4 ways community helps your business grow
Community can feel like a loaded word, especially today. Back when I started my first business, it was all about gathering people who needed my service (a pop-up consignment shop) in our local area.
Eventually, that community grew. People talked to one another and families outside my immediate area found out about it. I was able to serve more people through word of mouth and, eventually, advertising. But that was years ago.
Today, community is so much more. We can thank the internet for this, and our ability to connect with people far outside our geographic area. I’m so grateful for this. As much as social media feels like a time-suck at times (you know that endless scroll I’m talking about), it’s been such an important part of my business and personal growth.
How Community is Different Today
Sure, I will sometimes lament about the frustrations of building a community online. It’s hard sometimes! But really, I love it. Here’s why:
Your reach is unlimited.
In almost any online community, you’ll find people from across the globe. You’re not limited by your immediate circle, and it’s easy to make an impact on new people every day. You might start with a small following but when you put yourself out there and provide valuable content, you’re not limited by how big you can grow your business.
The great part is that you can do a lot of this for free with social media. If you’re looking for faster growth, you can target specific audiences with ads--without breaking the bank. And the more people you meet and the more targeted you are in growing your community, the faster it will grow.
Different perspectives mean more growth.
When I was growing up and then new to business, communities were pretty limited by geography. The internet as we know it today didn’t exist and the only way to truly connect with others was in person. If you think about your own geography for a moment, you’ll realize how much this limits your thinking. You’re surrounded by people who look like you, talk like you, have similar beliefs as you and are in the same socioeconomic circle.
Today, all you have to do is hop on Google and do a search about something to find thousands of different opinions about a topic. In business, you can get on Facebook or Instagram or YouTube and learn something new--from someone you never would have connected with otherwise. This means you can expand your thinking, gain new perspectives and grow as a person and business owner.
It’s easy to get feedback.
You don’t know what you don’t know--and you don’t know what your community doesn’t know. That is, unless you ask. One of my favorite things about online communities is that they’re a hub for information and feedback. Ask a question about something you want to offer or create and you’re bound to get ideas and insights--quickly. This is exactly what I did recently to create my signature offer!
People love to share and provide feedback, especially if it will benefit them in the end. If you’re asking for feedback, be sure to let your audience know what’s in it for them and they’ll jump right in to support you!
Choose your own adventure.
With online communities, you’re not limited by how many you can join, how involved you are or where the community is hosted. There are just so many options out there compared to five or 10 years ago. The challenge here might be knowing which community is best for you and where you want to go in your business.
I recommend asking yourself these questions:
What do I want to get out of a community? Education? Support? Accountability?
How much time can I commit? Some communities have expectations that you commit a certain amount of time each month; others offer support to those who show up.
What do I have to offer the community? The more involved you are and the more you show up with your expertise, the more you’ll get out of it and the better your return on investment.
What is my budget? Paid community groups often have more to offer in terms of support and resources. But you also want to be aware of your budget and factor that into your decision.
Community is the thing that can help you grow your business. And it can also be the pillar of support you need to take that next step. I have a free community where I offer training and support on a regular basis (Are you there yet?), but I’m also opening a new, paid membership community where I take it to the next level and beyond. (Sign up below to be one of the first to know about it!)
No matter what community you decide to be a part of, be an active and engaged member of it. It’s such a huge part of business today!
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