Tuesday 30th June 2020
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7 questions you need to answer before starting a Group

7 questions you need to answer before starting a Group
 

You want to start a group but you're not really sure how to do it?

Starting a group is easy because you can just go online on group management portal and then click on start button provide some information and there we go, you have your group page available for you.

Although the hard part starts which is? you need members

Yes, without group members your group is of no use. So how could you attract more members into your group.

Well, what if I tell you before starting your group if you answer 7 questions. You don't have to actually worry about brining members into your group. They will actually come automatically. 

Am I joking? Not at all

Let's jump into it

1. Why? What is the reason you want to start this group?

It's a crucial question to ask yourself before starting a group. 

I would start a group if:

  • I have knowledge or experience in a niche which could help people around me. 
  • I want to meet people who are near me and has similar hobbies like me. 
  • I want to socialise with people around my area. 
  • I want to support a particular cause. 
  • I am looking to figure out something all by myself and I am not sure what direction I should be going
  • I have an idea which can bring change to society
  • I want to learn something new
  • I want to support my local community

And there may be tons of other reason you would want to start a group. But whatever reason it is you need to know what exactly it is. Because once you know about it. You will be able to define a vision for your group. And you know exactly what you would like to gain out of it.

2. Do other people in your demography search for a group like this?

You don't want to start a group and have no other members in it. That's why it is very important to understand first if other people in your demography is also searching for the topic of your group.

This gives you an idea about the number of people who are interested in your group or the topic your group is going to be.

Couple of ways to find out if other people are searching for a group you would like to start:

Go on Google and search for the topic your group is related to. If you find lots of articles or lots of form post related to the group you would like to start in your local area, that means a lot of people are interested in your idea of the group hence they are creating forum posts and asking questions about it.

You can also search for your local County website and see if people are looking for support or help in the area you would like to start your group.

This also gives you a benefit because once you start your group. You will be able to publish your group on these forums or this Community Website, to inform other people that you have started a local group and they can join into it. 

This will brings lots of new members in your group.

3. What kind of time you can afford to spend in order to grow this group?

Another important question is what kind of time you can afford to spend in order to grow this group.

I would suggest it depends upon what is your long term vision. If you see this group conducting, one or two meetings in a month, and have around average 500 members. By the end of the first year of your group's anniversary.

Then, I must say, you would be able to run a group successfully by spending around 10 to 15 hours every week.

But when it comes to a long term vision, for example, if you want to

Create a business group or a marketing group in your local area where people can connect with each other and share their business ideas or marketing ideas and grow together.

That's going to take quite a lot of time as a host from your side. It is also going to take quite a lot of efforts from you to organise things in a professional manner. Because if you want to grow your group with a mindset of supporting your business then you have to run it professionally. Or else people won't take you seriously at all.

3. Are you well aware of the challenges you are going to face while facilitating group events?

Let me tell you something, running a group. It's not easy. It's as difficult as a full time job. The only beautiful thing about running a group is after your event finishes, you have that satisfaction in side, telling you that you have accomplished something good at something that you wanted to do.

There are multiple challenges you will be facing while facilitating your group events. For example,

  • You might come across some anti-social elements who would create some issues in your events. 
  • You might get into a situation where somebody would ask you for a refund for a ticket, you have sold for an event. 
  • You might get last-minute cancellation from the venue, which you have booked for your event. 
  • You might not find a suitable venue for your event. Even though you're very close to your next possible scheduled event date. 
  • If you host events with guest speakers. You might face situations where your speakers will cancel at the last minute.

I have personally faced all these issues and that's why I'm sharing it with you.

Hence, it's always a good idea to first understand what kind of challenges you might be facing in the real world.

This helps you to understand. If you are ready for the challenges or not.

If your conscious tells you you're not ready for the challenges, you might want to go a step back and understand and educate yourself, how you can tackle these issues.

And then once you're comfortable with it, you can come back and analyze at this stage, If you're ready for it.

4. Do you have a viable location to organise events?

Location for your events is one of the biggest problem while organizing group event. There are several factors you have to consider before booking location or arranging a location for your next event.

For example, you need to figure out if your group attendees can come to the location, easily or not, if there is a public transport connection available or not.

At your designated location. You need to understand if the lighting and the glare could be adjusted with curtains or windows.

Because if you're doing a presentation event, then it is very very important to understand; how the lighting and glare will affect your speaker's presentation.

You need to also understand that if there is an accessible washroom. Because if you cater to disabled people in your group, then you have to make sure that there are disabled accessible washrooms available at your location.

If you don't cater for disabled people then also you have to make sure that if a disabled person comes to your group, then he or she must feel welcomed as well as they have all possible health and safety measures available at your location.

Obviously you can deny their attendance in the event. If you feel that there are no health and safety measures available for them.

But even though if you don't cater to the disabled people you have to make sure there basic health and safety measures in place. Because, more or less, your events are all about people, and if you take care of your people than they take care of you.

5. Have you decided on the frequency of your group events?

Frequency of your group events is one of the most important factors which you need to consider before starting a group.

I'm saying that because when I started a group, I used to host two to three events in one month.

But soon I realized that hosting multiple events in a month is taking quite a lot of time from my diary.

So I reduce the number of events to one to two.

But then group members started complaining because they got habitual of two to three events every month and now when I reduced the frequency of those events. They started asking questions to me.

And I had nothing but just a straightforward explanation about my availability of time. But that was not good enough for them.

So, setting an expectation with your group members about the frequency of your group events is as important as setting your group's credibility.

Because if you continuously do your group events with a consistent frequency. That gives an idea to your group members that this is a group, has the professionalism in its core.

And that makes them feel that this group is reliable for investing their time.

And hence, deciding on the frequency of your group, events, is very important. This is directly proportional to the questions we have previously asked ourselves about. If you're ready to put an effort in your group or not.

6. Have you figured out from where you are going to arrange funds to run your group?

Now, running a group is not free.

You might think that it's free initially by utilizing any available free resources. But after hosting a couple of events you will realize that there are costs, which you cannot substitute with free resources.

For example, if you are managing your group on Facebook, then it's free to create a group and you can manage your events there.

But if you're managing your group on Meetup, groupspace or any other online group management portal then it will cost you a monthly fee (average £10 Per Month). Whereas if you start a group with Bylde then it will only cost you £1 per month. Thats less than the cost of chocolate you buy for your kids.

On the other hand, if you host your events at a premium location. That means, you end up paying for the venue.

So it's always a good idea to figure out, from where you're going to arrange funds to run your group.

When I used to run groups. I used to get quite a lot of sponsorship from big multinational companies. And the reason; because my group was focused on technology, and we used to get quite a lot of professionals in my local city who used to attend to learn new upcoming technology trends.

The multinational companies used to sponsor me because I used to invite quite well-known speakers into my group. And that used to bring quite a lot of attendance, which brings quite a lot of eyeballs to the multinational companies logos, on and around the stage.

On the other hand, I used to help these companies to provide good candidates for their open roles.

And this worked out quite well.

But that's not the case with any other group. So depending upon your topic or, depending upon the niche of your group. You need to understand how you can find funds for your expenses. 

Some ideas:]

  • You can connect with a group which is already running and asked them if they would like to sponsor you, being a smaller subset group.  
  • You can connect with local communities, universities or colleges and ask them for sponsorship.  
  • You can connect with local businesses and ask them for sponsorship.  
  • You can connect with local bars and restaurant, and ask them for sponsorship or free venue booking.

Or you can ask your group member to put in some money, so that you can organize the group.

But that should be your last resort.

But all in all, it is always a good idea to figure out where you are going to get your funds to run your company.

7. Do you know any other individual who would be interested in being a co-founder of your group

Last but not least, groups are all about group members. And if you can find a co-founder or somebody who would like to help you to organize the group before starting your group, it would be a great help.

Take my words. When I started my group. I didn't ask for any help, I did it all my own and I faced all these challenges, issues and problems and tried to solve them myself.

Asking for help is always a good idea, instead of facing problems on your own.

It's fine asking around before starting the group. If you find have a co-founder then it will be a huge help for you.

  • Because you can focus on bringing members in your group, and your co-founder can focus on finding a venue. 
  • You can focus on advertising your event, and your co-founder can focus on managing sales and operation. 
  • You can focus on bringing more sponsorship to your group, and your partner can focus on group members and their needs.

All these things you might not consider before starting a group but they will come at your doorstep, at some point.

So these were the seven questions you need to ask yourself before starting to grow.

What's your new group's name, and what are your challenges currently?

 
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