Just as human beings thrive better in communities; connected to other human beings, so do businesses. Running a business can be a very lonely undertaking. Long hours. The weight of the world on your shoulders. It can be isolating and overwhelming. But what most business owners forget… is that you don’t have to do it alone. In fact you shouldn’t do it alone.
Building out a strong business community is one of the smartest and happiest ways to build your brand. Not only will you create a mighty support group, but you can actually fast track growth.
“Alone we can do little; together we can do so much.” ― Helen Keller
In building out your community think about the type of people you want to be surrounded by. Go back to your values. Make sure that anyone you bring into your sphere shares your values. When values are not aligned relationships very quickly turn sour.
Secondly look for people that inspire you, lift you up and make you want to be better. Once you begin to build out your network, find ways to actively connect and support one another.
HOW TO POSITIVELY CONNECT
- TIME TOGETHER – actually create a space for you to all come together over a common interest, whether that is virtually or in person. There is nothing more important than taking the time to be together and have a laugh. Maybe it’s playing sport… a unisex soccer is fun and bonding, perhaps it’s over food and wine, travel, the arts. Whatever it is, make it a consistent regular experience so that you get to know each other on a personal level, and it’s not just about business.
- GIVE BEFORE RECEIVING – offer support, help, guidance or opportunities without expecting in return. The Law of Reciprocity suggests that when you do something nice for someone, they will have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice in return. As a matter of fact, they may even reciprocate with a gesture far more generous than your original good deed. So get those good deeds happening.
- WIN WIN – actively look for opportunities that will benefit both your businesses. Doing mutually beneficial deals deepens relationships.
- BECOME A CONNECTOR – if you can introduce people who benefit from one another, you build rapport with multiple people. You don’t always have to gain something from your relationships.
OH WOW, SALES JUST GOT A HEAP EASIER
A second dimension to building your community is building out distribution channels. What the heck does that mean? It means finding those people / businesses that offer a service that is complementary to what you do and encouraging them to refer business to you. This arrangement can be loose and informal or you could have set referral agreements in place where commissions are offered for each referral that turns into business.
For example if you have a real estate agency and you know that your clients would benefit from home styling before they put their house on the market you would want to seek out someone that offers this service that you respect and trust, and has shared values. And the referrals can flow both ways.
Another example… if you have a digital marketing agency you might form a fantastic symbiotic relationship with a PR company. Those PR messages always need amplification in the digital space.
TIME TO WORK ON YOUR COMMUNITY
Time to get going and build out that community to help you thrive. Business can be hard and boring without it.
If you’ve built a strong community, we would love to hear from you.
Jodie + Em xx