The business networking 'Summer Slump' that always accompanies the start of the school holidays is once more getting under way.
This year it hits a networking industry that's been well and truly disrupted forever by the 'Lockdown Effect'.
As mooted in our weekly Members' What's On Bulletins many times, Zoom has made organising online events a breeze, and virtually free (see what I did there? :0)
As a result, many in-person networking organisations have been forced to re-think their strategy - and many now offer a hybrid mix of online and offline meetings.
One significant event which speaks volumes to this dramatic turnaround of events is the shock withdrawal from the networking scene of Brad Burton, Founder and guiding light of the BNI-bashing 4Networking (now rebranded as Network Central).
His announcement (in a post on LinkedIn) is telling:
"The end of an era. After 16.5 years. That’s me done. I’ve just signed & sold my majority shareholdings. I’m exiting from all my networking interests. From Aug 1st the brands go on, without me, with MBO’s, as Caroline J Andrew-Johnstone takes over as 4NO majority shareholder of with MD Jen Hinds, doing the same for 1N."
When a networking Colossus like (love'imorhate'im) Brad bows out, you have to ask yourself what he's seen that others may have missed.
Paradoxically, the virtual networking crew are equally vulnerable to the proliferation of networking opportunities in this buyer's market (good news for the individual networker, of course!)
They all have to work that much harder to differentiate their offering and stand out from the crowd.Of course that's great news for NETWORKERS (huzzah!)
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