Being the CEO of a growing business is demanding work. More often than not as a small business owner you are single-handedly responsible for making executive decisions, from identifying your target segment, to developing your product/ service, hiring the right people, getting your goods out there and developing your marketing strategy (which today includes a gamut of social media tools). Add to this the obvious financial risks of going solo. While a prerequisite to being a successful entrepreneur is the ability to take on precisely these challenges, it can feel lonely and at times perplexing to run a business by your own.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could meet up with fellow business owners on a regular basis, exchange ideas, discuss problems and gain insight into probable solutions for your business? Well that’s exactly what ‘Meetups’, the largest networking website of local groups, has to offer. Meetups are groups of people that come together to discuss their likes, interests, passions and yes, even business strategy. Finding a group that is relevant to your area of interest is as simple as entering your city, category of ‘Meetup’ and reaching out to a group that you want to be part of. For example under the career and business category in New York, the NYC Business Networking Group and NY Entrepreneurs Business Network are some of the more popular Meetups. Most Meetup’s are managed by a group of organizers who fix the venue, send out invites and plan the agenda. Members of the group can RSVP their intent for attending the event. Some gatherings are sponsored so the group members don’t pay, while others require members to pay a fee for attending the Meetup event.
Starting a MeetUp is easy too. The website subscription charges are as little as $2 a month to $5 a month and you are required to pledge facilitation of face to face interaction among the group you wish to start. Once the group is activated, the website helps send out invites to other like-minded members who may be interested in becoming part of your group. With effect from April 30th this year, new features are being enabled that group organizers can use to make their MeetUp page stand out. These include headlined group names, new color palettes and background images.
The MeetUp website currently hosts 13.37 million members and 126,837 groups across 196 countries. At the time of writing this article, the site had registered a staggering 100,682,152 RSVP’s from people confirming attendance of MeetUps hosted on the site. It is estimated that the number of gatherings held as a result of MeetUp generate an economic value of roughly $100-150 million a year.
We certainly hope that after reading this blog you will be inclined to look for a Meetup group near you and not necessarily a business group. After all, being a small business owner doesn’t have to be all work and no play.