Review: Make it Happen Monday

Make It Happen Monday (otherwise known as MIHM) is a new event from the brains behind 4Networking, a business networking organisation with over 300 linked groups around the UK. I’ve attended three MIHM events at Swindon now (actually in Highworth, but that’s just a technicality!) and thought it was time I did a little review.

The first point to make is that MIHM is not another networking group – it’s more an opportunity for you to get ideas and support to help you work on your business and move it forwards. In some ways it’s similar to a Mastermind group, though rather than having a fixed core of attendees, they vary from month to month. The first event I went to was the launch meeting and there were over 30 people in the room. It was dynamic and exciting but maybe a little rushed, and I came away feeling it had potential but perhaps needed to be a little more focused. Since then I’ve been to two more MIHM events and each has had smaller numbers – about fifteen, I guess – and it seems to have worked much better.

The format of MIHM is interesting, because it gives anyone in the room the chance to be an expert for the day. The meeting begins with a brief introduction round where everyone explains, in about 20 seconds, what their area of expertise is. So, for example, today I said, “I’m Alison Neale, also known as The Proof Fairy, and I am an expert in blogging.” Some of the other people there today were experts in bookkeeping, or event management, or customer service. Once everyone has had their turn, we do another round of introductions – this time talking about an issue, challenge or difficulty we have in our business. Mine was about defining my target market; other people needed help with marketing, time management and learning when to say “no”!

Once the intro rounds are over there’s a brief break for coffee during which time everyone is given a token and places it next to the name of the person they would like to hear more from. The person receiving the most tokens is the “expert for the day” – and today that person was me!

It’s then up to the “expert” how the next twenty minutes or so are run. Some people have taken questions from the floor; some people have spoken at length about an area of their expertise. After talking about why I found blogging to be such an important marketing tool (great for SEO and page ranking, demonstrates your knowledge etc) I went round the table to find out whether people already blogged and if so (or if not!) what they found difficult or needed help with. This “round table” discussion threw up a few themes and I then offered some advice on how to come up with ideas for blog posts, how long to spend blogging and how often to do it. It seemed to be a really successful session, with a couple of people saying they’d known for a long while it was something they “should” do but now they really “wanted” to do it. That made me happy!

This discussion section is different every time – previously I’ve heard people talk about business planning, social media and productising your business. The nice thing about MIHM is that there are always different people there so you get a really wide range of opinions and ideas; at the same time, there do tend to be familiar faces too, and it’s great getting to know them and their businesses better.

Following another brief break MIHM ends with a guest speaker, who gives tips on a particular area of business. Today’s guest was internet psychologist Graham Jones. Graham talked about how 95% of the clicks on the web go to 6 businesses, and explained how we can use his understanding of people’s internet behaviour to improve our own chances of success. Graham offered some great tips for web design (make sure your website is about your visitors, not about you!) It was a fascinating presentation that I wish could have lasted much longer, and I’m sure Graham will have made many new fans!

The last little bit of MIHM is another round of introductions – or rather, out-roductions, where everyone says one thing they will change or start doing as a result of the event. For me it was to start being more methodical in my blogging – though I try to blog at least once a week, it tends to be more erratic than that, and I am going to put together a schedule of topics to keep me organised.

So there you have it – my review of Make It Happen Monday. There are MIHM events happening all over the UK and if you haven’t been along to one of these events already I do recommend you give it a go. Don’t be put off by the slightly “ra ra ra” name, as I know some people have – MIHM is a really interactive meeting with supportive people that will get you thinking about your business in new ways. You can find out more and book a place on a future meeting here.

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