My last What's On Bulletin of 2020...Signing off for 2020 – and looking forward to an exciting New Year ahead in Networkland...
First, I wish all you lovely 2,300+ Members a relaxing (and hopefully Zoom-free :0) Christmas break! Thanks for being a Member of Networking in Surrey, and giving me a reason to carry on running this free resource for businesses across the county, and increasingly, all over the UK (and beyond).
Secondly, a huge thank you all those NiS Members who have advertised or taken paid listings to sponsor NiS, keeping it free for everybody in business to use as a resource to plan their networking diaries. ->->-> Click the current ads here to check them out...... -> -> ->
It looks like online networking will be the only game in town for the foreseeable future, despite the valiant efforts of a couple of small organisations and individual groups to meet in-person with limited numbers, in a frustrating on-off cycle.
Even when we get back to face-to-face events more consistently, the networking landscape will have changed forever - and gazing into my crystal ball, here are a few of my best predictions as to the state of networking in 2021...
- Online is here to stay, BIG TIME! As with retail (Amazon, home shopping), and media (Netflix, Facebook , Twitter, Apple) the Covid Slingshot Effect has catapulted business into cyberspace, and there’s no going back.
- Zoom will grow more versatile, and dominate networking and meetings for smaller businesses, leaving the other online platforms (Teams, Hopin, Remo et al) struggling for market share. Zoom will buy out any of the smaller ones that succeed.
- The established major players in Networkland (BNI, 4N and their clones) will struggle to justify their subscription fees, especially for new recruits, now that all networking events have much the same look and feel (one Zoom Room looks much like the next). Missing the supplementary income from breakfast sales to offset their operating costs, they will need to diversify and expand their offering to maintain membership levels.
- Brad Burton, having decimated BNI in the UK by introducing 4Networking, is now going after the core BNI market with his exclusive referral offering, 1Networking. Expect blood on the carpet!
- Online tech makes the cost of setting up networking groups miniscule, with every business person now comfortable in ZoomWorld. There’s no barrier to entry, so expect an ongoing flow of new free groups, which over time will try - and mostly fail – to make the transition to paid membership.
- Imaginative innovation will be the key differentiator – people will need a reason to pay, when there’s always a tempting free alternative waiting in the wings.
- As with cars, ‘hybrid’ is the keyword when in-person returns, with groups using free online taster sessions to attract paid subscribers, or extend their scope.
- Geographical boundaries have disappeared now that we can network anywhere in the world with no travel time or expenses. The world is our oyster - but every competitor now has access to our markets.
- Most of our core networks will remain largely locally based for some time to come, as they have been built up that way over many years.
Networking in Surrey will continue to bring you the best networking opportunities, and they will be more diverse and exciting than ever... Hooray!
MERRY CHRISTMAS - and a HAPPY NEW NETWORKING NORMAL!