Change is Beautiful
As SourceLink director, Rob Williams pointed out at our recent Affiliate Quarterly Conversation, along with the change in seasons, this fall brings change to the SourceLink network as well. New employment opportunities brought change to our staff and the people we work with. We have seen this at SourceLink and among our affiliates around the country.
We have also seen change in the focus of our work. Affiliate organizations are moving forward from the pandemic and evolving from recovery to resilience. Changes in our field of ecosystem building include professional development opportunities including the International Development Council (IEDC) entrepreneurial led certification professional development program and Ecosystem Builders Leadership Project (EBLP). The Kauffman Foundation and the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) are committed to the Ecosystem Builders Leadership Project (EBLP) to help give more structure and guidance for those involved in ecosystem building. There is still time to get involved in EBLP. Contact Dara Macan for more information as she also was recently elected to serve on its inaugural provisional council.
Our network continues to grow. We will soon welcome Louisiana Business Hub, a statewide initiative with a regional “hub and spoke” model, that will launch this winter. In addition, our affiliate, Evergreen BizLink in Washington state, launched in early 2022, announced plans to expand to a regional model. To learn more about the “hub and spoke model,” our SourceLink team will be hosting a webinar, The Benefits of the Hub & Spoke Model for Building Entrepreneurship Ecosystems, on Wednesday, November 16, 12:00pm to 1:00pm CT.
Other new SourceLink projects include IASourceLink Business License Navigator using The Resource Navigator® technology, KC Housing Connection building a network of support to address affordable housing and Capital Reports for KCSourceLink and BioNexusKC, a life sciences innovation initiative.
Changes to SourceLink Technologies
A new SourceLink Knowledge Base on the WordPress platform was introduced at the October Quarterly Conversation. It provides affiliates with enhanced documentation, easily accessible “how to” articles to assist with the SourceLink℠ Pro CRM, The Resource Navigator® interactive database and SiteConnex™ website 24/7.
Q2 and Q3 2022 Release Notes include a major enhancement addressing a common challenge we are often asked about — how to best manage duplicate client information inside of SourceLink℠ Pro. With this new feature, SourceLink Pro administrators will gain access to more powerful tools to help identify and merge duplicate client records.
Affiliate Best Practices
Marco Johnson, Entrepreneur Cat Herder from Sparkyard in Fort Worth, TX, presented a report requested by one of their funders, the City of Fort Worth, that calculates return on their investment (ROI). Utilizing data from SourceLink℠ Pro CRM, The Resource Navigator® interactive database and SiteConnex™ website, the Sparkyard team, working with Chapman and Company, determined a financial value for each Sparkyard service i.e. Personal Action Plans developed for entrepreneurs, newsletters sent, events held, etc., and multiplied the value by the number of appearances or “instances.” This effort shows how ecosystem building can be more in line with traditional economic development financial impact reporting.
Denisse Rodriguez, Executive Director, Colmena66, led a discussion regarding the rate for monthly satisfaction surveys sent from the SourceLink Pro CRM. The Colmena66 team utilized several strategies to try to increase the response above five percent such as asking fewer questions, sending the survey 60 days out from the initial request for assistance rather than 30 days and providing incentives for those who respond. Since their efforts did not increase response rates significantly, the Colmena66 team decided to focus on those who do respond. Denisse asked for input from the affiliate network.
Katie Smith, Manager of Business Connections, ChiBizHub in Chicago, agreed that their efforts to increase the response rate for the satisfaction survey didn’t improve beyond five percent. So their team decided to survey visitors and clients differently by adding an intent to exit survey on their website asking visitors if they found what they were looking for and if they would like assistance. They will also add surveys to a featured topic in their bi-monthly newsletter asking readers whether the topic was helpful and if they would like to learn about other topics. In this way, the ChiBizHub team can develop video guides, workshops, feature stories, etc. to address the needs of entrepreneurs in their community.
According to Michael Carmona, Senior Director, KCSourceLink, when automated requests for assistance intakes were added to their website rather than person-to person hotline calls, satisfaction response rates tended to be lower. The KCSourceLink team now makes personal phone calls to clients that requested assistance at the end of each month to learn their levels of satisfaction with the assistance they received.
Typically, response rates for surveys can range from five to 30 percent. Hassan Bazzi, Director of Entrepreneur Engagement at Forward Cities reminded us that entrepreneurs are quite busy and perhaps we need to balance our need to find out their level of satisfaction with respect for their time. It may be a good idea to gather information from the entrepreneur when we are meeting with them rather than take more time to respond to a survey.
SourceLink Affiliate Summit, April 24-26, 2023
Plans for the SourceLink Affiliate Summit, an exclusive event for members of the SourceLink network, were revealed at the Quarterly Conversation. The Summit will take place at the AC Marriott in San Juan, Puerto Rico from Monday, April 24 to Wednesday, April 26, 2023. The agenda is packed with interactive workshops, informative speakers and lots and lots of networking! Attendees will return home with action plans, based on their objectives, ready to implement. In March of 2020, we were just three weeks away from meeting in San Juan, but had to cancel due to the pandemic, so this time around will feel extra sweet.
The next SourceLink Affiliate Quarterly Conversation is scheduled for mid December. Contact Pola Firestone, Relationship Manager, with ideas and topics for discussion.
SourceLink Affiliate Conversations
SourceLink Affiliate Quarterly Conversations are an exclusive benefit for affiliate members. Agendas include topics, speakers and discussions suggested by our community of network builders and is an opportunity to share best practices and collaborate with one another. For more information about becoming a SourceLink affiliate and joining our conversations contact Dara Macan, Director of Global Partnerships and Engagement.