Life is never really like that, is it?  All of your ducks in a row. I watch the entropy that is my little boys, and for each time that they collect shells and pebbles and make orderly lines and patterns there are 100 times that they dump their boxes of warriors on the floor, or literally empty every puzzle piece and game tile out of the organized cardboard boxes. There is power in chaos for sure.

But how do we harness it?

I’ve had meetings the last two days with emerging membership groups in Vermont. There is something exciting about those early meetings…why have we come together? What are our stories? What can we do for each other? For our community? Yet the challenge is clear. How do we become and stay relevant? How do we serve our members and beyond? So many questions and so many different ways to answer them.

For me the answer comes in three stages:

1. Define our niche, a central question we can answer,  and mission we can work towards. For the sole proprietor group we have a clear sense of who our market is, and then the market itself and help define the broad mission.

2. Have short, medium and long term projects with definable goals. Use both pain points and bright spots to help With one group we will be working towards a Group Purchasing Option, where we can act as a co-op to negotiate deals on office supplies and advertising rates.

3. Have a predictable agenda with room for networking, personal problem solving and peer to peer support that is the positive by-products of long term groups.

How do you help carve out your niche? How do you create projects and programs that support your mission?

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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