I recently had a friend email me with a question about her budget and the value of continuing her membership to a business network. She was wanting to get clarity around the value the group offered from a monetary perspective.
I pondered her question for 24 hours.
I know when you are doing a budget sometimes even the smallest amount of money wasted can make big difference to your bottom line. Especially if you have lots of small amounts going out on low-value items every month. So, I wanted to make sure I gave good advice.
Taking part in networking groups means different things for us all. We all have our own reasons for being involved in a particular group. I am heavily involved in two, and two others that I am on the fringe of. I am in each one for different reasons, and I pay varying amounts to be a member of each of them.
It is interesting to see how different people use the communities they are part of, but essentially if you are going to invest in networking communities, you need to be either earning, learning or building relationships. If you are not doing this, then you are wasting your time.
What makes a good networking community?
Like I said earlier there are many reasons to be involved in different groups. But, how I judge the groups I am involved in is like this. If I was not a member what would I be missing out on? Most people have a need to be included, it makes them feel special. I fall away from a group once I lose the feeling of being special and don’t I feel like I am missing anything. This always comes back to the relationships I have built amongst the people in the group.
My business mentor Roger Hamilton says, 'Your wealth is what you have left when you have lost everything.' What he means by this is, if you lost all your assets today, your true level of wealth is how quickly you can recover and regain that which you lost.
My interpretation of this is, our ability to recover from losing everything comes from the people we know and the quality of those relationships. If you were to find yourself in this position which network or community of people could you go to get help to recover.
Crystal Circle Conference 2016 Bali - Roger Hamilton's Community of Entrepreneurs
Be keenly involved in 3 communities
I believe, to recover and to keep all bases covered, you need to be keenly involved in building relationships in 3 communities. But this will only work if you are active and prepared to build those relationships.
The value of the communities that I am in is in its members, not for what they offer in monetary value because those members may never be my clients, but they know and trust me as a person. Therefore they will refer potential business to me.
I know if I was ever in a position where I had lost everything I could go to my community, and they would help me to recover.
The advice I gave my friend was to ‘decide if you are in the right community to get that help. If not find another one that will give you the relationships that will help build you up when you are down.