Small Business Marketing with Meetup

Meetup logoIf you’re a Small Business owner or marketing professional in a small business, you undoubtedly find yourself at a point where you go to networking events and keep running into the same people over and over again. The monotony is not only mind-numbing but it’s also bad for sales as you’re not building new leads for your “trusted referral partner” network by seeing the same folks all the time. Well, worry no further as Meetup™ is here! Er, they’ve been here for more than a decade, but we won’t mind that little detail. So, what is Meetup and why does it matter to Small Business marketing?

 

MEETUP, THE MOVEMENT

September 11th changed the world; strangers helped strangers that day in remarkable ways Scott Heiferman recognized. He wanted to keep that momentum going and it became the inspiration for Meetup.com. Meetup, according to their own website, is:

Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.

Meetup’s mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.

I enjoy seeing the “Do something • Learn something • Share something • Change something” motto when you visit Meetup.com before logging in, and that’s the essence of what makes the platform so versatile. I feel like they should add “in real life!” to that message because that’s the key component to what I think Meetup does. It bridges the digital-analog divide so many of us face today with digital (email, phone and text message) and Social Media communications as our primary business contact throughout the workday (and perhaps even more so in our personal lives, trying to stay in touch with family and friends with ever-increasing work hours and workloads). All the Meetups are live, in-person group meetings coalesced around a shared interest. And, what does this have to do with your Small Business marketing efforts you ask? Read on!

 

SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING WITH MEETUP

Whether you’re trying to build your Small Business brand, increase sales to your local boutique or retail shop, or want to learn how to build a smartphone app, there’s a community of not only your target audience on Meetup but also like-minded small business entrepreneurs getting together to help you! That’s the power of Meetup! These meetings are usually free (though I believe in the give-what-you-can model since it does cost Meetup Organizers to create a Meetup group on Meetup.com and other administrative costs, plus the value of their time), you can see who’s going, and you can ask questions, share and collaborate before and after the get-together through Meetup.com.

I know that today with the proliferation of Web marketing, it’s easy to think that focusing as much of your resources on your Web presence is important but even I (a Web and digital business strategist) think that all the Web has to offer is worth nothing if it doesn’t make our physical, real world lives better! So, sign up for a Meetup account today, type in your industry, professional, service or product (or a current challenge facing your business), and RSVP for a Meetup in your community soon! You’ll be glad you did.

Ten Worst Consequences for Small Businesses Not Exit Planning [guest post]

Business For Sale

Here are ten of the most serious consequences suffered by owners who neglect to prepare their businesses for future sale or transfer (or, “exit planning”).

  1. The sole owner dies or becomes permanently disabled, but has insufficient (or no) life disability insurance, no business succession plan, and no estate plan.
  2. The business experiences a sudden, catastrophic loss and all of the owner’s financial eggs are in the business.
  3. There is no comprehensive buy-sell agreement between partners and one of them dies, or, the partners have an irreconcilable falling out; both of these situations commonly result in litigation.
  4. The business is hit with a massive and legitimate legal claim and there is no asset protection in place.
  5. The company’s key employee quits, taking the best customers  and employees with him, and the company has no non-compete agreement to prevent his actions.
  6. The owner wants to retire and sell the business to a family member but there is not enough time to make the transfer and pay minimal taxes.
  7. The owner has selected a capable non-family heir apparent but doesn’t have a succession plan in place and can’t realistically fund the transfer.
  8. The dream buyer comes along unexpectedly and makes an offer that can’t be refused, but the owner can’t make the sale because of the prohibitive tax cost and a complete absence of independent retirement income.
  9. An agreement to sell is made with the dream buyer because the owner has the tax and retirement income issues covered, but the buyer reduces the offer after finding aged accounts receivable and owner loans on the books.  In short, the company’s books were not in order.
  10. The business is struck by an unforeseeable set-back; it lacks financial planning and an exit strategy, as well as the in-place support from legal/financial advisors needed to help it weather the storm.

Guest Post by Lou Kastelic of Jordan Crandus.
Jordan-Crandus, P.A. is a primary business consulting firm specializing in the small to mid size company market where we have been assisting our clients since 1979. Our consultants provide investment-banking services representing buyers and sellers of businesses,advice on mergers and acquisitions, and assistance with enhancement programs to increase cash flow. We also provide business valuations for those looking to exit business ownership, mergers and acquisitions, employee stock ownership trusts, divorces, estate planning, buy/sell agreements, and any of the many other reasons appraisals are needed.

Photo courtesy of kevin dooley.