I wanted to gain access to a closed group. I am not "really" part of the group. They are my perfect audience (which is why I wanted access). But I am not one of the target members.
When I requested permission to join, I received an interesting proposal: 1) I need to write a 500 word post of interest to the group; 2) I need to engage members in a discussion of the topic.
In other words, I need to participate and be part of the community. No one wants a spammer to jump in, promote their stuff, and then disappear. This is the long-standing ethic of communities online.
Those groups are still going strong, such as . . .
SMB IT Support for the 21st Century
Managed & Cloud Services for SMB IT
Small Biz IT
So it's easy for me to commit to participating in this group. After all, it's the industry I love and the community I love. I'm just amazed at how many hundreds of groups are out there having their private conversations.
My most recent books - The Managed Services Operations Manuel and Project Management in Small Business - represent the results of my conversations over the years. Why? Because it's the never-ending conversations in all of these online communities that help me to see what I.T. professionals need the most.
My books are not the definitive truth about how to run a Managed Service business. They simply represent my opinions and my experiences. I am now working on my second Managed Service business. In addition, I have worked closely with a dozen or so businesses owned by my coaching clients.
But the really big picture comes from interacting with thousands of business owners every year. YOU and others who want to work really hard on your business are the people who help me figure out what people need next.
Participating in the community is good for your business. Sometimes you're the one asking the question, so you get immediate rewards. But you ALSO get great information when you participate in helping others. The discussion - the exchange of ideas and opinions - will open up your mind to new ways of doing everything! And even if you don't change your business right away, learning how other people run their businesses will help you in the long run.
Yes I'll participate!
I encourage you to do the same.