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