Why Mauritius Business Network Grew During Lockdown! .. Did You Grow?
2020-06-23 03:35:44 • Len Brunyee
Why Mauritius Business Network Grew During Lockdown! Did You Grow? Written by Dr. Len Brunyee (MBN Member) The lockdown put most of us in a negative mindset. A very cold “winter” had arrived. However, Mauritius Business Network decided to prepare for warmer weather – we started preparing the ground for the coming of “spring”. Amazing – the impact this new approach had on the ‘sanity’ of our members in this abnormal state. The little motivation we had was given direction – to succeed. WHAT WE WANTED TO ACHIEVE • Stay positive • Promote camaraderie and encourage each other • Get those members working from home, ‘cleaned up’, shaved, or with make-up on, dressed and ready for each meeting; • Involve members in sharing their expertise and experience. • Help members grow and develop their skills in anticipation for the coming “spring”; • Promote the principles of good networking. WHAT WE DID 1. Serious use of Zoom Under normal conditions we hold three face-to-face network meetings each month and one Zoom meeting. During the lockdown we held a formal Zoom meeting every Thursday from 9h30 to 11h00. The highlight of each Zoom meeting was the 45 second screen time opportunity given to both members and visitors, to each share their business, products or services. We followed this with 5 minute break- away sessions in smaller Zoom meeting rooms with groups of four and five people. The breakaways offered a further opportunity to share one’s sales pitch and educate our MBN “sales team” – each MBN member is part of the “bigger sales team” – this defines our basic networking principle. THE MOST IMPORTANT OPERATING PRINCIPLE of Mauritius Business Network - "We become members, not to sell to each other – but to educate each other on our business, products or services we each offer then, our fellow members in turn, promote our products and services to their personal networks". For example, this multiplies – 200 members each having 15 potential leads – then MBN becomes a source of 3000 referrals. 2. Sharing of services Members were encouraged to participate and present their own material to the other members wanting or needing services or products. These Special Services amongst members were offered at much reduced rates or no cost at all. These rates and special free services were over and above the discounts our members receive from each other under normal circumstances. 3. Additional meetings and events Additional ongoing events like ‘How to Network like a Pro’ were held. This online session, held twice during the lockdown, reasonably priced with HRDC claiming rights, shared insights with members on how to get maximum return on the time invested on networking. Another event, held twice, was ‘6 Steps to Grow your Business’- 80 people attended these introductory sessions on how to focus on business opportunities and growth. A further 10 free lessons were offered on ‘How to Survive and Thrive’ and members were encouraged to gear up on marketing initiatives and prepare their businesses for the coming ‘economic spring’. These sessions on business improvement have now become available for members as a 12-month on-line programme with monthly business themes and coaching support. 4. Educational bites When we saw the coming of ‘spring’ we said, “Let’s prepare our members through short, to the point educations sessions, on their general wellbeing, state of mind and body “. So at the start of each meeting our own members shared short sessions on the value of the correct foods, vitamins, and exercise during lockdown. Additional sessions were held on managing our state of mind and improving how we allow our thinking processes to control our behavior – we were encouraged to enjoy the imminent freedom and reminded to be purposeful in our thinking about the bold steps we will take towards success and moving our businesses forward. The marketing educational bite sessions covered the use of MBN’s various social media marketing facilities available to all paid up members. 5. Increased marketing expenditure Our marketing expenditure increased by 200% at a time when the natural inclination was to reduce expenditure. Our MBN social media visibility, through professional support with SEO help, increased our exposure and attracted many more people from South Africa, and as far afield as India and Dubai. 6. Exposure on Facebook of MBN member’s Good Service Delivery We started a “Testimonial Tuesday” on Face book to promote members who had given exceptional service. The added benefit was that this was done on social media so the public exposure was amplified for the business owner. 7. Improvements in MBN operational procedures Much work was done to improve the professionalism of MBN as an organisation. All members received E-membership cards, visitor’s cards or vouchers to attend future meetings is now well coordinated. Registration and operational issues with Zoom improved - even with large numbers online. OUR RESULTS – WE GREW! Growing during this lockdown, with its many restrictions and ever-increasing negativity, is an amazing achievement, for which we are very proud. The network has achieved growth in the following areas: 1. Growth in new members and renewals increased by 15 %. 2. Growth in marketing budget - 200%. 3. Growth in Zoom meeting attendance maxed at 57 people with 42 referrals. 4. Growth in contact base increased to 2500. 5. Growth in benefits to members. 6. Growth of positive emotional benefits experiences by members, as given in their testimonials of how our vision of the “coming spring” had given them more hope and faith in the future. 6. Growth of a MBN Team Spirit that developed amongst us offered a degree of comfort as one never felt alone – just a phone call, message or email, could take you up into a group of like-minded friends and colleagues - invaluable. GOING FORWARD At last week’s meeting a benefit was launched to help companies that may need a further boost at this time. For every membership new or renewed (and paid) by the end of June 2020 a further membership will be gifted … to a fellow entrepreneur who could use a boost. We therefore, trust that potential new members reading this post will take heart from what we have achieved during the lockdown. So, as restrictions are lifted, we hope you will consider joining us - as we continue on our growth path into the future. Our last lockdown Zoom meeting is on Thursday 25 June 2020. Then on the following Thursday, 2 July 2020, we will be back to our normal programme of three face to face meetings and one Zoom meeting each month. So consider joining us at our next meeting. CONTACT INFORMATION Denise Pitot email@example.com +230 54749851 www.mauritiusbusinessnetwork.com