In December 2019, we were preparing for an exciting 2020, especially with the Expo2020 being hosted in Dubai, businesses were poised to take advantage of the coming boom. At BNI UAE, we were positioned to launch more chapters and franchise more regions to continue our growth.
On Thursday 5th March 2020, we hosted our Leadership Team Transition Training with over 250 members and leaders in attendance and everyone was excited to take their new roles from 1st April as we would begin the new LT Term. Little did we know that this would be the last in-person training event we would conduct for the year. That same afternoon I received a call from our CEO, Graham Weihmiller advising us to consider moving our meetings online as a pandemic seemed imminent.
We mobilized a team to start preparations and in the following week I attended 3 chapter meetings in-person to inform members to be prepared. There was some resistance and apprehension amongst some members.
On Wednesday 11th March 2020, the World Health Organization announced the Covid-19 outbreak as Global Pandemic. By that time we were already prepared to go online and on Thursday 12th March 2020, we demonstrated and trained the outgoing Leadership Teams on how to run an effective BNI Online Meeting on the Zoom Platform. The price of a Zoom share was USD 109 on 12th March and by the end of March 2020 it had risen to USD 150. As recent as October 2020, it had risen to over USD 560.
It’s certainly been an interesting 2020 – the Chapter Leadership Teams led their chapters amazingly well and transitioned online at rapid pace. We even launched a chapter in April 2020 fully online with 27 members and today this chapters (BNI Gladiators) is at 46 members!
It’s December 2020 and when we look back at what we have achieved, we did actualy grow. We did franchise Dubai Deira and our membership is at it’s highest at over 570 members and by the end of the year we’ll have crossed the 600 member milestone. Our members will have done over AED 200 million in business compared to over AED 150 million in 2019 – that’s an increase of 33%! All thanks to YOU!
2021 looks even more exciting with the launch of more chapters and franchising of more regions. 33% of our current members have only experienced BNI Online and with the results they’re generating in terms of referrals and closed business, we’re confident that we can offer an alternate to in-person meetings when life returns to some level of normalcy – permanently Online Chapters. These will require a lesser financial commitment as there will be no venue fees, more time efficiency as there will not be any travel to meeting time or downtime and further reach members based remotely in other Emirates where we don’t have active BNI chapters.
Who do you know who can benefit from the amazing benefits that BNI has to offer? Invite them to your meeting or refer them to us for online meeting solutions – that will be the best gift you can give to a business in 2021.
Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm. I wish you and your family well – stay safe and happy holidays.