January 5, 2006
By Linda Lopez
Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to bring in new business in 2006? It was certainly one of mine. I must confess, this is not a new resolution for me, but what I decided to do differently this year was begin in my own backyard.
Whether you are a business owner or professional practitioner, you probably know what it’s like to ride the good-year-bad-year pendulum, to go from scrambling like Lucy in the candy factory to wondering why the phone has stopped ringing. Even those who love the entrepreneurial life can find fluctuations like that unnerving.
It is not easy to run a company and grow a business at the same time, to strike a balance while meeting the demands of serving clients, staying on budget, keeping abreast of new technologies, polishing the creative edge, and bringing in new business on a regular basis. In the struggle to do it all, something inevitably gets neglected or half-done. That something is usually marketing.
Statistics show that one of the most common challenges business owners face is designating adequate time and resources for marketing. What the statistics don’t reflect is how much we often have at our fingertips that we don’t use.
My New Year’s resolution and those troubling statistics got me to thinking about how much more I could be doing with what I already have. I figured it was time to get from behind my desk, go through my files, look up a few old acquaintances, take advantage of those networking portals I keep joining but rarely use, start leveraging my professional memberships — in other words, rediscover the people and opportunities in my own backyard. That’s what I’ll be doing this year.
How About You?
As your communications representative on the New York Chapter board, I would like to tell you about a marketing tool we both have in common, our membership in MCA-I. How much do you know about your professional association? How many of your fellow members do you know well enough to call for advice? How many times have you turned to MCA-I in the past year when you needed a resource, a reference, or a job?
One of the best tools for getting the word out about what makes your product or service unique is right under your nose. It’s your professional network, the one you acquired when you became an MCA-I member. When was the last time you leveraged that membership in a way that positively affected your bottom line?
Your Chapter leaders want to help you do just that. We’re constantly looking for new ways to add value to your membership — value that resounds for you financially, creatively, and socially.
Let’s inventory the resources you have right now as a member of MCA-I:
- Your local chapter is one of almost 100 worldwide. Most chapters run monthly networking or professional development meetings. Have you ever considered attending a neighboring chapter’s meeting or co-producing one with them? Such collaborations can be both profitable and fun.
- Your fellow members run a number of listserv communities: for writers, producers, Web designers, and more. Can’t find one that represents you? Start your own. What better way to network your expertise than in an informal setting, while making new friends in the process?
- Broadening your horizons? MCA-I has affiliates in England, Denmark, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia — with more in formation. Get to know your colleagues across the pond; you never know when a job or business opportunity might result.
- Your National organization has a terrific resource called Find A Pro™ that “keeps MCA-I members open for business 24/7”. Your membership entitles you to a free listing. Have you updated yours recently?
- National also provides a Job Hotline where you can post a job or view job postings. Remember the old adage: Don’t wait until you’re looking for work to look for work. If you keep a shortcut on your desktop, you’ll remember to check the listings frequently. Think creative: Just because an employer is looking for a salaried person doesn’t mean s/he won’t consider outsourcing the work instead. You can’t know unless you ask.
- Members-only discounts are among the least utilized benefits. As a member, you are entitled to preferred pricing on music libraries, stock footage, software, hardware, training materials, production equipment, Web casting, streaming media services, shipping, office supplies, medical and dental plans, hotel discounts, seminars, trade shows, and conferences. OK, these aren’t marketing tools, but they can make a difference in your bottom line — freeing up resources for, that’s right, marketing.
- We have two health benefit plans: a limited medical plan and a prescription plan. Read about both at the International website. We also have a new medical discount card: the Pinnacle Choice Health Savings Card. Learn more about it. These are three benefits that can ultimately boost your bottom line.
- Finally there are all the conferences, trade shows, and other professional development events where members can learn, network, and get noticed. Take look at the full list. And folks, that’s just the National line-up; take a look at New York!
The New York Advantage
As a New York Chapter member, you belong to a community of professionals who do business across the country and around the globe. The New York Chapter has never been brighter than it is today.
In this issue, our chapter president, Corinna Sager, talks about the exciting transformations the New York Chapter experienced in 2005. In fact, MCA-I NY has been on the upswing for a while. It wasn’t easy. Like other chapters, we weathered unprecedented changes in our industry, and survived a major demographic shift in our membership from one centered on corporate production to one that serves a highly diversified, largely digital communications industry.
Today we count producers, directors, writers, camera operators, technicians, industrial performers, journalists, publicists, graphic artists, programmers, and media executives among our number. To stay relevant and serve these members more effectively, we have strengthened and refined our infrastructure, enriched our programming, and forged alliances with other like-minded organizations.
MCA-I NY now runs two Web sites — our corporate pages at www.mcainy.org and our film festival site at www.mcainy.org/unfilm, which is visited by documentary filmmakers and those who follow them worldwide — and publishes this online magazine, FOCUS on New York Media. We also maintain a local Hotline at (212) 388-7307.
So what’s the point of all this self-congratulation? It’s to tell you that this is the perfect time for you to start taking a marketer’s view of your MCA-I membership. Don’t just read about what your Chapter is doing; be a part of it. If you’re wondering where you can fit in, email me (removed) for more information. MCA-I NY has both active committees and committees that are waiting for the right person to give them life.
If you are reading this but are not yet a member of MCA-I, what are you waiting for? Last year was impressive, but 2006 is going to be even better. It’s time to get on board!
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