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You can still invest in your network in 2020

Author: Lindsay Gaskins
President, The Bike Cooperative
Senior Executive responsible for bringing innovative operational and technology solutions to fuel the growth of the independent business members of one of the largest purchasing cooperatives in the retail space, with more than 2,800 locations in North America, spanning 14 business units.

It’s challenging to be a leader right now. Finding the time and resources to add more value to your network can seem overwhelming, costly, and yet another task on your to-do list. It’s tempting to throw in the towel and just cross your fingers for a better year in January 2021. But, before you write off the idea of investing in your network, check out this list. 

Here are a few easy ways you can still set up your group for success this year.

Start a members-only group.

Your group is missing out on invaluable networking time this year. Making a members-only group on Facebook or LinkedIn group is a fast and free way to facilitate conversation within your network.

Create lunch and learns.  

Identify members that could share an important business skillset. Invite your network to learn from one another and swap best practices for getting through a tough season.

Suggest online learning opportunities.

Lynda.com, skillshare.com, and snhu.edu are great resources for members to broaden their expertise, gain certifications, and acquire a deeper understanding of all types of topics. Do some research and curate a list of free or inexpensive courses that would benefit your network.

Start a newsletter or email campaign.

Start sharing industry-specific content and network insights on a regular basis. Members will appreciate the value-add as well as your consistency during a time where constant change is the new normal.

Create a business book club.

Pick a book about business, leadership, or an industry-specific topic and host a virtual book club once per month or once per quarter (Mindset: The Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck is a personal favorite).

Make a plan to invest in new technology.

As you’re going through the budget for 2021, consider new technology that will help you add more value for your network long term. New technology may be an initial investment, but it will pay off in the long run. My co-op adopted a new Member Center last year that increased member engagement by 500% and streamlined operations for our corporate employees.

Equip members of your network with tools and solutions that free up time, streamline operations, and boost business.

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