ONLE Networking, a membership organisation for business leaders based on the South Coast, has announced three major changes which acknowledge the drastic changes to how business is conducted since lockdown began in March 2020.
All ONLE meetings, which had temporarily moved online when lockdown rules were imposed, will continue online permanently. Meanwhile, live in-person events - called ONLE Experiences - will become optional activities. Members will now pay a monthly combined meeting and membership fee, without minimum contract.
Kelly West, co-founder of ONLE Networking, explains the thought process behind this radical overhaul. “We’re the network for people who like people,” says Kelly. “The ONLE culture is about welcoming people like us, who think that relationships and running a business are far more important than networking rules and regulations. Lockdown and an uncertain future for face-to-face events creates a dilemma: how can we continue to guarantee this inclusive networking experience? We found the solution in our name: Online Networking Live Experiences. By moving the core networking online permanently, but running optional live events, we believe we get the best of both worlds without excluding anyone.”
Having spent 18 months running online networking events before lockdown, Kelly was confident that online networking was more than a networking stopgap. “Online networking is efficient, convenient and inclusive. And as long as you develop relationships outside of the meetings, it’s just as effective as face-to-face networking. By moving our monthly meetings online, we are able to guarantee our members valuable and inclusive networking. And with the addition of ONLE Experiences, we get to enjoy the fantastic food, venues and atmosphere which ONLE is famed for.”
James West, co-founder of ONLE, says that the decision to scrap annual membership is as important as introducing a blended approach to networking. “Yes, you must give networking time - you need to build relationships and awareness before you start doing business. But while we encourage that our members show patience, we also recognise that annual payments and minimum contracts can be a problem for many businesses. A monthly recurring payment that delivers membership benefits as well as the meeting fee, matches our ethos of creating a welcoming and inclusive network. We want people to network with us because they want to network with us.”
ONLE Networking has continued to innovate since husband and wife team Kelly and James launched it in January 2018. From meeting in prestigious venues, to abolishing category restrictions and removing rules that often get in the way of running a business, ONLE is about challenging convention. “We want ONLE to become the network that connects people-first business leaders from countries from around the world. By moving our core meetings online, we can continue to introduce new regions and welcome more people than ever to the growing ONLE family,” says James.