Updated: Aug 13, 2019
Unfortunately what has become of the word Entrepreneur is this. (watch it, it's really funny).
Unfortunately what is becoming of the word Community, is much of the same. Everyone has a community, is building a community, the value of their business is the loyalty of their community.
First let's have a look at what the word community has meant in history.
A) public spirit, shared in common
B) a number of people associated together by the fact of residence in the same locality
C) friendly intercourse; courtesy, condescension, affability
D) a noun of quality ... meaning 'fellowship, community of relations or feelings
E) a society, a division of people
In the context of this post, the issue is that when people begin to assign value to having a community as an asset of their business I've found in almost no circumstances that a community is anything more than a group of customers thrown together. Thus, businesses put large faith in the community behind them, but when shit hits the fan less than 1% of them will 'turn up'.
The most common association in business to any of the points above is really 'friendly intercourse'.
A) If there truly was a public spirit - people would actually pitch in
B) In most instances people travel to the community commonground
D) It only seems to be true in America and forced in some other countries around fellow/true followship
E) Normally only works for Elitist or underprivileged - most privileged people don't care enough
Co-working spaces speak about community - however 99% of the time if you offered customers a nicer office at a lower rate they would change as soon as possible.
Social enterprises speak about community - however when your invoices aren't being paid and you are using credit cards to travel to the Great Barrier Reef to launch the product for your community, no-one cares to help.
For purpose businesses do equity crowd funding - but 50% of what is committed turns up and the people that commit do it for 100% selfish reasons. (generally)
You catch the drift. And know I am reaching here - but what then is the point of your 'community' if they aren't 100% loyal to you, or giving you constant referals etc. which are the things you truly want as a business owner. (or at least I did)
What do you need/ can expect community for as a business?
Loneliness - working from home/ in a large but empty office isn't great for positivity
Resourcefulness - if you can lean over and ask someone something instead of having to scale Google for it, you can get things done faster
Entertainment - end-of-month drinks etc.
What do you need/ can expect community for as a business owner?
Testing - having quick and reliable access to people willing to give you candid feedback for improvements
Social justification/ amplification - photo's/video's look better with people in them, people attract people and testimonials work
If you are asking for any more from a customer or business owner in terms of community, than it's pretty unlikely you are going to be satisfied.
I do still feel strongly about the word because of my history with LT2. Our first space that we had, when it was <100 of us - everyone that was part of it could agree - was the bomb.
In original LT2's (HQ) terms.
A) public spirit, shared in common - I don't remember cleaning up the place on my own, we had community comedy nights the list goes on
B) a number of people associated together by the fact of residence in the same locality - everyone was somewhat near SpringHill - who wants to be in SpringHill?
C) friendly intercourse; courtesy, condescension, affability - tick
D) a noun of quality ... meaning 'fellowship, community of relations or feelings - not sure
E) a society, a division of people - we were the underdogs and the outsider creatives
How did it work for us at the outset?
My belief was that there was a sense of ownership.
How did we instilled ownership? (my guesses are)
- The place was pretty old and busted, so if you didn't pitch in - it could quickly become a dump
- The expectation was set that the internet cuts out etc.
- Every day the same people turned up and sat in the same spot
- We spoke about and felt like being the underdogs/outsiders
- We kept it small enough that you actually could know everyone deeply
- The story about the place gave the feeling of caring, community and honor for good
What ruined it?
Greed, trying to scale.
Can you maintain a 'community' beyond 120 people, I'm 100% sure you can't and that's why I believe businesses should attempt to segregate communities or clusters of customers from each-other to maintain that level of familiarity.
I'm attempting to start grass-roots and my place of work (it's not actually mine) to attract like-minded people (maxing out at 120 people of-course).
If you are someone like my description below, reach out - we're going to create an amazing atmosphere and dare-say-it community once again.
- Technology leveraged business
- Enjoys whiskey or wine and long deep challenging conversations
- Willing to pitch in to help others over-and-above
- Wants to turn up to events and gatherings
- Will take time to meet and get-to-know the others in the place
- Wants a professional place to work
- Focusses on quality rather than quantity of work
Message me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
*P.s all of my posts are first drafts, my researcher will buff them out — so make sure to write in and ask for extensions or explanations if you are interested.