How to Start a Global Business Network
10 Steps to Mapping a Global Network
1. About Global
Have your association members, leadership or staff begun to ask about adding a global group into your association? First, you need to answer 3 very important questions: “What is Global?”, “Why do we need to go Global?” and “Who will this group benefit?”. If you can answer those questions, it’s time to move forward to the next step.
After answering the above questions and deciding that you understand what global is and that it would be benefit to your members to create a group, it’s time to assess multiple groups to further see if global is a good fit:
- Overall membership
You have to start with a core group of identified “leaders” and staff to begin discussing what goals you want to achieve. Goal setting is imperative to success. It is the blueprint of where this group will be going and how they’re going to get there. It instills ownership in accomplishment of the goals and places responsibility on the group to achieve them. The more attainable they are; the more success you will see.
What will this group look like? Will it be an informal network or a structured committee that reports to the Board of Directors? Who will oversee it – will there be a chair and vice-chair? Can we have multiple structures that roll-up into a larger group?
5. Business Plan
Time to decide what the mission statement of this group will be. Also, is there an opportunity to create a logo for your group for identity?
6. Recruitment and Retention
Aside from the group of members who helped you get the group assessed, set goals and decided on a structure who else should you look to recruit and how to do you go about recruiting them? Does global impact other areas of real estate (the answer is YES!) How do you reach out to those groups? What about allied professionals – attorneys, lenders, tax experts, etc.?
Do you have a system for maintaining these contacts and what are you planning to do with them once you’ve got them?
Also, on the same side of the recruiting coin is the retention issue. How do you make sure you’ve created enough value to this group to keep those members in your group?
7. Marketing & Communication
You’ve spent a lot of time and effort planning this group, setting a structure, and recruiting members to this point. Now it’s time to start marketing your group to the rest of the association and begin communicating directly with the group.
You will need to think through some strategies to see what works best for your association in regards to financial constraints and staff time.
- Social Media presence
- External communication vehicles
8. Event Planning & Execution
Bringing people together is critical for the success of any group, especially one with REALTORS®! Networking is critical to their business model, they need to always be meeting new people and sharing their good and bad experiences. Providing time for them to network on a social level, come and learn new tools or be updated on the newest changes to the global environment is a perfect platform for your group. Keeping them educated, helping reduce their risk and providing a little social networking goes a long way to involving your membership.
The types of events you plan are all up to you. How big will they be, how often will they happen and who is paying for them are all things to take into consideration before committing your group to hosting events.
After building your global group from the ground-up and making sure you’re meeting the needs of your association and your global members, it’s time to reach outside and into the community. You want to make sure your community is aware of what your group is doing and how it can impact and help them.
Outreach helps strengthen the importance of your council to your members, leadership and community as a whole. If you don’t focus on outreach, you will have built a group that will have a limited scope and purpose. Real estate is a COMMUNITY business after all and building ties within that community will only strengthen your member’s business relationship and prominence in the community.
What, after all this work, is the value-add for a member to join this global group? If you have set goals that were set for the year – did you meet them? Go back and look. Make sure those goals were attainable and that you were able to meet, and even exceed, them.
The leadership and staff need to assess the previous year as they begin planning the goals for the upcoming year. The members of this group should be surveyed to see if your association’s assessment of this group has the same level of perceived value as the member’s assessment.
All of these steps are discussed, in-depth, in the 4-hour, CIPS: Global Programs for Association Course. This course is a direct-delivery from NAR and is open to association executives, association staff, volunteer leadership or anyone interested in understanding the value of global programs at his/her association. It is usually held about 2-3 times/year. However, if you’re interested in putting together a group at your association and would like to have NAR Staff come and take you through this process, please let us know. Contact Lisa Calarco at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-329-8246 for further information.