Saturday, 12 November 2016

... and so the 1st official OMG get's under way!

From the 9th November 2016,  +Link4Growth is once more delivering Offline and Online mentoring groups as part of its +Link4Business membership. These OMG's provide a space where each participant is invited to explore, innovate, think outside the box, find alternative ways to move things forward. This might be personally, in their business, charity, or whatever endeavour they are involved in.

+Ian Milton has written a short post on how he found the first experience... Ian had never attended anything like this before..
At the appointed hour a mix of business people gathered in a virtual space with a facilitator and timekeeper, all set to embark on a new venture and way of developing businesses. 
This then was the beginning of the first OMG or Online Mentoring Group which took place on 9th November at noon and lasted for two hours and 45 minutes, which seemed at first as though it may be a marathon. Actually once it was under way, the time sped away and before I knew it we were at then end of the session. 
We began by introducing ourselves briefly and rapport building began as we sorted out microphones, camera angles and all the fun stuff you have with cyber meeting places. Dalek voices were de rigeur for the first fifteen minutes or so until replacement mics were unearthed. 
After we had been introduced to the rules and timing (essential for smooth running and meeting time constraints), three members of the group were invited to outline their issue during the session. The three had been previously agreed and so there was some preparation involved. I was one of the three selected for this month. 
Each 40 minute issue follows a proven process. Five minutes to explain to the group what the issue appears to be (not always the real issue). Following on from this ten minutes for the rest of the group to ask questions in order to gain more clarity on the issue. Rules were adhered to! At the merest suggestion of a solution came out during this phase, the facilitator nipped it in the bud and gently brought us back to the rules. 
Questions only please! Following this a 15 minute ideas / suggestions section. During this time the issue holder, writes profusely. A tough section... lots of grey matter firing up and an opportunity to learn from those in the group as they share their thoughts, experience and wisdom. 
The final part of each segment (10 minutes) is the chance for the issue holder to choose from the group's ideas and suggestions, what actions (if any) they would pursue in the coming month. A very important element as what's agreed here is that which we're to be accountable for next month. Additionally we'll be posting these into a Private Google community set up so we can update on progress and continue the conversation during the month.
Although this is the first time we had ‘met’ as a group there was an openness and honesty among us. The space created is non judgmental and allows us all the opportunity to take on board new ideas (or not). It is quite challenging at the start to be honest, but nevertheless I trusted my peers to treat me with the respect I afforded them and they did not let me down. There was compassion and respect in spadefuls. 
The facilitator did a great job of being firm, fair and immensely helpful keeping us all on track and reminding us of the ground rules and timing at all key points. This meant that what may have proven to be quite a tricky and ungainly first foray into OMG instead, was a very positive experience.
I came out of this first OMG with no bruises, emotional scars or scraped knees but with a group of business colleagues, nay, friends that I know now that I can rely on to be honest, open, respectful, non judgmental, helpful, funny, caring, and above all trustworthy. I count it an honour and privilege to be counted among them.
I would like to thank Ian for taking the time to write this post.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Online / Offline Mentoring Groups now FREE to Link4Business Members

If you've never heard of Peer-2-Peer mentoring then you have not yet been exposed to what is probably the most powerful form of business AND personal development. Basically Peer-2-Peer mentoring is when a group of people come together from all different backgrounds with different experiences and support and nurture each other.

Each participant is expected to fully engage, apply their knowledge, experience and expertise in an open and honest way to enable others to remove road blocks in their business, enterprise and even day to day life. So there is a high level of contribution, but the benefits are absolutely huge too.

Not only do you get to sort out the challenges in what you are doing... but you also get to hear other people's issues (some you might also have, or may end up having) and this process enables you to gain the benefit of 6 other minds... like having 6 business partners or a board of directors that you could never afford to hire.

Where and when do you get the chance to have the support and help of 6 other clued up business people totally focused on helping you to solve your issues in a supportive, helpful, nurturing way... no other agenda... not trying to sell their stuff... just wanting to help you move forward. Read this paragraph again... it's so powerful and we could all use this type of mentoring... it would make a massive difference to everyone.

Running a business is a very complex process these days... Businesses are very easy to start, but what with the Internet, social media, networking and everything else you have to do to run a business it can be decidedly overwhelming... quite simply one brain isn't enough.

Why is it then that so few people do it? ... many don't know this type of thing even exists, many are wary about 'giving too much information away' and yet really the main reason in most cases comes down to cost.

Even though to be absolutely truthful if you are not spending 1/2 day per month concentrating 'On your business' you are heading for real trouble, the facts are people don't see the benefit until afterwards, because they just see the costs and that makes it impossible for some people to give it a go.

In almost every single case the money ends up being irrelevant because the benefits are so huge and the growth and development of both the business and the person so massive, it becomes, in the mind of the recipient an absolute "no brainer". Just think for a minute if each person had 20 highly trusted great connections each, you would be tapping into a trusted network of 100 additional people. Many of these might be customers for you... but... that network knows thousands of others... this is how businesses are built... the power is immense... forget solving your problems, this alone is reason enough to be part of a mentoring group. Everyone wants to see everyone else succeed, and opening up their network to you as you build strong deep relationships through these groups is incredibly powerful...

Back to the cost... this is where it gets so very exciting... take a look around, there are lots of people offering Peer-2-Peer mentoring... it's quite exclusive though and the price prohibitive for many.

What though if the price (and therefore profit) was no longer the main motivator for organising Mentoring Groups. What if the main driver was to enable as many people running micro businesses (6.7 million) to be able to benefit from what we know works. Sharing knowledge, experience, expertise and... connections. Strengthening and deepening relationships with other local businesses... collaborating, helping each other and creating a strong local business economy... now that have to be a good thing!

So... Link4Business and OMG's have now come together. As part of your £12 monthly Link4Business membership you are now able to join, start, facilitate Online (and / or offline) Mentoring Group(s). This site contains lots of information about how groups work... there is lots more to tell... but please use the email address below to find out more... we need thousands of these groups up and down the country... let's get to work... let's build the biggest collaborative network of businesses bar none... let us show how the micro business community can rebuild our economic fortunes... "if it's going to be, it's up to me"