Business Golf Country Club CLOSES
This morning I had to do what a lot of businesses are doing in this economy. I had to send a letter to the members of the Business Golf Country Club announcing the demise of the club’s existence as a business networking club on NING. Of course, I understand most of you, and the rest of the world interested in where the golf industry is economically heading, will want to know why the BGCC is closing, so here is why.
Lack of Effective Communication
To keep from going into the long draw out breakdown of the five year trek the BGCC has taken through La-La-Land, I will keep it simple. Since the BGCC conception and the Alpha launch on the LinkedIn Groups the lack of being able to effectively communicate the BGCC’s Business Plan to the business golfers joining the club has been the major cause for today’s issues. The concept has always been to first build the business golf community of dedicated loyal golfers and then bring to them product/services that would improve their golf and business development. Due to the ineffective email services used by LinkedIn and Ning the informational emails, newsletters and other related communications detailing what the BGCC is ALL about was only received by less than 1% of the membership. As a result the only way to communicate with the over 700 BGCC members was by phone..which has proven literally impossible. Seems we can write up 90% of reason for the BGCC’s demise to member’s spamware.
Network Burn Out
Over the years both Dave Bisbee and I have been able to develop from the BGCC membership a circle of solid contacts. This circle of real live people have provided us with immense information for which offered us the ability to keep our finger on the pulse of the club and other golf social networks that are still around.
One of the unfortunate by-products of the lack of being able to clearly communicating the BGCC business plan to the membership was to them the ‘Club’ was nothing but another social network group for golfers. As many social networks are seeing..are will start to see REAL soon..uncontrolled groups open to the general public for social networking are quickly losing the interest of golfers.
Some of our supporters who have joined a few of the newer more critically acclaims golf group sites are coming back to say they are really bored with the groups since they really do not offer what they really need. Added to the distaste these golfers had for these social networking sites was the constant hounding of the groups members with promotional emails and Twitter posts. All this lower level of social media was generating was is now growing in La-La-Land as ‘Social Network Burnout’ (SNB).
Unfortunately, due to the lack of being able to get the message out to 90% of the BGCC member on the fact the private club was not just a social network, the BGCC was looked at as ‘just another social network’ which lead to the growing apathy towards the club being able to offer anything of value. SNB is economic driven and over the next year is going to be dealt with by all social networks..yes, even the almighty Facebook.
Confirmation of the Plan
That one key link to the BGCC membership..email communication of the business plan… really became a problem we were fighting daily. All of our social media efforts fell to deft ears since the set up for the BGCC’s SM efforts was made via private email to the members. However, as we continued to move forward in securing the strategic partners and business services that played important rolls in the final phase of the business plan (that never was launched) we were able to confirm where social media for golf, for business and for recreation was headed. This confirmation of our predictions on how the economy would drive golf consumers towards looking for more than Tee-Time services gave us a few more months of optimism that support would be found and the club could be rebuilt in another safe environment.
Need for Greater Purpose
What was also confirmed from the many, many hours of offline and online discussions Dave and I had with dozens of people in the golf industry was the predictions made in the BGCC business plan showed the downturn in the economy would bring about the need for golfers to find a greater purpose to playing golf. We also were able to confirm from meeting with our key contacts of current and former private club managers that their needs were going to change drastically towards providing more than lush golf courses for their membership to enjoy. They all confirmed they needed to incorporate ways for members of private golf clubs to improve their businesses’ revenue flow in order for them to remain a members or continue to afford their private golf club memberships. Again, all of how the BGCC was going to solve these problems was going to be addressed in the final phase of the BGCC business plan.
The secondary reason, which overall was the main reason for closing the BGCC NING site, naturally had to deal with the lack of funding through the adverting packages developed for the BGCC site. This was the kingpin of the business plan and would have provided the hinges needed to swing the door open to the membership to reveal the final phase we felt would really offer the value and purpose for being a member of the BGCC. Of course, if we were able to get the email messages out from the very beginning and throughout the site’s existence of the built in benefits of the advertising packages I more than likely would not be closing the NING site.
Why So Few Members
As we made our pitches to the outside business for the advertising opportunities we offered we ran into the ‘same-ol-same-ol’ ‘old school’ attitudes towards the need to broadcast advertising to the masses online. The question we would be asked over and over..why does the BGCC have so few members?
There were several reasons why the membership did not get to the thousands most social networking groups strive to achieve. Most of these were by design. First..the BGCC was not a social network..it was a club. So, we expected that we would not reach the hundreds of thousands of members other groups have due to the concept of an online club was too foreign for most ‘Interneters’ to get their arms around.
Second, it was a private club meaning ONLY real people were going to be allowed into the club. The business model of accumulating thousands of ‘Names’ like other social networking groups employee was never part of the BGCC plan since that model has now been confirmed to be what is causing advertising apathy for online marketing.
The final reason for the BGCC membership to be small was due to phase-in approach we designed into the business plan. Keeping the membership small reduced the cost and stress of moving a large membership to another platform. The real marketing for the development of the larger membership would start once the final phase was launched on a social networking platform that allowed us to monetize our efforts.
So, as you see, there were several reasons for stopping the bleeding of IBGS’s funds and to move on to wherever the economy was going to drive us. Dave and I really wish there was another direction to take instead of closing the club, but until we can find the funds significant enough for use to manage the business plan to its conclusion we felt it was to shelve the BGCC until things change.
I really look forward to keeping in touch with the members and continuing to help them through my mentoring or business coaching business. There is always the possibility of rebuilding the the BGCC..so keep in touch and let me know how I can help.