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Posts Tagged ‘Community’

The Future Of Business – The Chamber Of Commerce & The Tribe

Most of us have routines, I have a regular habit of stopping into the same place for my morning coffee, no it’s not Starbucks or Tim Horton’s. It’s the Roasted Grape, the coffee is amazing and the food is even better. People think I own the place I’m there so often, or have shares in the business….I don’t.

One morning I stopped in for coffee, there was a networking group meeting at the time, I knew at least half of the people there. I sat off to the side drinking my coffee when I heard my name, they asked me to join them, I asked…are you sure? I know me, I’ll talk if you give me the floor : )

After the session was over, a number of people approached me to chat, that’s why we go to these types of events right? I tend to ask more question when I sit at these round tables, mostly to make people think, because that’s what I do. Much of my work is reviewing business plans, asking a thousand questions, consulting, and public speaking. Sometimes, 4 – 5 times a year I will hold a workshop on the future of business – the open and free business model.

After chatting with a number of people, I posed the concept of, I think your local Chamber of Commerce should adopt the Tribe Model. I was asked the big question of course, what would that would that look like to you? I had to stop myself, I didn’t want to just blurt out a bunch of thoughts without actually thinking it through more. I’m not even sure I have it clear in my head right now, but I want to get it down and ask you what you think of the idea?

The biggest difference between a tribe and a community is….PASSION! The leaders and the members of the tribe have a high level of passion for something, it could be anything, as long as it benefits the tribe. It could even be a cause. Communities are more of a “gathering place”, they’re kind of stagnant and are formed from common interests of community members, or the squeaky wheels. Great tribes are always in motion, communities are not, they tend to be pretty static and have a hierarchy that operates from the top down.

Communities are like churches to me, they think in terms of programs and projects rather than being in a constant state of flux. Flux merely means flow, and that flow is always forward thinking.

We should look for tribes within communities, but don’t assume the community is a tribe. Great tribes tend to be formed by people with expertise, desire and passion, but don’t put to much emphasis on expertise.

These are a few initial thoughts, it’s very high level, but you know who the people are within your communities that are passionate about something in the business community. The Chamber should let these passionate people build, rather than try to control them. But that would mean chaos, and very few are willing to let chaos happen, why, it feels to out of control.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this concept, or your ideas on how your local chamber could adopt a more open and free model, one where the members are in a constant state of flux. It would mean a radical new way of thinking about chamber.

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The Future Of Business Is Not Playing It Safe

The title may mess you up a little, but just keep reading and you’ll find the nuggets, if you get what I’m talking about.

A little over a month ago I spoke at a large conference, I was pretty bold, I told people that I hated FaceBook, and that I will offend someone before I’m finished. I did. I also shared that we are hypocritical, for example, I told business owners to give something away for free to those who repeatedly came back to your business, blog, website, anything that you would come into contact with a customer. People actually gasped, I can’t do that one person said. So I asked them, If you won’t give something away, someone else will, but why is it that you won’t give anything away, but yet you are the first one in line when someone else does? Is that you?

Why is it that we build a business, we do everything and anything to get it to a profitable state, we suddenly go into management mode. We actually stop doing what got us profitable, or maybe even successful. We took risk after risk, we didn’t care what anyone said, we didn’t care what anyone thought, we just stepped out and made things happen. We weren’t playing it safe, we were putting ourselves out there, willing to take the hits, the no’s and even the snickers. So what happened?

Giving something away is not a high risk act, in fact, it should be a well thought out strategy. And why wouldn’t you reward those who got you to where you are, they bought you product or service, they even invested time in reading your blog, they probably attended a talk you gave, but yet you still remain closed to the idea.

I’ll bet most of risk something higher in value while building you business, why is it then, once you enter management mode you are reluctant to risk anything? Again I ask you, is this you? If so, maybe it’s time to take a breather and spend some time doing something you may not have done in a very long time.

THANK YOUR COMMUNITY!

Thank them by giving them credit, write about them, brag about them, and maybe even give them something for free. That smacks of the Open & Free Business Model doesn’t it? Without your community you have nothing. In fact, if you fail to do this, you are playing it safe. Don’t do business in a safe manner, always challenge yourself to step close to the edge, learn to trust your community, afterall, they came to trust you first.

The Future Of Business Is Not Playing It Safe, keeping doing the things that made you profitable, and most of all, thank your community.

Creating A #SocialMedia Community? Don’t Follow This Example.

This is a guest post from Brian G. Rice of Rice Team Consulting, he shared his story of an experience he recently had with a Social Media Community. Today we are going back to small town rules, especially within Social Media Networks, you can’t lie, trick or hide anymore, integrity is at risk if you start playing games with people, or don’t provide good service. Someone, like Brian, will start talking about you and your integrity, your businesses reputation begins to tarnish when this happens.

Here is Brians Story.

Last week a message appeared in my LinkedIn inbox from PwC.  I was being invited to the PwC Private Business Exchange on LinkedIn.  After checking to make sure that the PwC in question was indeed the company formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, I quickly accepted their invitation.

I use social media to market my consulting services.  Here is this great big, well respected company giving me the opportunity to present my content to a whole group of business people within the context of borrowed credibility of PwC?  You betcha I said yes.

To my mind, the fact that this was a LinkedIn group made it even better.

I have been using LinkedIn for over seven years.  LinkedIn was the social media site for business before there really were social media sites.  The culture of LinkedIn has always been one of a high signal to noise ratio.  From its early days as a resume sharing site, it has been a place where you connect with people who you have actually done some sort of business with.

In terms of business credibility, LinkedIn is the best social media site out there.

So I accepted the invitation, and quickly posted an introduction to myself.  Nothing fancy, and nothing long. I suggested that people take a look at my LinkedIn profile, and then I asked a question: What motivates you to hire a consultant?  Nothing spammy.  No hard sales technique.  Just a simple question.  I hit send on my post, and I was informed that it would appear shortly after the moderator approved it.

Then I waited.  And waited.  And waited. And then I was removed from the group.

Before I was able to get to angry about this, I received another note from someone at PwC.  Apparently, they had such a large response to their offer that they decided to create a second group for companies with less than 50 employees because they “recognize that entrepreneurs face unique challenges as they grow their business.”

The message, for those not equipped with built-in Marketing-to-English dictionaries, was basically “We don’t want you bothering our big important potential clients.”

I’m not actually writing this post to pick on PwC.  I am offering here a cautionary tale: marketing social media is about building relationships.   The clear-headed business person in me can see what happened here, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t make me angry. PwC is now in deficit relationship-wise with me, and they are going to have to work to gain back my trust.

First impressions in any relationship are important.  PwC is an established, respected company, and they had invited me to join a private business forum! This made a very good first impression.  It didn’t matter that I knew I had just been bulk invited to this list.  The invite did make me feel important and special.

I’d still feel that way if they had simply done a little research into my company (everything they needed to know is on my LinkedIn profile) and invited me to their “Entrepreneurs Exchange” in the first place.  Instead, as I emailed to the forum administrator, I feel like I have been shuffled off to the small kids table.  The fact that I have never received a response to that email has only worked to underline this feeling.

If you are going to use social media to market your company, you need to understand that relationships are built on communication.

A short email back to me, sincere and honest in its approach, could have turned my entire attitude around.  Even an email disagreeing with me would have been better than nothing.  By ignoring me, they have made me feel even less respected than before.

The future of business and marketing is based on relationships.  More and more, people are going to buy products and services from people they trust and have a relationship with.  Companies like PwC are realising that this shift is occurring, and they are trying to take advantage of it.

But just like real life, the downside of using relationships to market your product or service is that when you make a mistake, you need to work much harder to fix the problem.  A single negative “debit” on the relationship balance sheet can wipe out multiple positive “credits”.

As I am finishing this article, I have been waiting over twenty-four hours to have a post approved to the new PwC forum I was invited to.  Rationally, I’m sure that the moderator has just been busy. But emotionally?  I just can’t help feeling more ignored.

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Do you have any thoughts or comments you wish to leave Brian? Is he over reacting, is he right, what do you think? Feel free to comment here on Owengreaves.com

Headwayhub.com – Releases Video Series

Now many of you know I use Headway Themes here on Owengreaves.com, I’m a huge fan of the product, and the support community, it’s the best. I was going to put this on my Headway page but I thought everyone should know about this first hand, on my homepage, in your face so to speak.

I began using Headway Themes over a year ago, and I’ve met some savvy people in the Headway community, one in particular stands out, and is a young, sharp entreprenuer named Corey. Corey built a website dedicated to helping others use Headway Themes, and now Corey has gone a step further by developing a series of tutorials on video. The low cost of these video’s could possible save you hours of work. Be sure to checkout “How to build a Community Run Website with Headway Themes and Gravity Forms”. You can find these videos on HeadwayHub.com.

These videos will allow you to design and build effective community driven websites, there’s no need for programming knowledge, just follow Corey’s instructions….point, click, drag & drop, and SHAZZAM! Each tutorial is less than ten minutes long and contain simple instructions on how to build your community website.

You will love Corey’s gentle voice, leading you through each process, and they are simple and easy to follow, no fuss no muss. I highly recommend you get the series, Corey has wrapped it up in an easy to use package for you. Get it here.

A Word On The Future & Paying Attention

I often throw facts and figures at you when I talk about the Future of Business and other aspects of business, but I want you to give this message some thought. The future of business is not that complicated if you are indeed paying attention. In fact, you don’t have to look very far to see whats happening, try your own backyard.

People are creatures of habit, you can tell what’s going on by paying attention to the behavioural patterns of those around you. Better yet, if you really want to find out what’s going to happen, ask the under 20 generation what they want, how they plan to get it, and how they would do it. Do this next step and tell me what you see:

Drive through your community and ask yourself one question. What’s missing?

This rule has been around since the birth of man, find a need, fill a need.

So look around and figure out what need is not being met in your community, then build a plan to fill that need.

Your action items are:

1.) Take Inventory find a need not being met in your community.

2.) Take Actionbuild a plan to fill that need.

Simple advice for you to ponder. The future of business is in your hands, how complex and how big you want that business to be is up to you.

Any thoughts, please do share them.