves in words, how to run there own businesses, how to network with ordinary people (people other than architects) and they are certainly not taught how to Market themselves.
Personally, I have found BNI immensely useful, in giving me the confidence to stand up in front of a general audience and to explain myself, in giving me exposure to business people, and introducing me to many great ideas. I have learned about cash-flow, and how to deal with distractions and I have learned how to put my own challenges in a wider context. Being in BNI has given me the confidence and skills to break-away from my previous employer and start my own practice as an Architect. Most of all I have learned about Networking.
Architects are good givers, they find BNI useful for sourcing reliable products and trades, they find BNI useful for expanding their services, fining like-minded reliable professionals they can work with in related fields, interiors, landscape, lighting designers. With the growth of the internet, this has become truly global, enabling me to offer a 24 hour office, with people working away on my behalf or rush jobs while I am sleeping, and enabling me to offer a wider range of services to my clients such as 3d modelling.
Finally, my BNI chapter has given me many great referrals, they have found me people who have been grateful for my expertise, projects that are worthy of my talents, and the work I have won as a result has paid my membership fees many times over.
Mark Horner, RIBA