You could build a community around your idea or company. Starbucks, Apple and others have a loyal following, but replicating that kind of success should never be the goal. Success can be measured without comparison. The companies named above have built their long-term success on a series of smaller successes. It takes time to build a community that offers members a sense of belonging. That’s the sort of thing that money can’t buy without time. However, time can build a community without money. Is there a faster way to build a community?
Let’s back up for a sec. It’s hard enough to build a community from scratch, but who says you have to start at ground zero. Another community building approach is to start with an existing community that you are genuinely interested in and become a part of it. Learn the culture and be an authentic member while you’re at it. Align yourself with enthusiasts in the community. Forget about your product or service for a second and really dive into the culture.
Once you understand what drives a group of people to come together to form a collective definition; one in which they are all proud of, that’s when you can start thinking product, service or idea.
Is there a way for your current products to align with the community? If not, what could you build that would improve the lives of members? Don’t forget, you’re a member too. Once you’re an authentic member you should be able to answer questions and offer solutions that truly align with the community, not just sell things for a profit.
You’re not building a community from scratch. You’re joining a community that interests you and making it better with your ideas, products or services. With the perspective of a true insider you’ll be able to anticipate needs before they happen.
Other ways to build communities without starting from nothing are to link two or more communities, grow the community as a whole, or even build niche communities inside the larger one. The best way to build is to start organically and to take your time, but when that’s really not an option, try some of these methods.
It all starts with an introspective look at what you’re passionate about. That’s how blogging works. That’s how social networks work. That’s how off line communities work. You’re either a passionate insider or a curious outsider. Which one are you?