How to Get Real World Benefits from Online Networking
I'll be speaking next Wednesday at the Next Level Executives.
Next Level Executives is going through some enhancements. I've been helping Mike Langford for the last year to incubate a new networking concept where 1) members hold private member only non-competitive meetings to help each other overcome challenges and 2) members create educational seminars that position themselves as experts to guests and other members in attendance. Here's an example of a public seminar the group held.
The concept solves two big problems that the average networking group has:
- Most groups don't require business owners to take their game up a notch. Nor do they provide a path for businesses to do that. The private member only meetings require business owners to discuss their challenges. Members take turns presenting their business, what their "next level" is and what they think is "Stopping them from getting there". There hasn't been a challenge raised that atleast one member has experience overcoming.
- Most networking groups are good at helping members get to know each other, establish trust and expertise within the group. This group has done that. But, it also has helped members establish their expertise to visitors. Generally, each public meeting has about 5-10 guests in attendance that show up to hear the speakers present. The goal of this group is to help small business owners start to market themselves through seminars.
With about 20 members, Mike has decided to take it up a notch. Kate Hyland Mercer, business coach extraordinaire has been recruited to help run the private portion of the meetings.
Mike also decided to construct an online site that would showcase members outside of the meeting and give them a chance to demonstrate their expertise online. He was originally looking at KickApps. I suggested Ning and a week later, Mike put together a first draft of the Next level Executives site on Ning.
Mike also has a few tricks up his sleeve for expanding this concept. I think it has a lot of potential.