BNI Synergy has experienced a revival in the last few months, driven by Ambassador, Shirish Jain and Director Consultant, Jawed Shaikh. However, this isn’t the only connection they share. Shirish and Jawed are bonded by a unique experience, which came about due to their BNI connection.
Shirish, a fairly new member and architect by profession, came across BNI when he was looking for increased visibility for his company, Matrix Finishes LLC. “As far as BNI is concerned, I always say adversity brings opportunity,” he remarks. “Last year I was exploring new ways to get visibility for my business. A friend of mine introduced me to BNI. Today, any planning I do, any business growth, BNI has become a part of it.”
An experienced entrepreneur, Jawed’s business, Value Vision Decor Technical Services LLC, has been around for 17 years. “I have seen it all happening in Dubai, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, but we are staying strong,” he smiles.
Jawed has been a member for the last three years, and he’s always eager to share his BNI journey. “I always wait for someone to ask me about my journey with BNI so I can talk a lot about it,” he quips. “Initially, I was very averse to the idea of joining BNI because I have spent half my life in business, and a better part of that life in that business is through networking.”
However, after just one meeting, Jawed completely changed his tune. “After a lot of convincing, I visited a chapter, one meeting, and I was completely taken aback,” he adds. He’s taken up various roles during his three-year membership, culminating in his role as Director Consultant at BNI Synergy.
“I’ve been a Visitor Host, I’ve been Education Coordinator, Vice President, and President. Two terms ago, I was President, and I want to just concentrate on developing the members. Pankaj Gupta approached me and said to take up this role of DC with Synergy. It’s been an absolutely exciting and rewarding journey,” he adds.Rising Up
BNI Synergy has experienced incredible growth, expanding from 35 members to 46 members in just a few months. Jawed is quick to sing their praises saying, “That chapter is a great example of the proverb ‘if there is a will, there is a way… Growing to 46 members in just 4 months shows amazing dedication, planning, focus, commitment, and teamwork. All these things made Synergy what it is today.”
He’s quick to humbly add that his role in their success is purely support-based. “My role with them has just been supporting them in terms of having discussions on how to move forward and keep on moving forward.”
When questioned about the vision for Synergy, Jawed adds, “We have a target of completing 50 members in this term, and then hopefully keep a target of about 60 to 65 for the next term. I hope the next Leadership Team also carries the baton the way the current team has.”
Nearly 50% of Synergy is made of new members, with an amazing overall retention rate of 90%. So, what strategies must the Ambassador, Shirish put in place to keep the first-year retention high? “I think the only thing for retention which is required is integration,” he says.
“Once the new members are integrated into the system, we don’t have to worry about the retention part. Any new member who joins has two things in mind: networking and business. For both of those things, we need to create credibility with the rest of the team. That will come once the core values are well-settled. We do that in three ways: educating them, engaging them, and hand-holding. Once we have done these three steps, they are already a part of the team, and we don’t need to worry about retention because it becomes their own interest and priority to be a part of that chapter.”Take the Opportunity
As a new term is once again around the corner, Jawed shares some tips for members planning on taking up any role. “For every member who joins BNI, I think the fundamental thing they need is to be connected, engaged, and involved. The most important thing to do for these three things is to take up a role,” he states. “A role gets you into the groove and functioning of BNI. I would urge every single member to take up a role because it teaches you discipline, accountability, and more than anything else, knowledge.”
Shirish encourages members to take up roles, whether big or small. “As far as the structure is concerned, the complete fabric of BNI is such that it teaches you how to manage things. Please take up these roles, it’s not just for BNI, but it is for you to learn. This is an opportunity, don’t lose it,” he signs off.