We’re going to spit some real truth at you. Size Matters – and no not in the bedroom (I mean..maybe for some of ya’ll it does hahaha). It matters when you’re building your community, your tribe, your circle, your organization. As the great Inigo Montoya says;
“I do not think it means what you think it means.”
The real truth? Bigger isn’t always better. When we started The B Hive, we had no real direction or plan of what we wanted to do with this. Erica and I were committed to making new friends and we wanted to host a fun book club. Our experiences in other friend communities was weak at best and horrible at helping us build a group of supportive women. As our group grew, we jumped from just 25 members in the first month to 85 in 3 months and then over 100. Based on all the other groups out there – we moved at a glacial pace. But in our eyes – going from 25 to 85 in just three months was a massive accomplishment! We were STOKED. Because with every new member – we actually make a real effort to meet them, to speak to them to exchange contact details or to find out what they’re interested in. As we begin to grow again slightly more rapidly than before (we add on average 3-6 new members per day), it does become more difficult to connect with every new member – but we certainly try. We are more than available to our members – they can call or message us at anytime for almost anything! Because that’s who we are as founders of this community.
After a few months of growth, we spent a lot of time talking about our events and how the size of those events matter as well. While it’s impressive that other groups in Austin boast attendance of 70 women at a meet up, we pride ourselves in having small intimate meet ups. We force a cap on our events, particularly the ones that are held in people’s homes or are members only events. While it’s often exciting to have a big turn out to our events, we find that keeping them small is just SO much better!
For example, our MasterHive meet up for our Worker Bs and other female business owners in Austin – is a meet up that, by design, is kept small. It allows for everyone to gain valuable feedback and get help on working through issues they’re coming up against in their businesses. While other similar groups are more of a networking environment or only few selected people get the opportunity to work on their problems – with our MasterHive it’s a way for EVERYONE to get involved – not just a select few chosen by the group’s leader.
For our social events, we typically cap those at 15 to 20 women, particularly our brunch. Not only is it easier for everyone to get to know each other it allows for us to work with the restaurant on a reservation and gives us a lot more flexibility with restaurant requirements. When we have book club, we always keep that small – typically no more than 15 ladies, out of respect for our hostess. Not only do they offer up their home to host, but they buy food, wine, and make other preparations for hosting 15 women in her house or apartment.
Small Size Builds Authentic Community
But it all really comes down to the fact that when you cram 70 women into a room – you can’t develop authentic relationships with others. You end up trying to talk over each other or not able to actually talk to everyone in a short period of time. But when it’s just a few ladies – 15 or so, you’re actually able to have authentic conversations with so many more women. Develop friendships, create bonds that you might not be able to do with everyone in attendance at an event. It also creates this desire for women to return to events, and keeps them consistent. When you have women continuously showing up to events, BECAUSE they’ve made authentic connections with other women – they will continue to WANT to show up. It makes a HUGE difference!
We encourage our members to start small.
You will always see us recommending to women who first join The B Hive to attend one of our smaller events – one that is capped or at someone’s home. We very rarely encourage ladies to attend one of our big public events or our. happy hours, just because the nature of those events don’t always encourage authentic connecting. We love to see new ladies at brunch or at book club – it really gives us the chance to get to know them better and them to get to know us!