It’s non-stop for Tim Lee of networking group, Collaborate MK. Following a bumper first year, and with face-to-face meetings now possible, they’re in great demand. How is Tim planning to approach the challenges and opportunities of year two? Graham Miller of Media Vu found out.
We know year one was a great success. How about the next 12 months? You’re pursuing the idea of face-to-face meetings?
Following a recent survey of Collaborate MK members, it’s clear that almost everyone is champing at the bit to meet up face to face. Well, who doesn’t love a good breakfast? So, we’ve partnered with The Cock Hotel in Stony Stratford as the venue for our new monthly meetings, on the first Thursday of each month. It’s only £15 for members and £18 for non-members. So far, the response has been great.
I gather you’re bringing in other face-to-face opportunities too?
That’s right. Some people prefer networking lunches, so we’ll be offering those too – possibly every quarter. Our members will take turns to sponsor these. The early signs are that there’s a considerable demand.
And is it true you’ll be freshening up other parts of the Collaborate MK model?
We’re offering much more with our membership packages. We have the Bronze package, which is just £140 for the year – now available at £14 per month. That gets you to our regular Tuesday morning virtual events, as well as eligibility for face-to-face meetings.
So moving on to the Silver packages – tell us about those.
You get everything that comes with the Bronze, plus the option to sponsor a virtual event once a year. This includes a 10-minute presentation about your business – not a sales plug – they’re more about giving information. Alternatively, you can have a 100-word feature on our page in All Things Business. Ideal for someone who’s not keen on public speaking.
Then, of course, there’s the Gold package?
This is everything that the Bronze and Silver members get, plus the chance to benefit from training opportunities, including a monthly face-to-face workshop. We start off in groups, each led by a marketing industry leader. Each member will discuss their own marketing challenges, while the rest of the group will chip in with their own experiences and ideas. It’s really a goldmine of knowledge sharing.
And am I right that you’re introducing a Gold Plus package?
With Gold Plus, for a total of £75 per month or £750 for the year, members get everything that the other packages offer, but with the added extra of 12 hours of annual coaching support with me. The focus will be very much networking skills. With my help, they’ll learn to be more confident in how they present themselves and relate to others.
Social media has quite a role to play in Collaborate MK
LinkedIn is brilliant for the members. WhatsApp is vital too. That’s busy every day with members asking for and receiving no end of useful referrals. Both platforms are ideal for members wanting to keep in touch.
Is Collaborate MK only for businesses in and around Milton Keynes, or do you encourage membership from wider afield?
We have a members based in New Brighton and we have had guests from various points of the country to our virtual events. We’ll certainly be expanding soon – but carefully and steadily – all in good time!
You must be delighted with how things are going
Yes and excited too! It’s not only that the membership numbers and involvement have been so strong. It’s just so gratifying when members tell me about how much they enjoy our meetings and how it’s given their businesses such a boost. The feedback really keeps me going.