The parts to a successful business community and how it helps small business
When business owners talk about community, they often think of a Facebook Group they run for their business. I want to expand this to show how the various types of community help, even to sell and not be a Facebook Group. I wanted you to know that you are not alone and that there is community around you. They say it takes a village to raise a child, many of us see our businesses as our baby and that still takes a village.
Community in front – Your clients
Your clients are integral community. Your clients are in front of you, across a counter, the floor, a phone call, a video call, a website – they are in front of you. They are looking to you to solve their problem but don’t forget that they are your community and can also solve your problems.
Your clients can be mobilised to advocate on your behalf, they are the best unpaid sales staff you will ever have – word of mouth sells. They are perfect for market research as they already know and trust you and are generally willing to help you help them.
Your clients deserve your attention and your efforts as it’s easier and cheaper to retain a client than to gain one. The aftercare you offer them, be it a direct follow-up, blog, social media post, Facebook group, or other outreach deserves your care and attention as if they were a first-time client. Your communications should always meet their needs but remember that their needs don’t stop once they are in your community. All of your communication with them needs to address their needs so that you demonstrate with your community that you are still engaged, interested, and prepared to act on their needs.
Community beside – You peers
I fully admit that there is competition, but there can be a community. Your peers understand the trials of your industry. Your peers can offer guidance when you need help. Good peers want you to succeed because they understand that you each serve the public in slightly different ways (and that’s how they like it) and that there is enough for all. Your peers also act as sales staff, referring clients when their books are full or they aren’t quite the right fit.
Community beside – Your peers who aren’t in your field
If peers are your right-hand support, then other business owners are on the left. They understand the trials and joys of being a business owner. They will refer clients, cheer you on, and pick you up when things get rough. You might have friends who are business owners, clients as business owners, or network with other business owners.
While other business owners might not be able to understand precisely what it’s like to be in your industry, we all have different pressures and issues with staff or clients. The benefit of your business peer community is that they can offer a different perspective to industry issues that you might not have considered.
Community behind – Your business support
As business owners, we have a variety of businesses watching our backs, supporting our businesses, and helping us move towards our goals. They applaud us, even if we don’t hear, when we succeed and dust us off when we fall. These are the coaches, accountants, bookkeepers, lawyers, VAs, and other businesses that help us run our business.
These people are often an invisible cheer squad. Just because you don’t always see them, don’t forget them. Turn to your backup crew for guidance, after all that’s why you initially engaged them.
Community surrounding – Your wellbeing group
All around us are our friends, family, and those we turn to for support (including medical professionals). These people are our community, they are our village. While they may not understand what happens in our business or what it’s like to run a business, they can understand us and what we need as a person.
The community around us will often pull us up, give us a reality check, wipe our tears, help us heal, and generally mend and soothe when we are broken.
The community around us will celebrate us even if they don’t understand why. They celebrate because whatever it is, is a big deal to us and we are celebrating. This is why I celebrate wins in my Facebook Group every week.
I hope now you realise that you’re not alone, that others in your field can be your support team, that your clients are your community (outside of a Facebook Group) and that there are people cheering you on – even if you don’t hear us.
If you are looking for a community of business owner peers who value the psychology in business, I would encourage you to join my free Facebook Group. I hope to see you soon.