Could LinkedIn have some competition for business to business relationships? A five year-old networking site called, Reciproty, may give the popular business niche networking site something to think about. The approach of a free networking site is not totally unique, but this one adds a face-to-face element monthly to strategically enhance the opportunity to attract valuable free leads. The idea is to share resources, such as, business connections without requiring payment for referrals. Since learning of this group, I think it brings hope to the small business community that everyone is not always out for number one when it comes to profit.
Reciproty accepts donations to cover costs and they offer affordable meeting costs of $5 for members and $10 for non-members for local events held by chapters. It is similar to a chamber of commerce set-up, but more in-depth. Unlike a chamber meeting, they routinely discuss how to help each other on both the professional and personal side of life. Even the blog for the organization has topics involving spirituality, which would seem odd in any business oriented environment. But not for Reciproty. It seems to bring the human aspect back to business interactions, rather than only a basic surface level one. For instance, there is a testimonial on the Web site that mentions how a network member assisted when there was a family tragedy. The person went on to describe how a member stepped up to cover funeral costs with no strings attached. This group appears to foster a nice "help thy neighbor in need" type of mentality, which is missing in many of today's businesses due to greed or economic fear of not having enough to spare.
Reciproty is aiming to give small business owners a sense of community that once existed, but on a global scale. All the while, businesses are raving about the leads and new customers they are getting from the networking experience. LinkedIn offers connections, but it is mostly limited to the cyber world, unless, individuals take action to form groups. The major difference appears to be that there is already a face-to-face component with an online directory. Also, there is a vetting process where your profile details are verified in order to become a member. Bringing truth and credibility is something that many social networking sites lack.
Miami is an international city with people from Latin America, the Caribbean and beyond. Miami small businesses may thrive joining this type of networking community due to the local appeal with global reach. After all, networking with people that share your business obstacles and are willing to help when you are in need are definitely something to value. Who knows when you may need help and you will have a network that just may have the answer to your prayer. Conversely, you never know when you may be of help to someone else in need and it could make a big difference in their life. I find this networking vision appealing and it lines up with Galatians 6:7, "You will always harvest what you plant."