Frequently Asked Questions

Q - What is the purpose of your Athens Business Networking International Group (BNI), aka "Athens Referral Factory"?

A - We are a group of businesses in the Athens, Georgia area who meet weekly to help one another grow our businesses through referrals and networking.

Q - Who can visit the Athens Referral Factroy?

A - Anyone can visit our group twice as a guest.  After that, we ask that you discuss your membership options with our membership committee.

Q - Who can join the Athens Referral Factory?

A - We only allow one member per business category.  So if you do not see a company representing your category in our member directory, you are welcome to apply!  We have a screening and interview process that each prospective member must go through before approval.  This process ensures that we have the best group possible!  If you have questions, please contact Keenan Nottingham, head of our membership committee or anyone on our leadership team.

Q - What are the benefits of joining the Athens Referral Factory?

A - Each person in our group is encouraged to get to know you and your business when you join.  We do this each week during general networking and also throughout the week by having one on one meetings with one another.  You will be encouraged to get to know all the existing members, as well.  The more we know and trust each other, the more business we can refer to each other.  We believe in "givers gain" - the more you give, the more you receive.

Q - What are the costs of joining the Athens Referral Factory?

A - The first year's membership dues are $560.  We also have a weekly meeting cost of $10 which is invoiced on a quarterly basis.  Your second year's membership fee will be $460. 

Q - Do I have to pay the full membership fee before joining.

A - Yes.  We do not have a payment plan option.  But we do accept credit cards.  Please talk to someone on the membership committee if you have questions regarding payment.

Q - Why do you meet weekly?  Do I have to attend every week?

A - We meet weekly because we are serious about growing our businesses and supporting one another.  Meeting each week shows committment.  You are allowed to miss 3 meetings in a 6 months period, but after that your classification may be opened back up.  We encourage the use of substitutes (someone to fill in for you during your absence) when you must miss a meeting.  If you send a substitute, the absence is not counted against you.

Q - I see my category is taken in this group, is there any other BNI groups in our area?

A - Yes, there are currently several other BNI groups that meet in our area.  It's possible one of them will have a vacancy for your classification.  Please feel free to ask anyone on our leadership team for information on the other area meetings.

Q - How can I get the most out of my membership after I join?

A - Our group works hard to get you integrated and feeling at home quickly.  You will have a meeting with someone on our membership committee immediately before or after joining.  They will cover all the basics about being an active/productive member of our group.  You will attend a BNI training class soon after joining that will help you learn how to get the most out of your investment.  Plus you will be paired with our New Member Mentor, so you have someone to go to with questions during your first few months.  We want your experience with our group to be enjoyable and profitable!