Taking our business network leaders for granted

A Breakfast venue

A Breakfast venue

Getting the boot

I belong to a monthly networking group that has recently been unceremoniously ousted by the venue which has hosted us for a couple of years. It was not that we were a rowdy bunch. They just didn’t think they were making enough money out of us for the room we hired. No doubt they conveniently overlooked the amount we were spending in their pricey bar and café.

Our chairman had to find a new venue at rather short notice. His first attempt (and where we had our February meeting) was not a huge success. Not his fault. It turned out that other visitors made a considerable noise next door so that we were hardly able to hear each other. This is the sort of venue issue which only comes to light when you actually try it out rather than visit in the middle of a quiet morning.

Anyway, apparently we have a new venue for March and our leader thinks it will be a success. Let us hope so, but remember that he has spent a considerable amount of time researching and visiting potential meeting places. We owe him a vote of thanks.

Not a sausage

I have until recently been a long-time member of business breakfast clubs. I led one for a couple of years. The first venue went out of business and didn’t tell me or anyone else in the group. We turned up at 7 one Tuesday morning with the temperature at -4 Celsius (not a detail one forgets) and waited in the cold for about half an hour while we tried to find out what was going on.

In the glasshouse

I then had to find a new venue who would let us meet, serve breakfast and leave us alone for our meeting. It was difficult and I spent a lot of time on the telephone and then visiting possible meeting places. We stayed at the first place I chose for about three months.

We got great personal service but the room was noisy due to being rather open to other people coming in and out, and also because when it rained on the glass roof, no one could have much conversation without shouting. It seemed we would have to move again.

Out of the frying pan

I moved, partly at the request of a couple of members, to a posh new hotel on the seafront. The environment was better, but the service was corporate and therefore less personal except when one particular young lady was on duty, and who took the meaning of customer service seriously. We soldiered on until circumstances meant I had to quit as leader.

It would have been great to be thanked by everyone for all the hard work I put in in dealing with the venues, collecting the money and paying them, leading the meetings, thinking what was topical and canvassing members, keeping the records and generally contributing much more time than the weekly hour and a half. Yet when I stopped, only a couple of members took the time, and I had absolutely no thanks whatever from the group brand owners.

I did my best. I could not have done better in the circumstances, I don’t think. I made no real money from my efforts but that was never my intention. I am not complaining. It was an interesting experience. I would have just liked a bit more appreciation.

Do remember to thank your network group leaders for their efforts. They deserve it. They do it for you so that you can get more business. They are certainly not in it for the money that you pay each week, nearly all of which goes to pay for the meeting room and catering.

You would not want to deny someone that nice warm feeling one gets from being appreciated and thanked, would you?

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2 Responses to Taking our business network leaders for granted

  1. Andy Coote says:

    The issue sounds familiar. However, with our weekly business networking meetings I have three factors going for me that make it easier.

    We have worked hard to ensure that the Hotel understand our needs and they do now support and service our meetings very well.

    There are four of us in the group that organises and runs the meetings.

    We are not beholden to any other brand owner. Ours is independent and we can adapt our format to meet the needs of the attendees. Two things have come from that. We are ‘pay as you go’ and there are no attendance or referral requirements.

    What has happened is that we now have a wide range of attendees and business flows effortlessly between them. No need to force it. It just happens.

    And attending and running the group is fun.


  2. Jon Stow says:

    Yes, Andy, it should be fun. Also, we should not expect undying gratitude, and I don’t. I feel (and know from personal experience) that some just turn up and simply don’t think about the work that goes in to provide them with their networking opportunity.

    You have a good relationship with your hotel. My last venue was part of a chain with ever-changing managers distant from the concept of customer service. There was only one individual who took responsibility and she was rather junior. but it is what one wants. A subject for the next post.

    Thanks for chipping in.

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