by Pat Hammond on Wednesday, July 08, 2020
This was supposed to be our breakout year.
2020 was supposed to be the year NH Business Guild stepped out of the shadows of the Chamber of Commerce and showed New Hampshire business owners there is an alternative to high dues and a never-ending stream of expensive promotional opportunities for their business.
We were supposed to expand our offering and extend our reach beyond Manchester's borders.
We had three live classes and workshops on the schedule on topics such as marketing, how to start a business, and brand development.
We had scheduled the launch of a second bi-weekly networking group for Nashua. And we planned to present a series of live TED-like talks. (Live From NH)
We felt like the guild was on track to establish itself as the go-to source for the tools and resources local businesses were looking for to promote and grow their businesses.
We had all our ducks in a row and 2020 was supposed to be fabulous.
Then Covid-19 dropped by for a visit and decided to stay.
We had already planned to add livestreaming to our bi-weekly networking events, so the transition from in-person to virtual was easy.
Everything else, not so much.
But we're the NH Business Guild. We have technology and we know how to use it.
In fact, it's where we thrive.
We already had fabulous digital resources like the Business Directory and Flackery magazine. Our bi-weekly networking group is now a recurring online event. All that remained was to find a way to handle workshops and classes in a world with social distancing.
Would you believe we had a plan?
Everyone knows that offering an online class is a fantastic way to generate revenue while establishing yourself as a subject matter expert, but it can get expensive. A cheap portal can cost $25 a month if you pay for the entire year, plus processing fees of 3% or more for credit card payments.
The guild had planned to build an online learning center where members could host free courses for FREE and paid courses for a small fee to cover the cost of payment processing. No monthly fees.
Our target launch date was September 2021.
We could have sat back, wrung our hands, and said hang on, online classes are coming.
But we didn't.
We moved up the opening of the NH Business Guild's online learning center a full year.
Our new target date is September 1st, 2020.
Like many of you, it took a little more time than we wanted to turn the ship and adapt to the realities of doing business during the Covid crisis, but we've made steady progress and are at the point where it seems like many of this year's goals will become a reality.
We've had to adapt to the new normal. The new Nashua networking group was a Covid casualty, but it's only temporary and will be back on the schedule as soon as we can resume normal in-person events.
Overall, I'm happy with how the guild has responded. We've held true to our mission of helping business owners connect with the people, information, and resources they need to promote and grow their business.
If you're struggling to keep your business moving forward in the face of Covid-19, think about joining us for our virtual bi-weekly networking group. (Next meeting Wednesday, July 22nd) Our membership represents a wide range of business and has an incredible amount of knowledge and experience and may hold the answer to your most pressing challenges. The group is free to join and is open to NH Business Guild members and non-members.
Director, NH Business Guild