To recap, here is a helpful reminder of important Dos and Don’ts:
1. DO ensure your group has connected with respected members of the community and shared its mission with them. Community outreach events are great for building this kind of support.
2. DON’T accept compensation for facilitating investments or any related activities!
3. Networks themselves DON’T request or gather financial information from local businesses.
4. Individual members of networks DO share due diligence research and opinions about potential investments if they want to, but DON’T give personalized recommendations on investments to one another. Everyone needs to make their own independent decisions.
And here is a quick recap of the steps for starting a local investing group:
(1) Check that there isn’t a functional existing group nearby that you could join forces with.
(2) Recruit your initial core group of organizers and investors, focusing on having sufficient money to make a difference by investing locally, shared values, and community connections.
(3) Ensure that at least a few members familiarize themselves with federal and state securities laws and regulations that could affect your group and/or the businesses that interact with your group.
(4) Collectively decide on all the important aspects of your group, culminating in a Membership Agreement that all the founders sign (Open membership groups don’t require an Agreement). If you are an investor network (not an investment club), launch your group’s website, and tell your community and the local press.
(5) Start building your local economy ecosystem by reaching out to important people in your community that can support your efforts.
(6) Organize an educational outreach event to recruit new members and let the community and local businesses know what your group is doing. Properly orient any new members afterwards.
(7) Organize your first business showcase, being sure to facilitate the scheduling of follow-up meetings, and track what happens as a result.
(8) Hold members-only business meetings to discuss and evaluate the results of your efforts, refine your processes, and improve your effectiveness.
(9) Repeat steps 5 through 8. Have fun!