I’ve spent the last 16 years in networking groups promoting my pedorthic clinics and footwear stores. The contacts I gained are an enormous part of my success and allowed me to gain new customers, grow my network and develop meaningful relationships with fellow entrepreneurs.
The weekly, in-person, networking meeting is something I greatly love and value. In fact, I think more business people should leverage the value of meeting in person. It’s a different style and level of connection and I believe deeper relationships form when meeting in person rather than across a screen. And that’s most likely why networking organizations have survived for the last 100 years (yes, it's true. one of our clients will be 100 years old in 2016).
However, I did not love the way information was handled after those meetings or coffee conversations.
Valuable leads were written on paper, left on voicemail, or piled up in inboxes. And I watched with dread as the administrator of our group had to re-type all these leads from the member’s chicken scratch.
I also watched member’s hungrily pore over the annual report displaying the member’s performance stats -who sent the most leads, who brought the most guests, etc - but I knew the members only saw that report once a year because our admin had to spend hours in a spreadsheet to create it.
Truthfully, the inefficiency drove me insane. There had to be a better way. Why does my networking group not automate and systematize? There are computers to do this kind of work. But as I looked into it, I could see why no one had done it. It is expensive to create custom software.
But what if we all used the same software? I started calling networking groups to find out if other groups operated the way we did. And it turns out, a lot of groups were frustrated and were looking for a solution but couldn’t afford to build their own.
I’m sure you’ve thought about this yourself. Has your group discussed how to integrate online lead sharing with your website? Or how you could build a mobile app for lead sharing and accessing member’s profiles? But if you talk to anyone in the website/app building business you’d quickly realize how expensive custom software is.
But I saw and need and decided to go for it. I partnered with James, a top tier developer (who I know from my networking group, of course), and created software for professional networking groups.
And when I’m not connecting with customers and discussing features with James, I can be found in the yoga studio, training my border collie, hiking in the Rocky Mountains with my son and husband or poring over the real estate listings searching for my dream home in the mountains.
Find out more about networking groups across Canada, US and the UK by downloading the report that summarized the research I did to explore the feasibility of this project.
Or if you are thinking ‘We’re ready!’ and you know this is right for your group, let’s jump on a 1 on 1 live demo.
Founder, Blue Ocean Interactive Marketing
President of the Calgary Executives Association
Founder of Connectable.biz
Past President of Calgary Executives Association