Finding your tribe and building community, is like discovering a hidden gem. It not only feels good, it’s also a critical element for long-term growth — both personal and professional.
Within the context of business growth, building community is crucial to make sure that your brand doesn’t stagnate. Not only that, but developing your own network is all part of growing success. In order to win relationships, you have to stick your neck out there and make connections.
In this post, we’re going to dissect some of the aspects of why building community is a key element to any successful business or entrepreneur.
We can count on them to bring new ideas to the table consistently
Why Community Matters
Now, you might be thinking, “What’s the big deal?” Well, the big deal is this:
Community fosters resilience and mental well-being.
When you’re aligned with like-minded people, you’re better equipped to deal with life’s twists and turns. For instance, if you’re an entrepreneur or an executive, you’ll face periods of downturn and stress. In these times, your community becomes your go-to, a place where you can talk through your issues with people who understand and maybe even find solutions.
If you don’t know where to start, that’s okay. Here are some tips to help you start creating a more personal community of like-minded entrepreneurs (or anyone, really):
- Define Your Purpose and Vision: If you understand why you want to build this community — for networking, sharing resources, mutual support? — it will be easier to define the values and goals of the community. This will help attract the right members.
- Prioritize Quality Over Quantity: Instead of aiming for a large number of members, which is inherently less personal, start by reaching out to fewer individuals who share similar values and goals.
- Host Intimate Gatherings: Organize small-scale events like dinners or retreats where the group can discuss both personal and professional subjects. Unlike an office or even Zoom call, these settings make it easier to relax and experience deeper conversations and bonding.
- Choose the Right Platform: Choose a platform for your community that suits your needs. This could be a Facebook group, a Slack channel, a dedicated forum, or even a physical co-working space.
- Create Safe Spaces: It’s super important to make sure that the community environment is non-judgmental and confidential. Members should feel safe being vulnerable enough to share their challenges.
- Encourage Personal Sharing: Beyond business topics, which will naturally occur with a group of entrepreneurs, be sure to actively encourage members to share personal stories and experiences.
- Facilitate Collaborative Projects: You could play “match maker” and encourage specific members that you know could help each other to collaborate on projects. Working together can strengthen relationships and build trust, and sometimes people might not feel comfortable reaching out to another member on their own.
- Network Actively: Sometimes you have to be more active, particularly with a new group. You could suggest attending conferences or other industry events and meet up as a group during or afterwards to discuss new ideas.
- Stay Consistent: Regularly update the community with news, events, resources, questions, etc. Consistency helps keep members engaged.
Your connections in the community could refer you to the right resources or give you the pep talk you need. Essentially, the relationships you nurture within your community are invaluable and often lead to long-term success.
Building Community: There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Approach
There’s no right or wrong way to build a community. But a great mindset to start out with when building community with your peers is: Help others without expecting anything in return.
Don’t try to be too strategic and calculating with the relationships you develop. Don’t expect returns right away. Simply help others because you enjoy it. The benefits will accrue naturally as if they are a byproduct of your good deeds and supportive influence toward others.
It’s a simple yet profound way to live, and it echoes a famous quote by Zig Ziglar: “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.”
It’s not a short-term strategy; it requires sustained effort. People can sniff out inauthenticity from miles away. When you help others with a hidden agenda, it becomes glaringly obvious. But when your actions are sincere, you develop relationships based on trust and respect, which often come back to benefit you in unexpected ways.
To that end, always be transparent and honest with the people you interact with. Be open about admitting to areas you need to grow in and be confident about the things you do well. When others can see you as a competent authority with one matter, they’ll look to you for advice and input. In those moments, you’ll also be able to extract new things from them in areas that they are proficient with.
There’s usually always some degree of symbiosis in any professional relationship.
Are You at a Disadvantage Without a Community?
Are you at a disadvantage without a community? In a word, yes.
Without a community, you’re potentially at a disadvantage compared to your competition. Your community or network can be your most robust asset, filling in the gaps when you lack time, resources or capital. They can troubleshoot problems, provide insights, and help with job placements or opportunities, and business growth.
So how can you build up your own network? Here are a few ways you can bond with others and build meaningful connections that create trust and mutual benefits.
Join or Create Masterminds
If you’re a content creator, being a lone wolf won’t do you much good. Ever considered joining a mastermind group or even starting a mastermind? These are small, focused groups that gather periodically to discuss various topics, brainstorm ideas and share invaluable advice.
Why does this matter?
Because you get to tap into a pool of experience and knowledge that you might not otherwise have access to. Think of it as a think-tank for mutual success. Plus, the sense of community can be incredibly motivating. You’re not just working towards your goals, you’re doing it alongside like-minded individuals who can offer both emotional and intellectual support.
Document Your Journey
Don’t have content yet? We’ve all been there. If you’re struggling to come up with relevant material, why not turn the camera on yourself? Documenting your journey is a genuine, relatable way to engage your audience. Record the steps you took to achieve your goals, the hurdles you’re overcoming, and the milestones you’re reaching.
By the way, our podcast Growth Everywhere is now called Leveling Up, and by perseverance, making mistakes (and learning from them), and reaching out for help, it’s grown substantially!
This isn’t just about showcasing your success; it’s important to be transparent about the struggles, too. That adds a layer of humanity to your brand and makes your content incredibly relatable. Your audience doesn’t just want polished, end-result stories. They want the nitty-gritty, the highs and the lows. And trust me, there’s no better narrative than real life.
Tap Into Your Existing Contacts on LinkedIn
Do you realize how many potential collaborations and opportunities are sitting right in your contact list? Start by transferring those contacts to your LinkedIn network. But don’t just add them — engage with them.
Share content that is relevant to your industry or your contact’s interests. This not only keeps your network informed, but also positions you as a thought leader in your field. Leave thoughtful comments or questions on the posts of your contacts, and respond to any left on your posts.
All this shows that you’re active, you’re in the loop, and you have something valuable to contribute.
Leverage a Personal CRM
If LinkedIn is the stage, think of a personal CRM like Dex as your backstage crew. This app brings together LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Twitter, email and all your daily tools in one place:
A personal CRM tool helps you keep track of all the interactions you’ve had or need to have with your contacts. Are you following up? Are you engaging with them on birthdays or work anniversaries? This is a phenomenal way to keep your network warm and responsive.
By nurturing these relationships, you’re not just maintaining a database, you’re building a community around yourself. With every article you share or every congratulations message you send, you’re investing in relationships that could lead to collaborations, partnerships or even new content ideas down the line.
Last Thought: Be Helpful, Be Kind
Building a community isn’t an overnight endeavor; it’s a long-term commitment. However, the rewards, both tangible and intangible, are worth the investment. Whether it’s finding your tribe at a conference, sharing an Uber ride or just helping others without expecting anything in return, it’s these relationships that make the journey worthwhile.
Your community is your safety net, your catalyst and sometimes even your reason for success. Remember that impressions are everything when building community (and maintaining it). It requires establishing a positive impression and solidifying it as a regular thing. People will resonate with you if you place more emphasis on their interests than your own.
So how are you nurturing your community? Are you giving without expecting or are you still hesitating, wondering what’s in it for you? The power of community is a long-term play, but the natural outflow of your philanthropy will yield benefits in its own right!
For more insights and lessons about marketing, check out our Marketing School podcast on YouTube.