In this information era, consumers have digital access to a myriad of competitors and business information and market forces and disruptive technologies have shifted the balance of power away from traditional marketing and advertising models.
Both consumers and businesses have self gravitated to online communities to find answers to new questions and to find solutions to the unforeseen challenges they have yet to experience.
Proverbs: Lessons from our past
The old African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” emphasizes the impact a community has on the growth, development, and successful maturation of a person to not only survive to adulthood, but to thrive to become a contributing member within their community.
Although we are in a high-tech age, these simple words still ring true with in application beyond the walls of the family unit – as they are now being applied to impact community as it supports the growth of entrepreneurial businesses.
So, if it takes a village to raise a child, what does it take to raise a business?
Often, your business is often conceived out of a passion, which gives birth to an entrepreneurial idea. Once that idea is “born” from your research and planning, it must be properly nurtured in order to mature to a full-fledged business. That’s when the work begins in earnest, and when the support of a community can become crucial to its survival.
5 Community Assets
Here are 5 community assets that can impact the growth, development, and maturation of a small business.
1. Knowledge – A community is a place or experience where knowledge is shared. Each community member brings unique skills, perspectives, experiences, and level of education to contribute. Community mentors (those who hold and/or share the greatest amount of their community experience) bless others with their wisdom and often shorten the path to success for newer entrepreneurs in sharing their lessons learned.
2. Encouragement – A community is a place where achievements are recognized and celebrated, and where trials, challenges and failures are kept in perspective. Community “encouragers” help entrepreneurs keep going when things are tough or when vision is lacking, spurring us to create and set goals, to remain focused, to celebrate victories, and to overcome roadblocks. Their support is the glue of any community.
3. Critical Analysis – A community is a place where people ask hard questions and tell you the truth. Community “critics” stretch us to go beyond their comfort zones, and, through their analytical questions, ignite us to plan and develop business strategy.
4. Cooperation – A community is a place to meet like-minded people and to form strategic partnerships to collaborate on meaningful work. Successful entrepreneurs learn to leverage key relationships to expand visibility in their target niche, to launch cooperative business ventures, and to develop credibility and influence.
5. Reservoir of Resources – A community can serve as a self organizing reservoir of resources. Through networking as a community member with supportive and sharing, like-minded individuals, an entrepreneur can identify the technology, business tools and resources that can help them run their business more effectively and grow more quickly.
So what does it take to raise a business?
Today, building a successful business takes passion, an entrepreneurial idea, and a nurturing business community. A fair amount of sweat, research and strategic focus are not to be excluded.
A community of sharing, supportive, experienced and learning individuals will contribute significantly to helping you achieve business success.
What online communities were helpful in developing your business?
Which communities provide good business ideas and support?
Share your comments here.
Dee Allomong is Community Catalyst for
Let’s Talk Property Management: an online community
of news, strategies, tips and engaging discussions.