I've launched a few micro-networking groups since joining Rutan to bolster and grow the relationship networks of individual partners. A micro-group is an invitation-only group of service providers each focused on the same corporate buyer. The groups never have more than 14 members, and only one firm/company/person is allowed in a specific professional services vertical (one banker, one attorney, one financial printer, etc.).
We get together one morning a month, and to keep the group vital and productive we have a few simple guidelines for everyone:
- Be prepared when you arrive by doing your homework. Write down names, companies, and activities you are going to share.
- Things to share are: What new companies have you visited with in the last 30 days that would be of interest to the group; What companies are you pursuing and need help with; What networking events will you be attending; What new networking relationships have you started that would benefit someone else in the group; What industry/business news have you heard; And, what positions or people have you heard are open or in transition.
- Never share anything compromising or confidential.
- Never share anything heard inside the group with others on the outside.
What is magical about these micro-groups is the camaraderie that develops between the professionals in the group. Having close confidants working the same markets, walking the same events, and toiling away with nearly identical objectives is empowering.