“Alone, we can do so little…. Together we can do so much”.
When starting a business 6 years ago, I for one found it difficult to accept that I couldn’t do EVERYTHING myself. As time went on, and I tried to do everything from the admin, to the finances, the marketing and the sales to the management of client work…. It was all-consuming.
Most of the time the simple reason for trying to juggle it all (above stubbornness) was trying to control spend.
But there comes a time when, to grow, you simply must let others in… to share your pressures, share your experiences, and get insights into how other people are managing their business – and even better if they are doing better than you!
Community is so important for small businesses, and here’s the top 8 reasons this is the case:
Be in business FOR yourself, but not BY yourself. Belonging to a community that is on the same path as you is a great feeling; part of a unique group of people that have the same challenges as you, but will also be there to celebrate successes and help you wade through the mud when it gets tough.
2. PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL GROWTH
As a life-long learner, I have a strong belief that we must never cease to look for opportunities to learn if we are to grow. A like-minded community supports your growth, and you can also support theirs – tapping into each other’s knowledge, experiences and ideas. It can be very rewarding when you’re able to provide this type of support to others, without expectation, and wonderful when you receive it back.
3. KNOW, LIKE AND TRUST
People listen to…. Buy from…. Refer to…. people that they know, like and trust. And to be trusted is one of the greatest compliments. Good communities develop this trust in abundance, with meaningful relationships. And it also empowers you to trust yourself too!
4. WELLBEING & ISOLATION
Working alone can feel deeply isolating and can have adverse effects on one’s wellbeing and ability to keep up momentum. I remember this well, before the days of having an office and a wonderful team. Whilst it is often the case that we need to work alone, when we know we have access to a community of others in business, whether online or in the ‘real world’, it gives that sounding board, that comradery, and that sense that you are ‘propped up’ by a force greater than just yourself.
5. SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS
There is nothing more satisfying than when you manage to get that client or customer you’ve been working on for some time…. when you’ve pressed send on that email campaign…. When you’ve recruited your first member of staff…. When you’ve had your biggest month of sales EVER…. BUT – when there’s no one to share this news with, it’s a shame. Why? Because great business people are INSPIRED by success – and by sharing successes, it gives others a spring in their step and a rocket up their bottom to go on and create their own successes….. to finish that sales email they started…. To make that sales call they’ve been putting off… To apply for that award they considered last year….
Communities that share successes and encourage each other are the best kind!
6. PEOPLE ARE BETTER THAN YOU
I am part of a number of business communities, as well as heading up a community myself, along with my business partner. I take my role in that community very seriously, so that I am able to provide the very best support and guidance to those within it – and that requires me to stay on top of my game and continue to learn and evolve. So when it comes to communities that I have chosen to be part of, I have gone to great lengths to find one that puts me in a position of NOT being the smartest or most knowledgeable one in the room! Why? I want to surround myself with people that know MORE than I do; that I can learn from and gain from their more powerful wisdom and experience. It’s an incredible journey to be on.
When two or more heads are put to work, they can bring about a whole new view… a “Master Mind” of original ideas, possibilities and collective intelligence. This is the beauty of a community that supports and trusts each other, and each plays the role of a trusted advisor to the others; helping them to think bigger than ever before.
Great communities are full of friendships, that naturally develop. And friendships are an important part of our everyday life as humans… reminding you of your strengths and your purpose, whilst raising you up when you are discouraged, disappointed or defeated. Even better when there’s a vino or two involved!
So I am sure you can think of your very own reasons why you want to be part of a community, or are part of a community – whatever shape that takes.