At least twice a year the team at Bury Business Group book a stand at a local business expo, with the aim of continuing to raise our profile within the local community, and to build more awareness around what we do. It’s a great way to catch up with old contacts, and make new ones.
However, one thing we often end up discussing with those who are potentially interested in joining us is our stance on category competition. It seems people fall in to one of two camps: they either get it, or they wholeheartedly disagree with it.
We’re not saying one camp is right over any other (some of our members have differing opinions on the matter) but here’s what our view, as a group, is.
What is Category Competition?
Like many membership-based business networking groups we have a long-standing rule whereby a member holds the seat for any given industry. This means that there is no immediate competition, within the group, for work in the same field.
The principal being, of course, that as a member you are paying to be at the group. You are paying to participate, and equally, because this is business, you are there to receive as many referrals as possible from your co-members. It therefore makes sense that you would want to be the only person representing your particular area of expertise within that location.
Why limit competition?
Of course, many people who aren’t in favour of this approach query what people are afraid of. It’s a valid point – business is inherently competition based. You can’t stop other people from replicating your business, or even working within your industry, so why stop them from joining the same networking group as you?
From our perspective removing the possibility of conflict is not about removing fear of competition. Instead, it’s about sensible business and cost versus value. Whilst our membership fees are significantly lower than the vast majority of other membership networking groups, there is still a cost. There is a cost for membership, and there’s the cost of your time (which will vary depending on each member).
The referrals you receive, which get turned in to business, should (hopefully) outweigh these actual, and perceived, costs. If, for example, the group is only able to offer 10 referrals per year which turn in to business for your industry, and they are having to split those referrals between you and a competitor within the group, then that’s 50% less business you will receive. That dramatically impacts the cost effectiveness of the group to your business. Would you stay?
Asides from that, removing the possibility for conflict makes life easier for your fellow members. There is no sense of divided loyalty, no confusion over which particular accountant is better at tax planning or working with charities. It does make life simpler, and surely that’s something we can all get on board with?
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so please get in touch! Or speak to us about arranging your FREE visit (providing you don’t clash with any existing members, of course). Just CLICK HERE.