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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Like McDonald’s, Subway is following suit. Till April 22nd, 2010 you can get your Seattle’s Best coffee free at any Subway, this on the heals of the Golden Arches experiment that increased sales in the Month of March. This another low-level example of how the Open & Free Business Model works. In the retail sector they have a name for it, Loss Leaders. They would blow out product that hasn’t moved or strategically bring in a product of low cost and use it to draw in customers. This is not a new concept but strengthens the argument for the Open & Free Business Model to increase revenues.

I can’t help wondering what’s next, this is the kind of thing I teach and recommend to local businesses, how they can increase awareness, brand and revenues by strategically using what they may already have in house. As I’ve mentioned before, the Open & Free Business Model is not a skill set, it’s a paradigm shift, a new way of looking at the world of business, especially online but also win the brick & mortar types. I hold workshops to help business owners make progress on the deemed paradigm shift, so they can go back to the office and help staff make small changes. The world is coming, it’s not here yet, but when it does, you’ll want to be ahead of the wave. Otherwise, you may get wiped out by that wave.

The fear of loss is what most business owners go to bed with at the end of each business day. How will coveer this, how will I….and so on. The fear of losing their business or money of any amount is a problem. The Open & Free Business Model embraces that fear and confronts it, how, by doing something different and taking a small calculated risk. You most likely took that risk when you started your business.

McDonald’s obviously has resources most of us don’t have, Subway isn’t nearly as large but they see the benefit of giving away Seattle’s Best Coffee for the purposes of leveraging a Social Currency called ATTENTION. McDonald’s sales increased when they ran the experiment of giving away coffee for short period of time, the loss if any, was minimal and got them a ton of Attention. These arrangements are called Strategic Alignments or Alliances, Seattle’s Best wants to sell more coffee, offers to provide the coffee by leveraging Subways customer base. Who wins? They both do!

Even if you don’t own a business, your going to remember Subway’s name, and Seattle’s Best Coffee sales will go up. What a simple concept, but yet the fear of loss seems to win over most business owners. If you’re dealing with the fear right now, go to Subway and have a coffee on the house till April 22nd and get creative with how you can overcome that fear. Or, take my workshop and learn how to defeat the fear by learning the Open & Free Business Model Mindset.

I had to get out of the home office today, I drove down the road to a great little coffee shop called Gourmet Gallery. It so happens I had come down to my church to let the cleaners in so I had an excuse to get out, right next door is the coffee shop, so I brought my Laptop. One of the great things about getting out is you run into people you normally wouldn’t meet during the week, I even got to help setup the Christmas Tree here today!

Here’s a cool pic of the shop:


The tree is tucked way in the back of the shop, they have two already setup and a third back in the left hand corner of the picture. While here I did some research online and hunkered down to a London Fog, have you ever tried one? They are so yummy. Here I am sipping on one:

Owen Greaves

Owen Greaves

It’s a great day, you should be here! Cya Later.