‘The sky is the limit’: Northern Lights BNI celebrates 1 year in Prince Albert

Members of Northern Lights BNI pose for a photo prior to cutting the cake to celebrate their one year anniversary. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

It took longer than expected to get off the ground, but a Prince Albert business networking group is now flying high.

The Prince Albert chapter of Business Network International (BNI) celebrated its first anniversary on Tuesday. The group helps members build their businesses through networking, referrals, and education.

Prince Albert chapter president Bryan Moriarty said he’s happy to see them hit the one-year mark.

“When we first started out it was rather intimidating but we’ve managed to successfully refer a substantial amount of business amongst one another,” Moriarty said. “It’s made a positive impact on my business, personally, and it’s also something I look forward to every week because I get to be around this awesome group of positive people.”

Dubbed ‘Northern Lights BNI’, the original members began meeting before COVID hit in hopes of establishing a chapter. Although the outbreak postponed those plans, Moriarty said it’s been going strong since their official founding one year ago.

Not only has it helped him grow his business, Moriarty said it’s also provided a positive group of people to learn from.

“You feel motivated,” he said. “(They’re) encouraging you to do well in your business and helping you succeed.”

BNI executive director Lawrence Roberts was onhand for the festivities on Tuesday. Roberts helps oversee the Saskatchewan BNI chapters as part of his role.

During a short speech to members, he said it was exciting to see a new group in Prince Albert.

“The sky is the limit,” Roberts said. “What I love about Prince Albert is it’s a tight knit community.”

While Roberts appreciates the camaraderie in Prince Albert, he said that also comes with some challenges.

BNI is an international business network, with members in more than 75 countries. Roberts said that sometimes makes people hesitant to accept invitations to get involved, but he’s confident the organization will prove its value.

“BNI members meet together every week. They learn how they can help and support each other, and as a result of that, they’re able to generate business that wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for BNI,” he said.

Roberts said small business professionals need a funnel of leads and clients coming in all the time to be successful. If they don’t, business face a boom or bust cycle, which is hard on cash flow and personal relationships.

He’s confident a group like Northern Lights chapter can fill that need.

“People don’t need BNI necessarily to go out and build their own network or team of professionals or anything like that, but we also know business professionals are some of the busiest people on the planet, and they are constantly being pulled in 100 different directions,” he said.

“If we don’t have a system in place to sort of semi-force us to get together and make some friends and build that network, often times it doesn’t happen.”