The e mail list, where everyone has opted in is approaching 80 organisations, and all this from just 4 meetings so far. The member profile is made up of many local Romney Marsh organisations and businesses and others from adjacent areas, some as far as 20 miles away.
So, did all this happen because it felt like a good idea? I think we know the answer to that question!
The idea was how it began, so why has it worked so well, so far?
Simply because when the idea was developed, 12 months ago, it began with a short business statement and proposal and then a plan was developed and followed and reviewed on a regular basis.
The key steps were:
- Develop a business statement of intent and proposal
- Produce a plan to move from proposal stage to launch
- Identify local and regional influencers
- Discuss proposal with them and take feedback and input – amend plan
- Research with local businesses and organisations to establish whether the proposal was realistic and met the needs of the area and local organisations – take feedback and amend plan
- Discuss proposal with other networking groups and take feedback and amend plan
- Obtain the support of influencers and local organisations to promote the new networking group via their channels such as face to face, social media and e mail
- Obtain the support of 2 local venues to provide meeting facilities and refreshments
- Test the final networking offer and event with local organisations by cold calling
- Use of Twitter, e mail and local Facebook groups to market the new networking group
- Launch the networking Group events, engage attendees with background to group objectives including community and business engagement.
- Record numbers attending, follow up each meeting with a bulletin, announce recommendations and feedback on contacts and collaboration, together with business done and upcoming events.
- Encourage members to post on Facebook page.
- Keep in regular contact with members
- Evaluate progress and amend future plans and test future ideas with members
The approach to planning, developing and successfully launching The Romney Marsh Networking Group, is no different at the strategic level to any other activity,
- Have a great idea
- Map out what success will look like
- Draft a plan of how to get there
- Research the idea with the market and users
- Finalise your plan
- Deploy your plan
- Review on an on going basis