Coincident to marking a decade in Ireland last November, a colleague introduced me to a startup he’d joined as a co-founder.

Frankly, in spite of my longstanding enthusiasm for all bright and shiny new things – I was far less intrigued and excited – and considerably more cynical than I would have been ten years ago.

Okay, maybe more cautious than cynical.

I’m as committed as ever to building a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem on Ireland’s border, as well as continuing to drive business and civic leaders to focus on a prosperity process. It’s key to ensuring the gains made in our now decades’ long – and Brexit-challenged – peace process.

That said – economic dynamism – like finding true love – requires kissing a lot of proverbial frogs. The failures are as important – if not more educational – than the successes.

Nevertheless, with considerably less of my three-score-and-ten remaining- I now apply the same criteria to investing my time in a startup as I do in relationships.

    1. Is its mission, structure and philosophy congruent with my authentic self?
    2. Does it support my commitment to gradual development and steady progress in work and life by simply maintaining momentum and focus? (In spite of my distractability!)
    3. Opportunities and possibilities are great, but is this one appropriate for me now?
    4. Nature requires beginnings and endings – will the abiding memory of having invested my time and energy be a good one?

It’s a lot to ask of a fledgeling relationship – and I agree – it’s a ridiculously high bar to expect a software platform to meet.

And yet –  I’ve found one that does. Meet Bizmerang!

Mission, structure and philosophy –

Empowering Change best describes not just my practice, but my way of being in the world. It has always been grounded in gathering tribes. I believe that we come into the best version of ourselves when we are surrounded by those who share our values and a commitment to serve each other.

First I gathered a family of choice when my family of origin dispersed. The next included my partners and peers in recovery and others came of the faith, business and civic groups I have built and rebuilt in a lifetime of too many relocations.

Bizmerang’s tag line is “Help Each Other Grow”. It’s move from a Facebook Group to this platform is grounded in wanting to improve the depth and quality of the relationships nearly 3000 people have already established – so we’re definitely on the same page!

Gradual development and steady progress to maintain momentum and focus –

The platform’s Circles exist as wholly autonomous groups, “Hosts” create communities of their own design, in an environment under each host’s control. Bizmerang is free of the noise, distractions and advertising otherwise present on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s my guarantee that setting the group’s dynamic and pace is of my own doing.

An added advantage is that it has encouraged me to reconnect with both the people I have fallen out of touch with – and some of the networking groups and Chambers I no longer interact with frequently enough. Renewed relationships keep the focus of my work in Northern Ireland, the Republic and abroad – in balance

Is now the best time – and is this the best place?

Empowering Change – Personally, Professionally and Civically – requires both a seasonal restructuring of my program times and vigilance when it comes to not losing myself in the work of my practice when what I really need is a more consistent focus on the business.

A single platform that allows me to deliver content, genuinely communicate with and not broadcast-to followers – while encouraging them to interact with each other, would have been enough.

The addition of features that allow me to offer courses, as well as create, promote and manage events – both online and in person, would have been enough.

The opportunity to experience a launch and learning curve in this Northern Ireland tribe of fellow “Bizmerang-ers” who have been generously sharing wisdom, experience and referrals since January 2017 – puts us all at an advantage!

Will will the abiding memory of having invested this time and energy be a good one?

Well, the Bizmerang project has three things going for it here:

  • As a Host of two Circles – Catalysing Connections and Ulster Connections – I’ve had occasion to revisit projects and relationships begun between 2009 and 2011 – which felt like they’d been left unfinished. I’m already thrilled to see a framework forming on those foundations
  • In launching the Circles, I’ve had the pleasure of introducing old friends and colleagues – as well as newer acquaintances with whom I’ve not yet worked. With each invitation and introduction, I’ve been able to express my gratitude directly for the many kindnesses shown me – and pay a few forward.
  • While preparing content for posts, articles and courses to upload – I’ve had quite a stroll down memory lane. It’s humbling to know that not a single effort, false start or amateurish attempt at building a network has gone to waste.

So that’s a resounding yes!

Beyond being confident that the time and energy invested has been well rewarded already – it’s been a joy to awaken enthusiastically. Not a single task has felt like work – it has just flowed.

Care to join the adventure?  Here’s an invite – or complete the form at the right and we can arrange a chat about it!

And while you’re at it – reach out and congratulate co-founders Shane McCann and Guy Bucknall who connected via the Co-Founders Programme at Catalyst.

It’s also my not-too-subtle reminder that networks are great – but it all begins with #ShowingUp!