Monday, March 17, 2014

Zen and the Art of Meeting Up for Professional Business Networking

Finding harmony in disparate but connected roles within the AppsJack Business Services Meetups.

I've written several times recently about the AppsJack Business Services Meetups and continue to put thought into the goals, purposes, and capabilities of these things.  Part of me wants them to be exclusive meaning they'll only involve the right people and no riff-raff will be there.  Another part of  me wants them to be inclusive and harmonious meaning that they're great and powerful for those who attend.  So, then, how can this community and these events be both exclusive to the right people and inclusive as to individuals needs?  Seems oxymoronic but the answer lies in role clarity.  I'll explain.

Renshi's Performance Blog defines role clarity as "everyone in the company understanding their role and why they are doing it."  I see this as a major part of what I have to do with these meetups.  The primary roles involved in the meetups are:

  1. Entre-ployee - People working at a place where they're kinda bored and looking for something more. They're not really representing this company, but more themselves as an entrepreneur, consultant, adviser or service provider.
  2. B2B Service Provider - These are people whose primary business is providing products or services *to* businesses, such as an attorney, software sales  person, consultant, or project manager.  Their market = businesses.  
  3. Business representative - These are people who represent businesses.  The Entre-ployee sometimes plays this role but sometimes does not.  
  4. Self - Sometimes you're just representing yourself.
  5. Non-B2B Business Representative - These are people who work for or represent a business whose primary customer is NOT businesses.  For example, they're dentists, hair stylists, or dog-walkers.  They do not sell directly to businesses typically.
So within these roles five roles, how do we gain clarity?  I think that's the issue that we need to address with the meetups and through dialog on the blog and in our communities.  Why does each role exist?  What are their specific needs?  Where are there synergies?  What are the capabilities of each?  How can they help each other create new opportunities without destroying existing ones?  How can they protect and help one another?  How can they act cooperatively rather than competitively when possible?  

These are the issues we'll be discussing within these meetups as they take off.  What are your thoughts?