Once upon a time, a young lady lived with her mother on the edge of a wood. She was growing up fast and wanted to get her own place in the big city, but this relied on the success of her bluebell distribution business to provide financial independence. Her name was Goldilocks, and she already had some experience of market testing and product evaluation in the porridge sector. She set out to find the best way to build her network and her business.
She started at Mummy Bear Networking. This was a great group of other local businesses, very friendly and welcoming. She went to their events, met up with the same people time and again, kept in touch on emails and social media, and occasionally picked up recommendations from her new friends. Mummy Bear networking was a comfortable place to be – but the reception for her bluebell packages was lukewarm, and she felt that she was investing a lot of time in socialising and not enough time selling. Mummy Bear networking provided her with much-needed support as an entrepreneur, but it wouldn’t get her out of the cottage in a hurry!
Goldilocks looked at her options again. She liked the personal touch of Mummy Bear, but needed a much bigger platform to build on. And there it was, at her fingertips – the Daddy Bear of networks, the internet. Goldilocks plunged into the impersonal world of websites, ecommerce, pay-per-click, blogging, tweeting, linking. She worked all hours, and her business grew, but she missed some of the comforts of the Mummy Bear network. The journey was hard, and competition was hot. It was tough to convert her hard-won followers to customers, and they had no obvious common ground on which to build meaningful relationships that could bear fruit in partnerships and sales. Daddy Bear networking opened up the world, but Goldilocks didn’t need the whole world: she needed the right people. She kept her Daddy Bear network going, sought solace with her Mummy Bear friends, but looked out for the perfect combination.
Finally, along came Baby Bear. The child of face to face networking and a digital world, Baby Bear Networking offered a large population of contacts in a more comfortable environment. Baby Bear understood the need for both face to face, local contact, and wider contact opportunities across the country or the world. Baby Bear had invested in an Ambix social intranet for its members, so that people in the local groups could network privately online with other members across the world. No matter if there were few bluebell wholesale purchasers in these woods – Goldilocks knew that she was now linked to potential customers everywhere, and membership of Baby Bear Networking gave them the common ground to build real value. A discussion of the different breakfast meetings’ porridges – always perfect – would never be understood in the wider world of Daddy Bear, but here, it could be the start of a beautiful business relationship.