Social media guru finds there is a person in the room wanting to eat his lunch.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April; 22, 2013.  James Burchill, an absolutely shameless promoter and one of the those people in this city who KNOWS social media and has managed to make a decent living at it.

He has created a network that grew from about 50 people to the point where it is now at more than 2000 “members” and strong enough to support a mini-trade show at the Performing Arts Centre and bring his flock together once a month, always at an upscale bar for nodding and noshing.

There is someone out there who wants to MeetUp with all these people – James Burchill founder of Business in Burlington doesn’t quite see it that way and is becoming familiar with the phrase “cease and desist”.  Will that be enough to stop some interloper from eating his lunch?

MeetUp is the vehicle Burchill uses and Business in Burlington is the name of the game.  He also has gigs going in Oakville and Niagara.  Add to that the chutzpah to get a car dealer to loan him a fire-red sports car for use for a day – or is it longer?  My name wasn’t drawn so I’ve no idea how long anyone gets to use the car.

Burchill handing out as Hypnosis session as a door prize.  Has James been asleep at the switch while someone tries to steal his market.  Competition is said to bring out the best in all of us.

Burchill sent out a note to his followers with this “heads up. I’ve learned someone has launched a new MeetUp using our the “Business In” trademark in their name.  t’s already causing confusion and thank you to everyone who’s emailed me about it.

There are 3 approved and licensed Business In ™ Networking groups and Burchill is in discussions to launch more. “Unless you hear it from me directly,” advises Burchill “ it’s not an approved group nor is it licensed, part of the “Business In” network, or operating under the same code of conduct and/or rules.

Burchill has “reached out” to the person behind the group and is endeavouring to clear up the naming confusion. Again, if you didn’t hear it from me – it’s NOT an approved Business In ™ Networking group.

Burchill has bumped into that hairy beast called “intellectual property.  Can he lay total claim to the name?  It costs to do that.  Someone obviously sees that Burchill is on to a good thing and they want in on it.  Is Burchill far enough down the track and keeping his flock warm and fuzzy enough for them to stay with him?  Or will they wander over and see what the other guy has to offer.

The business schools tell us that competition brings out the best in us – gets us the lowest price and the best value for our money.  Burchill doesn’t charge a fee – he just puts on an event and charges people for using his event to promote themselves and his service.  His followers do however give him their time and that’s more valuable than cash at times.

How will Burchill handle this?  Does he have the cahonies to ward off some interloper?  This might be a useful lesson for him to involve his membership in – great brand bonding if he can get his followers to ride this wave with him.

And a lesson in what to do when someone walks into the room expecting to eat your lunch.  Stay tuned.

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