Build a Community & Grow Your Standout Business

Lesson 3 of 32

How Community Can Transform Your Business

 

Build a Community & Grow Your Standout Business

Lesson 3 of 32

How Community Can Transform Your Business

 

Lesson Info

How Community Can Transform Your Business

On a scale of one to 10, how thrilled with your business are you right now? Eight? Seven? Ten? Great, awesome! But I have a feeling most of us are more, maybe, even if you're happy with your business you're like, it's an eight, but I'd love to get it to a 10, right? There's always room to grow. We're here because we wanna learn more, we wanna create more, we wanna do more with our businesses, and we wanna touch more people with the mission and the purpose behind our businesses as well. But we run into challenges, we run into obstacles, we run into friction points, and another place where community creates such a phenomenal opportunity is its ability to transform those sticking points, those friction points. One problem that I know some people run into is that they don't have time to support more customers. Maybe you're a service based business and you only have the capacity to help so many people with personal training. You only have the capacity to support so many parents with one on ...

one services and you yourself can only do so much. You only have so many hours in the day, right? Maybe you've thought about bringing on a team member, which might be a great idea, maybe you have brought on team members, and you're still like, it's not enough. There are more people that I could be helping, there are more people who want help, I don't have time, I don't have the capacity to serve more customers, or more clients. What if instead, they could support each other? What if instead of relying on you, your company, your team, you created the thing in which they could support each other? It's one of the amazing promises of community building. Is that instead of having that expert, everybody else model, where everything is pointed at you, community creates a web, a network of people who are helping each other. Gina's gonna talk more about that a little bit later on. This is an incredible opportunity for your business. If you were at a place where you want to serve more people, but you physically cannot, community building can and will transform your business, when done correctly because you can create a space in which clients or customers, members, can help each other. Maybe you're at a place in your business where you can't keep up with content demands, you're like I have all these ideas, people have all these questions, I could be writing all day long, or I could be creating podcast episodes or videos all day long, and I still wouldn't be able to answer all the questions. Or maybe you just don't have that much time for creating content. The questions keep coming, but the demands on your business, the clients that you're serving, the other things that you have to do, means you can't keep up with the content that your audience wants. I have so been there. (laughs) Really, really common problem. What if instead of you having to create the content, your customers created the content? What if the members in your community shared their stories, their experiences, their a-ha moments, their personal learnings, and you created a space in which their experiences and personal learnings, and a-ha moments, were elevated to the same level as yours? What if we put the focus on real peoples experiences, instead of just the experts? This is a huge opportunity. I'm just going to keep saying that on repeat. This is a huge opportunity, this is a huge opportunity. This can transform the way you spend your time running your company. If you don't have to be the only person creating content, if you don't have to be the person always with the answer, the answer, which we don't believe in here, right? (laughs) Then, you can spend your time doing other things. You can manage your team the way you want to manage your team. You can manage your operations the way you want to manage your operations. You can do your marketing the way you want to do your marketing. Because your clients, your customers, your members are helping each other with their own stories and experiences. What if you're struggling with growing beyond your personal brand? Now, let me explain this problem a little bit more, cause it may not resonate right away, but I think that it's really a big challenge that a lot of you have. A lot of us have been told, it's your special sauce that makes everything work, right? It's you Melissa, you're the answer! No one can do what you do! Look, guys we're all special snowflakes, it's true. (laughs) But, that creates a problem when it comes to your business. If Melissa is the only one that can do what Melissa can do, then how does Melissa grow? And how does she create something that's bigger than Melissa? She can't. Now, that doesn't mean that Melissa can't still be the spokesperson, she can't still be the leader, but there's something bigger that needs to grow beyond that. So, what if instead of Melissa being her brand, her mission was her brand? One of the most promising things I see about communities building, whether you're online or offline, whether it's free, whether it's paid, is that when you start putting your focus on growing a community, your mission behind the community starts to become your brand. It starts to become what you're known for. When people think of you, when people think of your company they think of your mission first, and Melissa second; and that opens the doors to all sorts of other opportunities. If advocacy or activism is part of your mission it opens the doors to that. If team building, providing jobs, creating jobs for other people, is part of your mission, it opens the doors for that. If having a world wide presence, not just on the internet, but physically world wide is part of your vision for your business, or what maybe your dream, maybe it's not even part of your vision yet, it's part of your dream, your wildest dreams, this opens the door for that. Because Melissa's mission can be everywhere, right, but Melissa can't. Community opens the door for this. Maybe you're spread too thin to nurture new leads. In other words you are so busy delivering your service, delivering your product, running your business, that nurturing new leads, bringing in new customers always takes a back seat, right? You've got the referrals coming in the door, maybe things are slowly trickling in, but you're always worried it's gonna dry up. Have we been there? Done that? Yeah? Okay. What if instead of you having to nurture those leads your customers were nurturing your leads? Communities create an incredible space for social proof, for word of mouth marketing, for 'hey, I'm a part of this thing, you should be a part of this thing too'. In becoming a part of the community they start to learn about your brand, they start to learn about what you do, they star to learn about your products and services, and how they can get more help from your business. Communities can open the door to that as well. I'm curious to hear from you guys, what do you see as being the core challenge that's preventing your business from growing or growing as quickly as you would like it to grow right now? And, maybe we can flip that around and talk about how a community could help you get beyond that challenge. What are some of the challenges you guys are facing right now? Melissa, I'm gonna poke on you. (laughs) I've got two arms to this business, I've got the old business, which is a community, and growing that has kind of been on hold because I'm working on growing my new business, which is my consultancy, and that's all about networking and generating leads, and... What's preventing that business growth? It's just slow. It's just slow. Growing a new business, it's kind of like being a realtor, it's just a lot of networking, and getting out there, and I've got a couple of gigs on the calendar, but they're not for a few months. So, its just a lot of pressing the flesh, and meeting people, and meeting more people, and networking, networking, networking, and networking, and then you get a gig. So right now in your networking, you're kind of the hub, and your job is to connect with as many people as possible, right? And, it all has to flow through you. Right. What if you were able to switch around your strategy on networking, and started connecting people to each other? And you became sort of the catalyst instead of the hub? I'm not exactly sure how to do that, aside from maybe one of my tactics is to send out letters to people asking them to introduce me to people? You're still the hub in that model. So how would I be the catalyst? Your existing community could potentially create an opportunity for you here. We can talk about this more, and we will talk about this more as the class goes on, but I see an opportunity whereby connecting people who have an interest in what it is that you're doing because it's really cool, and it's different, and it's fun, and it's trendy, and it's now. Connecting people who have that interest to each other could potentially speed up that nurturing process, that networking process. Again I keep plugging Gina's upcoming lesson, but Gina's going to talk about that and show you exactly how that works in terms of a networks effects based business. I think you have an opportunity for that. It may be time to stop siloing these two business, two sides to your business, and start looking at how you can incorporate what you've already built into something that could grow your consultancy, and grow a much more profitable business, much more quickly. So, do you mean creating... I guess I'm not... Do you mean creating a community of... I guess I'm not really sure what you mean. (laughs) I'm not entirely sure what I mean yet either, we're still digging into this. (laughter) But, I think there's an opportunity there. I think there's an opportunity to flip this idea that networking has to be slow, and it has to involve you as the hub, and look for a way to create something very playful that also is very productive for you. That would be lovely. Yeah, we'll get there, we'll get there. Yes? Hi, my name is Angie and I teach adults creative writing. Excellent! The business, we have a phenomenal in person community, I mean super tight knit group of people, but when I look forward to creating an environment that could save some of that awesome support that they already provide for each other, and expanding, I think it's really hard for me to think about. How do you retain that authenticity and that real connection? Yeah! Well community building is absolutely the answer to that-- I'm so glad you're here because, yes, (laughs) that's not even a hard one. Melissa's was hard, yours isn't hard. (laughter) Yes, what we are going to talk about over the upcoming, what are we down to now, 38 lessons or so, is exactly what you need to be thinking about in terms of taking an offline community and putting it online. I hear this from so many people, I create these phenomenal in person workshops, or we bring people together for retreats, but then what happens? They want more, but I don't know how to give it without it being so much work. That's what we are going to be covering for the whole rest of this class. This is a real opportunity to take that kind of, oh the word is blanking me, or escaping me, but that kind of magic that happens in even an online workshop space, or a retreat, or offline workshops, and bring it online, and expand what you do. Continue what you do with the people that you already do it with, and then expand much further beyond that as well. Yeah, Maya? Hi, I'm Maya Mathias. I was at your last class about creating a hiring plan, and I feel like I'm so much further down the road now, so I'm happy. (laughs) I got a testimonial in the first segment, this is a record. (laughs) So, right now, sort of like Melissa, I've been in this transitional phase, and now I'm a lot more settled in knowing that I'm a leadership coach, and I'm a spiritual biographer, and I want my community to be a fusion of those two things. So the challenge I'm facing now, as I think through it, is-- I love that slide about truthing and all those trends cause I'm like yes. You should totally read that book. I want to, like it's on my list now, thank you. I was having so many light bulb moments looking at that because essentially I wanna create a community that helps leaders and global citizens learn to write with more soul. So thinking about disrupting power structures, and all that, the people who come to me are used to being a certain kind of leader that fits like the old economy, and I want to create a space where they feel comfortable being able to practice, wear this new skin of what it means to be a more egalitarian leader, to tell their story, to be more vulnerable, and more authentic. So, the challenge that I hope I wanna be able to solve by the end of the class is what do I put in place to make that connection easier for them? So that they feel comfortable saying, okay, I'm used to being a leader in this kind of way, and talking to people in this kind of way, but the world is changing, so how do I give myself permission to do that in community with each other? Yeah, I think that's really interesting too, because what you're going for is really a functional change, and I'm glad you're thinking in that way, and at the same time community creates even this more amazing opportunity for you and what you are trying to create, in that community can really help change peoples identities too, right? Because now they're not just a leader in their own sphere, with their own sphere of influence, they are now a part, they are a member of this movement, they are a member of this transformation that's happening on a much bigger level, and so they will act differently because they think of themselves differently. And generally transformation doesn't really happen like that. First, we start doing things differently, and then we become someone different, and I do think community has an opportunity to kind of change that. When we welcome someone into our community and say, 'you belong here' that changes who they think they are on one level or another, and that change of who they are, changes how they act, how they behave. So, yeah, I think that's great. And when you do create something that immersive as well, something that transformational, it creates an amazing ripple effect, and you will have more and more people coming to you for that same kind of transformation. That's like my nirvana place. Good! Well hopefully we will take you to nirvana.

Class Description

When you have a small business, you’re always on the lookout for your next customer. They might pop up at a networking event, they could subscribe to your email list, they might fill out the contact form on your website.

Too often, knowing where your next customer is going to come from seems unpredictable at best and, at worst, like a huge gamble.

Luckily, there’s a way to ensure you always know where your next customer is coming from—and that your existing customers purchase from you more often—and that’s by building a community.

All sorts of businesses can benefit from making community-building part of their growth strategy and many can benefit from making it part of their business model, too. Whether it’s an informal community (like an email list or Instagram hashtag), a brand-driven community (like a free Facebook group that brings together people in love with the same brand and values), or a dedicated community (like a local group, interest-based social network, or a support group, your business can cultivate deeper connections with existing and potential customers.

Of course, an engaged community doesn’t just happen. If you want to reap the benefits of community-building for your business, you need a plan.

In Build a Community & Grow Your Standout Business, Tara Gentile, the founder of the small business support & social network CoCommercial, will share the must-dos, nice-to-haves, and compelling extras you need to make the most of the community you build around your business. By the end of this class, you’ll have a plan for making community-building an integral part of your marketing strategy—and always knowing where your next customer will come from.

Tara will cover:

  • Simple ways to generate community without a group or forum
  • Why and how to level up into a dedicated space for your business’s community
  • How to create a clear reason Why for joining or participating in your community
  • The systems and procedures you’ll need to manage the workload
  • How to avoid community management burnout
  • How to plan to earn more through your community—whether that’s through charging for membership, selling add-on offers, or generating more word of mouth marketing

Stop waiting for your next customer to come to you and start building a community that brings new business your way every day. 

Reviews

Ayelet Marinovich
 

This class was exactly what I needed. It clarified, confirmed, and connected SO MANY more of the remaining dots for me. Tara, as always, is brilliant, energetic and a general joy to watch as she shares her immense knowledge and helps others get to "the nitty gritty" - thank you Tara, and thank you Creative Live!!

a Creativelive Student
 

Like I said on air... "Wow!" I've been building an online community for about 4 years now, based on what I thought I wanted to my business to be. Now I realize the value of creating a community around my VISION, then building the business based around the community needs and values. What I thought: 1) What people needed from me was my expertise. 2) Members will naturally bond with and engage with one another based on their shared interests and needs. What I learned from Tara: 1) Members rely on me to FACILITATE conversation and sharing. 2) It's my role to be the a connector and mediator. Tara has an amazing presence on stage and is super skilled at drawing out your vision as a business owner/entrepreneur. She makes community building easy to understand. I'll definitely be watching more of her courses. This one alone has changed the way I think about my business and my plan for building in monetization and community building.

user-381fc4
 

I went from a vague idea of wanting to build a community to having a clear path to take to start building it. I appreciated the focus on the member vs the business model. Tara presented a clear path for creating the plan first, from vision and purpose to creating the experience for community members, to helping members take the journey to how to monetize in many different ways. My brain is full and I'm excited to take action and launch a community that consolidates my current varied business offers. The presentation was thoughtful and well presented. Excellent and highly recommended.