Networking is what many new entrepreneurs are told they need to do to grow their business. I believe that your community, your group of “raving fans” are your best way to grow a thriving business. How to grow your business community is something I talk about a lot and it’s something I believe in and use in my business regularly.
Why is a community crucial to your success? A community feels connected to you and you to them. A community is there for you in good times and bad. your community — whether they are your clients or those with whom you interact regularly, colleagues or friends — helps your business in many ways.
To have a sustainable business you need to grow and nurture your community. It’s not enough to hand out a business card and leave a meeting; you want to truly connect with a potential client or colleague. Invite them out for coffee, ask them questions about themselves… truly connect.
How To Grow Your Business Community
What does it take to build a business community? Here are three ways to get started:
- Engage with people. Don’t attend a networking meeting and hand out business cards and run. Stop, engage with people. Comment on something they’d said at the meeting, comment on something they’re wearing or have with them. Let them talk.
- Don’t hide behind social media. Yes, it’s easy to think you’re growing your community on social media — and you are, after a fashion. Nothing beats a face-to-face — even if you’re in a different state or country you can connect. Fire up a video chat such as Skype and get to know the person face-to-face, even if it’s virtually. Quality over quantity when it comes to social media numbers.
- Get involved. If you’re a member of a professional organizaion, trade group, Chamber of Commerce, get involved. Volunteer on committees. Support the group you’re a part of because it mirrors your business’s mission and values. The more you get involved, the larger your community will be and the more people you will meet.
What can you do today to build your community? What have you tried that has been wildly successful in building your community? Are you still struggling to find and nurture your community? Let us know. We can help.