From this week’s Southside Times:

Open In Indiana: Henry promotes networking sessions to help small businesses

Written By Mark Ambrogi for the Southside Times

Ryan Henry’s mission is to help other small business flourish.

“One of the ways we’ve worked to help small businesses get the word out about themselves is we created a networking organization late last year called Open In Indiana,” said Henry, a south side Indianapolis resident who co-owns Henry Marketing Group with his wife, Carly.

“It’s a free small business networking organization. We currently have seven different meetings
throughout central Indiana.” One of those meeting locations is at the Southside Business Initiative, co-working building at 6825 Madison Ave, where the Henrys are members. Those meetings are held the first and third Friday every month.

Henry serves as leader of those along with downtown Indianapolis and Carmel. “Networking with Open In Indiana benefits members by creating an environment where new members feel welcome and where all members can connect, find support, and learn new techniques to help them build their own brand,” Carly said.

(Ryan) Henry, 29, said the SBI meeting typically draws eight to 10 people, Diane Smith, a Crestwood Village South resident, leads a weekly Open In Indiana meeting in Crestwood. “What I get from hosting a network group is it gives all of us an opportunity to come together on one accord and bounce ideas each other about how we can improve in our business endeavors,”
Smith said. “I just enjoy hosting a network group. Ryan Henry is such an awesome leader. It’s been a very important person in my journey.”

There will be another south side meeting, starting June 20, once a month, run by Carly,
at The Healthy Food Cafe. There are meetings in Carmel and Fishers, which launched June 11. All the meetings are free to attend. “All the groups operate as non-industry specific meetings, meaning we don’t just want one web guy, we don’t just want one insurance rep,” Henry said. “Each business has unique niche it works best with. For example, since I have an IT Information Technology) background I do a lot of connecting with IT guys who have since become members. We have two different IT professionals that have pretty much come to every meeting; you normally think they’re in competition but one of them does the physical repair of the system in-house. The second IT member only does Cloud computing implementation. He doesn’t do anything as far as the monitoring and repair of the system. So they are able to work together even though they are technically in the same industry.”

Henry said certain topics of the Open In Indiana meetings are more popular than others. Each meeting leader chooses an activity or topic. “Most of it is top-level overview of components
of business marketing tools,” Henry said. “Those topics are available for our meeting leaders
to use. The meeting leaders can also choose an activity, like an icebreaker game that gets everybody active and participating in the group.” Henry said he recently opened up the sessions
to guest speakers. Members are also encouraged to join the OpenInIndiana.com online directory and forum, Carly said. “We share these business listings, events, and promotions from OpenInIndiana.com on social media and at networking events, to help connect our members with our community,” Carly said.

(Ryan) Henry said they continually share on social media all the information members share on the website. “We have some networks that target consumers, which is us promoting our members’ content to the general public,” Henry said. ”It doesn’t matter whether or not you
become a customer of Henry Marketing Group or not, this membership is free and open to the public. It’s not contingent on  purchasing anything from us. It doesn’t matter what industry you come from or how big your company is.”

The Southside Business Initiative is part of the Indiana Co-Working Passport. “What that means is one day every month I can use my membership to access any of the other affiliated co-working spaces in the state of Indiana,” he said. “That means when I do have to travel out of Indianapolis, as long as it’s part of the co-working passport, I can request access.”

Henry previously was running an IT company, which focused on small businesses. “Most of our clients weren’t asking us to do IT-related things for them,” Henry said. “They were asking us to do things like build their website, manage their social media and otherwise use some of the other tools that are out there to get word out about your business. We decided to close the IT group and start Henry Marketing Group (in 2017)because it more accurately described what
our clients were looking for.

All the expertise we learned for Henry Marketing Group
was what we learned ourselves from starting the IT company and trying to build that up.

To read this week’s Southside Times, click here.