Forest Lake BNI chapter welcomes new leaders

The Forest Lake chapter of Business Network International began its 2013-2014 term by welcoming a new leadership team. Jim Douville of Nerium International is the new president, Heather Fine of Elusive Image Photography is vice president, and Amy Nelson of Trust Marketing Solutions is secretary and treasurer.

The chapter also celebrated its 12th anniversary. Since it began in 2001, the group has grown from 14 to 42 members.

BNI, which has 150,000 members in 45 countries, was founded in 1985 by Dr. Ivan Misner for the purpose of building powerful referral networks.

In an interview last month in the New Zealand Herald, Misner said networking is more like farming than hunting: It’s about cultivating relationships with other business people. “It’s not what you know or who you know,” he said. “It’s how well you know them that really counts.”

Each chapter allows one person per occupational classification, and members focus on giving referrals to other members. Each chapter keeps track of the monetary amount of the business generated from the referrals.

The Forest Lake chapter has generated millions of dollars in business for its members. In the 2011-2012 term, the total was more than $2 million dollars, making it one of the top 10 chapters in Minnesota.

The chapter meets every Tuesday from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at Vannelli’s by the Lake, 55 Lake St. in Forest Lake. Guests are welcome to visit at no charge. “We invite people to visit to see if they think a membership is a good investment for their business,” member Joe Houle said.