Starting a usergroup
So you want to start a usergroup? Great! Just do it!
But are you sure that there is not one already around? Check php.ug to see (whilst we try to encourage as many user groups to add their meetup, there might be others, so check elsewhere too like Meetup, Twitter as well!). The organizers of existing usergroups can always need a helping hand!
OK, you checked! No other group around. Where to go from your decision? What's next.
Set a date and time
You should set a date and a time for the first meeting. Don't do it on a short notice as you will have one or two things to do and organize. But don't push it too far into the future. Something between 4 and 8 weeks sounds good.
Once you have a date and a time set you can tell everyone when the new usergroup will meet. So attendees can check that date with their calendars.
Find a venue
Now that you have a date set you will need a place where to meet.
Check with a local dev-company whether they let you use a meeting room. The benefit for them is that their developers can attend the meetup without leaving the company first. And they might even put up some snacks and drinks.
Often coworking-spaces allow usergroups for little or no fee to use their meeting rooms. That way possible new clients see the venue and also their clients can attend the meetup without hassle. Normaly you will have to cover snacks and drinks by yourself or you find a sponsor for that. More on that later.
And there is always the possibility to meet socialisingly in a pub or bar or restaurant or cafe or ... whatever.
Now that you have a place and a time everything is set to start promoting the meeting. Set up a website that contains date, time and location of the meeting. Set up an agenda so everyone willing to come knows what to expect. And then tell everyone you know about it (meeting and website).
The day has come
And then the day is there!
Be at the venue early! If the actual venue is difficult to find you might add some signs to direct the people to the location. And as soon as the first guests start to drop in: You are in charge!