I have taken some time away to connect with family, and on my travels I noticed the impact of COVID even as the situation is easing or still going through uncertain periods in some countries, including the rising inflation.
One knock on effect of COVID is the decrease in membership of many business networks across the country. And MBF has also been affected by this.
During a committee meeting, the committee agreed that we do a survey and a Think Tank workshop.
I believe in looking for opportunities amongst the crises.
What the survey tells us
The recent MBF survey indicates:
A shift in behaviour due to COVID (e.g. concerns over safety)
Financial constraints leading to the necessity of getting a job
Some members took the opportunity to retire from their business
Owners have problems getting staff so they now have to work in their business and have time constraints
People are just 'busy'
Many mentioned what they appreciated about MBF in the survey:
Having access to local information, connections and networking
Collaborative, friendly and educational atmosphere
There was something for everyone regardless of the stage of the business
Referrals from members and guests
Some aspects of MBF members wanted changes in were:
Get new faces in
Duration of the Friday meetings is too long
Changes at MBF
It is clear that many business networks are affected by the effects of COVID so MBF also needs to 'readjust' some of our activities. This is primarily for two reasons:
To encourage new small businesses to join MBF
To create relevant activities that support small business owners
MBF had a Think Tank workshop on 1st July facilitated by myself and attended by Glenda Hamilton, John Clarke, Alison Carroll, Barbara Smith, Lyn Richardson, Wendy Hee, Wendy Haynes, Stephen, Selena Hata with Mark Wilson and David Storok providing insights from an 'outside MBF' perspective.
The participants were helpful with giving suggestions about how to turn things around at MBF, such as:
Ensure a mix of content for both new and experienced businesses
Convert members from the Coffee Connects
Change the timing and length of meetings
Make meetings more interactive instead of having just one speaker, podium style
Possibility of having a few meetings via Zoom
Gain a more in-depth understanding of what members do
Have more flexibility with events in terms of time, type, length
Have more opportunities to develop business connections
Reviving membership at MBF
Taking everything into consideration, the participants came up with some quick start changes that we can implement to help drive up MBF membership.
Firstly, MBF itself needs to focus on raising awareness of what we do, with a clear, consistent and inclusive message so people know we include all small businesses. The new MBF message is straight forward, thanks to Mark Wilson.
MBF supports small businesses like yours
New event trials
MBF will also trial monthly evening events with networking and learning instead of the 3-hour meetings every other month.
I will announce MBF's plans at the AGM on Friday 5th August.
MBF's Annual General Meeting
Please consider nominating for committee and help drive MBF success further.
The MBF Annual General Meeting is on Friday 5 Aug 2022. The new committee will bring forward the new MBF plan based on the recent Think Tank workshop to support small businesses better.
Please note that the AGM will be part of MBF´s regular meeting and it will be followed by a presentation on ¨How to use content effectively for website, social media and emails to attract and engage¨ by Veronica Lind of Vermilion Pinstripes - Sales Marketing Communications.
MBF AGM 2022 and marketing presentation
Date: 5th August 2022
Location: Port Macquarie Panthers, 1 Bay St, Port Macquarie, NSW 2444, Australia
Meet other small business owners at MBF July Coffee Connect
Date/Time: 14th July 2022
Where: Brew Haven
Indicate if your are going here: https://www.facebook.com/events/345513121042796
Topic: Learn to enhance the running of your business with simple but effective technology tips and tricks by Barbara Smith, The Roving Trainer.
Date: 20th July 2022
Location: Success Tax Professionals office, 5/124 Horton Street, Port Macquarie, NSW 2444, Australia.
MBF brochures are available to anyone who wants to give to an interested business owner or for display in their premises.
Just as MBF has been supporting small businesses through challenging times, MBF also needs your support to keep going so small businesses in our community have a place for friendly networking, support and learning. Over the years, MBF has done a lot to make a difference in helping small businesses find their place in the business ecosystem. I trust we can continue to do this with the help of all our committee and members who bring in their invaluable skills, expertise and knowledge to enrich the growth of our community.
Micro Business Forum