In this episode, Dr. Misner looks into his crystal ball and makes some Business (Networking) Predictions for 2010.
- The economy will improve in most countries around the world. Focus on solutions and get out of the quagmire.
- Online social networks will continue to grow in prominence—and so will the frustration of trying to convert them into viable business opportunities. VCP will not go out of style.
- Companies small and large need to create a social media strategy.
- Victims of downsizing will become active in networking groups.
- We’ll see more integration between face-to-face and online networking, e.g. BNI Connect.
- More and more companies will create websites that operate in two directions.
- Face-to-face networks will continue to grow.
- Companies that succeed in 2010 will remain agile and will focus on relationships.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 140 –
Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the Net for networking downloadables.
I’m Priscilla Rice, and I’m coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California, and I am joined on the phone today by the founder and the chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner.
Hello, Ivan. How are you?
I’m doing great. Thank you, Priscilla.
This is International Networking Week, isn’t it?
It is. This is International Networking Week, and if members haven’t seen the video yet, got to YouTube and type in International Networking Week 2010, and you’ll see the video that we did up on YouTube. And we can put a link here on this podcast as well.
This is the fourth annual International Networking Week, which is an initiative of BNI’s, and it’s now being recognized in many countries all around the world with thousands of events being held. In the first International Networking Week, about six months before the first on, I did a Google search, and we had about 14 hits on the phrase. And I did a Google search today, and we had over 100 million hits on the phrase.
Wow! That’s a lot!
Every single link on the front of Google is a link back to BNI in some way, so this has been a great tool for exposure for the organization.
Great! Well, what are you going to talk about on this particular podcast?
Well, I thought it would be good, since this is International Networking Week, to sort of give my networking predictions for 2010. And it will not only be networking, but some of my business predictions for the upcoming year. It’s early in the year still, and I thought I’d throw some of these out there.
Okay, great. What are they?
2009 is over. A lot of people are glad about that. It’s absolutely time to look forward, so I pulled out my crystal ball to see what this year would be like. And first of all, I think the economy is going to improve in most countries around the world. Sure, that’s not a networking issue, but it is important, and I would tell members, have faith, look for opportunities, refuse to participate in the recession, and focus on what you do best. 2010 will, I believe, be a better year for many, many businesses all around the world, but you need to focus on solutions and get out of the quagmire of problems and look for the opportunities that are out there. Because they definitely are opportunities, and I’m seeing many members who did very well during the recession, but I do believe things will get better. That’s first and foremost.
Second, online social networks, I believe, will continue to grow in prominence. Okay, I really didn’t need a crystal ball for that one. But consider this, digital schmoozing may continue to grow, but so will the frustration over how to convert that technology to viable business opportunities. I think online social networks are an emerging field, but much of way to apply that effectively is going to be established over the next few years. And, of course, the VCP process still applies, Visibility, Credibility, Profitability, applies whether you’re talking face to face networking or online networking.
Third, companies small and large need to create a social media strategy, so what’s your plan? If you don’t have one, I think it’s a big mistake in 2010. You need to start working on one now. If you don’t know where to start, do a little research. There’s some really good experts out there that can help. I’ve been working with a BNI member, and there are many, many social media experts all around the world. If you have one in your BNI chapter, I would recommend you connect with that person and get some consulting done, because the social media strategies will be an increasingly important aspect of more and more businesses into this decade.
Fourth, I think victims of downsizing will become very active in networking groups, both face to face and online. Many people have been laid off. In my experience in running BNI for the last 25 years, this is our 25th anniversary, is that within a few months after you start to see an increase in unemployment rates, there is always an influx of new members into BNI. And unemployment rates in many countries have gone up and are going up at the end of ’09 and early 2010, and so I’m confident that there will be an influx of members who’ve been downsized from the corporate world and are starting their own business. We’re going to see them come to BNI, and I’ve seen it during every recession in the past.
Fifth, we’re going to begin to see more of integration between face-to-face networking and online networking opportunities. Online networks will do things to promote face-to-face opportunities, and face-to-face networks will begin to integrate online networking more effectively into their programs. BNI is a good example of that. Our BNI Connect program is underway in 2010, and you’re going to see more and more information about BNI Connect, which is an online technology that will integrate with our face-to-face with program.
Number six, I think you’ll see the slow death of the one-way Website. More and more companies are going to create Websites that operate in two directions. They’ll not only provide information to their customers but will also seek feedback from their customers, a blogs, interactive newsletters, social network sites, consumer feedback groups. All these will continue to grow in importance for companies. BNI is certainly a good example of that. The BNI Podcast is two-way communication. You listen to the podcast, and we want your feedback. We look for comments here on this podcast. On my blog, we’re looking for comments. Even our newsletter now is set up where BNISuccessNet.com, BNISuccessNet.com, that’s our online newsletter, is set up for two-way communication. So more and more, that’s the wave of the future in working with clients.
The next one is face-to-face networks will continue to grow. If any networking organization, like BNI in particular, stays true to the fundamental mission of helping people grow their business, they will grow. And I think BNI absolutely will grow. Nothing beats networking in person. The organization grew in 2009, and I predict that 2010 will be another great for BNI. People want to build their business through referrals; they want to build through word of mouth, and face-to-face networks definitely will continue to grow.
And last, my last prediction for 2010 is that companies that succeed in 2010 will remain agile and will focus on relationships. Technology is a great tool. I believe in technology. Podcasts that we do and have been doing for a few years now is a good example of that, but relationships are king when it comes to networking. And companies who are creative and using tools to enhance the relationship building process, I think will be the leaders in any networking program around the world.
So there it is, Priscilla. Those are my predictions for 2010. What do you think of those?
Well, I think you’re totally right about social networking. I am somebody that’s trying to look into that now. It’s a little bit confusing. There are so many different opinions about how to use it, how not to use it. And I’m a little concerned that what was a wonderful way to connect with people, and really rewarding, if all the businesses start using it to promote themselves, people will start to shy away from it as something fun and interesting to do, because I think it could end up being an inundation of commercialism.
Well, it’s possibly true, but remember it’s an opt-in opportunity so people decide, hey, I want to listen to this person’s message; I want to read this person’s message. And so they opt in to it and, of course, can opt out at any time. So the value of it is instead of it being a broadcast where you have to sit down and watch something, you’re basically saying, hey, I’d like to see what this person has to say or this company has to say. And I think that’s the big difference. Also, it’s two way; if it’s set right, it’s a two-way communication, so you can dialog back and forth.
So those two things make it different than just the media driven on-way communication that we saw in the past.
Right. Well, I think it sounds good. I think a lot of what you’re saying will probably happen.
Well, let’s revisit this sometime this year and see how my predictions played out.
Okay, that’s great!
Okay, well, thank you, Ivan.
I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the Net for networking downloadables. Thanks so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you’ll join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.