Pah, you say! Okay, so you're one of those fast growing online businesses serving clients online literally allover the world. You work collaboratively through web-based tools like Zoho and Google Doc & Spreadsheets with clients, vendors and 1099 freelancers all over the place; none of whom even physically live or work in your zip code.
In fact, the people you work most closely with you couldn't pick out of a line-up because you never see them.
Guess what? You're still a local business wherever you live and you need the support of your local business community.
Here's five reasons why:
1. It's the best place to start your business. Networking with people who share a common committment to a town, neighborhood or community are likely to be the most loyal and generous with their time and expertise to help you get those first clients. Nothing beats pressing the flesh and making eye contact.
2. Everyone needs help. If you need to borrow a conference room, use a superfast copy machine for free, outsource some admin work, get some extra help catching up on book keeping those Rotary Club contacts may suddenly come in handy.
3. Earlier this week on this blog, I talked about a credibility gap with online service professionals. If you are selling services of any kind online, you need a geographical location with some roots in the business community to proove your legitimacy. Okay, so you're the only one in your home town who even knows what business process management is. There's something to be said for one or two voices from the local chamber of commerce who can at least vouch for your personal integrity and work ethic; even if they have only a vague understanding of what you actually do.
4. Too much time in the virtual world will put you out of touch with the real one. You may think the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce or Kiwanis Club is your parent's generation. Think again. There's a reason why all are still around. It's a great way to keep your self grounded in the real world - main street, not second life.
5. 'Tis better to give than receive. Or so, the quote goes. And it's true, even in business. What's the point of any business if it doesn't contribute something back to community. There's more to business than serving clients and making money. Any fool can do that! What's your give back? Are you helping to mentor that next generation of entrepreneurs coming up behind you, like someone helped you? Are you bringing your prosperity back to the community you live in and sharing it with those in need of help, those that are less fortunate? When your business lifts, shouldn't all the boats rise? Charity begins at home.