I recently celebrated a milestone birthday that caused me to reflect on a lot of things, especially what I do every day and to ask if what we do makes a difference and if so, what difference do we make? I tell our team all the time, that our goal is to make members feel good about their industry, their profession and their BKBG participation. Is that difference making?
The answer became plainly obvious during the recent meeting of the Steering Committee in Washington, DC. The BKBG staff is truly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a group of dedicated and passionate volunteers at BKBG who want to improve their businesses, their industry and the role that they play in it. When BKBG sponsors 2020 training for designers that make their jobs easier and more professionally rewarding or assist a Shareholder enter a new market segment or identify underserved market territories, BKBG makes a difference. BKBG started as a group purchasing organization. It’s focus remains as a buying group, but we are also a business group. We deal with real-life situations often in real time. Leveraging our buying power is only half our mission. The other half is helping Shareholders and Preferred Vendor Partners grow their business, and that is where BKBG can greatly enhance the returns that Shareholders and Vendors receive on their investment.
BKBG has had a social media network long before the first social media platform was unveiled. The desire to network, capitalize on the lessons taught by the experiences of others and build a cadre of resources that can save time, money and stress is woven into the fabric of American culture. These desires were first chronicled by Alexis de Tocqueville when he toured America in the 1830s and published his observations in the iconic work, Democracy in America. De Tocqueville observed that Americans hold the concept of individualism as sacred, yet Americans are the biggest group of joiners in the world. In 1835, De Tocqueville wrote that “Americans of all ages, all conditions and all dispositions constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds.... Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools.”
De Tocqueville understood the power of America’s collective individualism, which brings together diverse groups of people around a common interest. As we enjoy the upcoming Conference, BKBG has offered kitchen and bath showroom owners the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals to share and build upon their passions. This is the same desire that drives social media. Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Tik Tok and LinkedIn permit almost anyone or any business, club or association to create a group in almost any interest you could possibly imagine and some that are quite inconceivable.
However, social media groups and platforms are limited and limiting. There’s little to no transparency or accountability. And there’s no true socialization. What would you rather do, make an anonymous post on Facebook, or enjoy a discuss how to make your showroom the destination of choice for top talent at a BKBG Peer-to-Peer roundtable?