How to Start a Community Center
Starting a community center can be very profitable. With proper planning, execution and hard work, you can enjoy great success. Below you will learn the keys to launching a successful community center.
Importantly, a critical step in starting a community center is to complete your business plan. To help you out, you should download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template here .
Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here
14 Steps To Start a Community Center :
- Choose the Name for Your Community Center
- Develop Your Community Center Plan
- Choose the Legal Structure for Your Community Center
- Secure Startup Funding for Your Community Center (If Needed)
- Secure a Location for Your Business
- Register Your Community Center with the IRS
- Open a Business Bank Account
- Get a Business Credit Card
- Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
- Get Business Insurance for Your Community Center
- Buy or Lease the Right Community Center Equipment
- Develop Your Community Center Marketing Materials
- Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Community Center
- Open for Business
1. Choose the Name for Your Community Center
The first step to starting a community center is to choose your business’ name.
This is a very important choice since your company name is your brand and will last for the lifetime of your business. Ideally you choose a name that is meaningful and memorable. Here are some tips for choosing a name for your new community center:
- Make sure the name is available . Check your desired name against trademark databases and your state’s list of registered business names to see if it’s available. Also check to see if a suitable domain name is available.
- Keep it simple . The best names are usually ones that are easy to remember, pronounce and spell.
- Think about marketing . Come up with a name that reflects the desired brand and/or focus of your community center.
2. Develop Your Community Center Plan
One of the most important steps in starting a community center is to develop your business plan. The process of creating your plan ensures that you fully understand your market and your business strategy. The plan also provides you with a roadmap to follow and if needed, to present to private or public funding sources to raise capital for your business.
Your business plan should include the following sections:
- Executive Summary – this section should summarize your entire business plan so readers can quickly understand the key details of your community center.
- Company Overview – this section tells the reader about the history of your community center and what type of community center you operate. For example, are you a recreational, senior citizen, multicultural, or youth community center?
- Industry Analysis – here you will document key information about the community center industry. Conduct market research and document how big the industry is and what trends are affecting it.
- Customer Analysis – in this section, you will document who your ideal or target customers are and their demographics. For example, how old are they? Where do they live? What do they find important when purchasing services like the ones you will offer?
- Competitive Analysis – here you will document the key direct and indirect competitors you will face and how you will build competitive advantage.
- Marketing Plan – your marketing plan should address the 4Ps: Product, Price, Promotions and Place.
- Product : Determine and document what products/services you will offer
- Prices : Document the prices of your products/services
- Place : Where will your business be located and how will that location help you increase sales?
- Promotions : What promotional methods will you use to attract customers to your community center? For example, you might decide to use pay-per-click advertising, public relations, search engine optimization and/or social media marketing.
- Operations Plan – here you will determine the key processes you will need to run your day-to-day operations. You will also determine your staffing needs. Finally, in this section of your plan, you will create a projected growth timeline showing the milestones you hope to achieve in the coming years.
- Management Team – this section details the background of your company’s management team.
- Financial Plan – finally, the financial plan answers questions including the following:
- What startup costs will you incur?
- How will your community center make money?
- What are your projected sales and expenses for the next five years?
- Do you need to raise funding to launch your business?
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3. choose the legal structure for your community center.
Next you need to choose a legal structure for your community center and register it and your business name with the Secretary of State in each state where you operate your business.
Below are the five most common legal structures:
1) Sole proprietorship
A sole proprietorship is a business entity in which the owner of the community center and the business are the same legal person. The owner of a sole proprietorship is responsible for all debts and obligations of the business. There are no formalities required to establish a sole proprietorship, and it is easy to set up and operate. The main advantage of a sole proprietorship is that it is simple and inexpensive to establish. The main disadvantage is that the owner is liable for all debts and obligations of the business.
A partnership is a legal structure that is popular among small businesses. It is an agreement between two or more people who want to start a community center together. The partners share in the profits and losses of the business.
The advantages of a partnership are that it is easy to set up, and the partners share in the profits and losses of the business. The disadvantages of a partnership are that the partners are jointly liable for the debts of the business, and disagreements between partners can be difficult to resolve.
3) Limited Liability Company (LLC)
A limited liability company, or LLC, is a type of business entity that provides limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners of an LLC are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The advantages of an LLC for a community center include flexibility in management, pass-through taxation (avoids double taxation as explained below), and limited personal liability. The disadvantages of an LLC include lack of availability in some states and self-employment taxes.
4) C Corporation
A C Corporation is a business entity that is separate from its owners. It has its own tax ID and can have shareholders. The main advantage of a C Corporation for a community center is that it offers limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The disadvantage is that C Corporations are subject to double taxation. This means that the corporation pays taxes on its profits, and the shareholders also pay taxes on their dividends.
5) S Corporation
An S Corporation is a type of corporation that provides its owners with limited liability protection and allows them to pass their business income through to their personal income tax returns, thus avoiding double taxation. There are several limitations on S Corporations including the number of shareholders they can have among others.
Once you register your community center, your state will send you your official “Articles of Incorporation.” You will need this among other documentation when establishing your banking account (see below). We recommend that you consult an attorney in determining which legal structure is best suited for your company.
4. Secure Startup Funding for Your Community Center (If Needed)
In developing your community center plan, you might have determined that you need to raise funding to launch your business.
If so, the main sources of funding for a community center to consider are personal savings, family and friends, credit card financing, bank loans, crowdfunding and angel investors. Angel investors are individuals who provide capital to early-stage businesses. Angel investors typically will invest in a community center that they believe has high potential for growth.
There are also several grants to start a community center.
5. Secure a Location for Your Business
The best way to find a location for your community center is to evaluate your needs and find a spot that meets those requirements. Consider things like the amount of space you’ll need, the accessibility of the location, and what kind of facilities are available. You can also look for locations that are central to your community or have an existing organization nearby.
Once you’ve identified some possible locations, it’s important to visit the site and take a closer look at the space. This will help you determine if the location is right for your needs. You’ll also want to talk to the property owner or manager to get an idea of what the terms and conditions would be for using the space.
6. Register Your Community Center with the IRS
Next, you need to register your business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which will result in the IRS issuing you an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Most banks will require you to have an EIN in order to open up an account. In addition, in order to hire employees, you will need an EIN since that is how the IRS tracks your payroll tax payments.
Note that if you are a sole proprietor without employees, you generally do not need to get an EIN. Rather, you would use your social security number (instead of your EIN) as your taxpayer identification number.
7. Open a Business Bank Account
It is important to establish a bank account in your community center’ name. This process is fairly simple and involves the following steps:
- Identify and contact the bank you want to use
- Gather and present the required documents (generally include your company’s Articles of Incorporation, driver’s license or passport, and proof of address)
- Complete the bank’s application form and provide all relevant information
- Meet with a banker to discuss your business needs and establish a relationship with them
8. Get a Business Credit Card
You should get a business credit card for your community center to help you separate personal and business expenses.
You can either apply for a business credit card through your bank or apply for one through a credit card company.
When you’re applying for a business credit card, you’ll need to provide some information about your business. This includes the name of your business, the address of your business, and the type of business you’re running. You’ll also need to provide some information about yourself, including your name, Social Security number, and date of birth.
Once you’ve been approved for a business credit card, you’ll be able to use it to make purchases for your business. You can also use it to build your credit history which could be very important in securing loans and getting credit lines for your business in the future.
9. Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
You will need to obtain a business license and a zoning permit to start a community center. You may also need to obtain other permits, depending on the nature of your business. For more information, contact your local licensing authority or zoning board.
10. Get Business Insurance for Your Community Center
There are multiple types of insurance you’ll need to run a community center.
Some business insurance policies you should consider for your community center include:
- General liability insurance : This covers accidents and injuries that occur on your property. It also covers damages caused by your employees or products.
- Auto insurance : If a vehicle is used in your business, this type of insurance will cover if a vehicle is damaged or stolen.
- Workers’ compensation insurance : If you have employees, this type of policy works with your general liability policy to protect against workplace injuries and accidents. It also covers medical expenses and lost wages.
- Commercial property insurance : This covers damage to your property caused by fire, theft, or vandalism.
- Business interruption insurance : This covers lost income and expenses if your business is forced to close due to a covered event.
- Professional liability insurance : This protects your business against claims of professional negligence.
Find an insurance agent, tell them about your business and its needs, and they will recommend policies that fit those needs.
11. Buy or Lease the Right Community Center Equipment
The necessary equipment for a community center can vary greatly depending on the size and purpose of the center. However, some essentials include tables and chairs, a sound system, a stage, and possibly kitchen facilities.
12. Develop Your Community Center Marketing Materials
Marketing materials will be required to attract and retain customers to your community center.
The key marketing materials you will need are as follows:
- Logo : Spend some time developing a good logo for your community center. Your logo will be printed on company stationery, business cards, marketing materials and so forth. The right logo can increase customer trust and awareness of your brand.
- Website : Likewise, a professional community center website provides potential customers with information about the services you offer, your company’s history, and contact information. Importantly, remember that the look and feel of your website will affect how customers perceive you.
- Social Media Accounts : establish social media accounts in your company’s name. Accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or other social media networks will help customers and others find and interact with your community center.
13. Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Community Center
To run a community center, you’ll need some essential software. First, you may want to use a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress to create a website for your center. These systems typically include features such as user registration, forums, and blogs that will help people in the community stay informed on the programs available and get the most out of your center. Additionally, you may want to invest in some accounting software to manage the center’s finances and budget.
14. Open for Business
You are now ready to open your community center. If you followed the steps above, you should be in a great position to build a successful business and know everything you need about how to start a recreation center. Below are answers to frequently asked questions that might further help you.
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How to Start a Community Center FAQs
Is it hard to start a community center.
It can be hard to start a community center, but it can also be quite rewarding. There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success:
- Start by researching the different types of community centers and the needs of the local community.
- Make sure your community center location is accessible and welcoming to everyone.
- Develop a clear vision for what you want your community center to achieve.
- Raise funds and get support from local government agencies or other organizations.
- Hire qualified staff and volunteers.
- Promote your community center and get people involved.
How can I start a community center with no experience?
There are many ways to start a community center with no experience. One option is to look into community or religious programs that are already in place and see if there is a way to join or partner with them. You can also check out a non-profit organization in your local community. Another option is to reach out to your local government or Chamber of Commerce and see if there are any grants or funding opportunities available for community center start-ups. Finally, reach out to local businesses and civic organizations to see if they would be interested in partnering with you on your community center project. No matter which route you choose, the most important thing is to get started and to keep moving forward.
What type of community center is most profitable?
There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on a variety of factors, such as the location of the community center and the type of services offered. However, some centers are more profitable than others. For example, a community center that offers child care services can be quite profitable. Additionally, a community center that is located in a high-traffic area is more likely to be profitable than one that is not.
How much does it cost to start a community center?
Starting a community center typically costs between $50,000 and $100,000. However, the cost can vary greatly depending on the size and location of the center, as well as the type of programs offered.
What are the ongoing expenses for a community center?
Some common ongoing expenses for a community center can include rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, necessary repairs and maintenance, staff salaries, and programming costs.
How does a community center make money?
A community center can make money in a few ways: through memberships, donations, fundraising events, and grants. Some community centers also offer classes or rent out space for events.
Is owning a community center profitable?
There are a few reasons owning a community center can be profitable. Community centers can offer classes and workshops that will bring in new customers. Another reason is that community centers can be used as event venues, which can bring in rental income. Finally, community centers can offer space for businesses to operate, which can bring in additional revenue.
Why do community centers fail?
Most community centers fail because they do not generate enough revenue to sustain themselves. Typically, a community center will have to charge membership fees to maintain operations. However, if the community center is not able to attract enough community members, it will eventually have to close. Additionally, many community centers rely on government funding, which can be unreliable. If the government decides to cut funding for a community center, it may have to close its doors. Finally, poor management can lead to the failure of a community center. If the staff is not properly trained or if the center is not run efficiently, it will likely fail.
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Community Center Business Plan
If you are planning to start a new community center, the first thing you will need is a business plan. Use our Northern Park – Community center business plan example created using Upmetrics business plan software to start writing your business plan in no time.
Before you start writing a business plan for your new community center, spend as much time as you can reading through some samples of the community center or nonprofit business plans.
Reading some sample business plans will give you a good idea of what you’re aiming for, and also it will show you the different sections that different entrepreneurs include and the language they use to write about themselves and their business plans.
We have created this sample community center business plan for you to get a good idea about how perfect a community center business plan should look and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan.
Community Center Business Plan Outline
This is the standard community center business plan outline which will cover all important sections that you should include in your business plan.
- Mission Statement
- NPCC Theory & Overview
- History of NPCC
- Moving forward: The Future of NPCC
- Etienne Wenger-Trayner
- Proposed Location & Service Area
- Hours of Operation & Staffing
- Key Strategies
- Research & Development
- Asset Development
- Why now and why NPCC?
- Why we need a youth & Community center
- How local youth & the Community will Benefit from the Center
- Youth Target Market
- Target population
- Advertising & Promotions
- Weekend Events
- Outdoor & Recreation Space
- Creative & Expressive Arts
- Experiential Learning Opportunities
- A Hub for Services
- Check-in Policy
- Youth Center Rules & Agreements
- Social & Environmental Responsibility
- Lynn Skrukrud
- Halli Ellis
- Staffing Matrix
- Assumptions & Projections
- Projected Profit and Loss
- Projected Cash Flow
- Projected Balance Sheet
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After getting started with upmetrics , you can copy this community center business plan example into your business plan and modify the required information and download your community center business plan pdf and doc file . It’s the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.
Download a sample community center business plan
Need help writing your business plan from scratch? Here you go; download our free community center business plan pdf to start.
It’s a modern business plan template specifically designed for your community center business. Use the example business plan as a guide for writing your own.
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17 Business Ideas that Help the Community
Back to Business Ideas Categories
Written by: Esther Strauss
Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.
Edited by: David Lepeska
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on July 29, 2022 Updated on October 2, 2023
Just about everybody wants to live in a warm, welcoming close-knit community, and you can help build one by starting a business that helps people live better, more fulfilling lives. Maybe it’s recycling or daycare, a clinic, a tree farm, or a bookstore.
The location of your business will be crucial — somewhere it will be noticed and make a real impact on the town. Check out our list of strong community-building business ideas to jumpstart your entrepreneurial thinking.
1. Recycling Service
Are you all about going green and saving the environment? Then why not start a recycling business and turn your passion into your livelihood. You could fight climate change, help locals get rid of their waste and make good money all at the same time — now that’s a win-win!
Getting started won’t be cheap, as you’ll need a vehicle to collect and transport the recyclables and a sizable processing facility, as well the appropriate licenses. But you should see a relatively quick return on that initial investment as the US recycling industry is worth billions and growing fast. You’ll just need to decide which types of recyclables you’ll focus on, such as collecting glass to melt down into jars.
Before you dive in, you might want to check the recycling rates for your state, as some states are much more profitable when it comes to recycling.
Do you love spending time with young children? If so, a daycare business could be the perfect venture for you. Busy parents often need childcare services while at work, so you would be providing a crucial service while spending your day with toddlers.
You’ll need to acquire daycare certification, which usually entails a relevant or at least two years caring for children. You’ll also need to find a good-sized space, preferably in a residential area with minimal competition. And you should outfit it with lots of toys, drawing materials, high chairs, cribs, and more, and get yourself some good insurance, because little kids tend to find trouble.
Once all that’s done, you’ll just need an appealing website and a decent marketing campaign, and you’ll be off and running and helping to build a strong community.
3. Non-medical Home Care
As Baby Boomers age and need more daily assistance, the non-medical home care market is growing fast. It’s already worth nearly $300 billion globally and expected to see strong 8% growth in the coming years. If you like helping people, you could start your own home care business and improve people’s lives while also making a good living.
Of course, you’ll need to do a bit of work to get there. First, your state may not require licensing for non-medical home care. Check with your state for details. If you don’t need a license, it’s still a good idea to get a bit of training, even from an online platform like Care Academy.
Next, your business will definitely need reliable insurance in the event of any incidents, so be sure to get that. Finally, just register your business and start offering your services on home care platforms and services sites like Angie’s List. With a bit of luck, determination, and strong marketing, you’ll be caring for people in no time, and building a strong community and a successful business.
Do you love reading? If so, opening your own bookshop could be a great way to encourage reading in your community while making a living doing what you love. Even in the age of Amazon and e-books, independent bookstores have been making a comeback, increasing by more than half in recent years, to 2,5000 in the US alone. People have begun to appreciate bookstores not only as a good place to buy a new book, but as a community gathering place and event space.
You’ll need to find a great location, and build a sizable inventory of books, with your selections based on your personal tastes and preferences. You’ll also need to decide what other products you might offer — literary knickknacks, coffee and snacks, reading accessories? Beyond that, it’s relatively easy to get started. And if you do it right, the customers will surely come, and keep coming back.
5. Farmers’ Market
Every community needs a great farmers’ market to boost local diets and local producers. So why not start your own farmers’ market? It’s a great way to begin your entrepreneurial journey and promote a healthy and nutritious diet. You’ll also be helping local farmers earn bigger profits by giving them a venue to sell their produce directly to consumers and eliminating the middlemen.
The number of farmers markets has been increasing. As of 2019, there were more than 8,000 farmers markets across the US, based on the National Farmers Market Managers survey. Some markets sell only fresh fruits and vegetables while others also carry meat, eggs, baked goods, dairy products, and flowers.
First, it’s important to link up with the local farmers. It’s easy to find them; just ask the US Department of Agriculture for a list of farmers in your area. It’s also important to find a big area. If you plan this carefully, your farmers market can be very rewarding.
Starting a clinic can be a fantastic way to help people in your community, boost your reputation and build a career. It’s a fast growing US industry, driven by an aging population. Total spending on physician and clinical services exceeded $800 billion in 2020. Even retailers are building walk-in clinics to provide convenience to customers.
The first step in starting your clinic is to choose a niche. Will you focus on urgent care, or primary and preventive care? Is it going to be a mobile clinic? Who is your target market? You will find the answers to these questions as you do your research. Make sure to comply with licensing and insurance requirements. You will also need to be innovative in marketing your services to reach more prospective patients and achieve success.
7. Handyman Business
If you’re good with your hands and enjoy fixing things, starting a handyman business could be a smart move. For one thing, you’ll be doing what you love and taking care of people’s problems. For another, the US handyman industry has been growing steadily for years, and by 2026 the broader home services market is expected to double! So there’s clearly a real opportunity out there.
A key first step will be determining which services you will offer. In addition to repairs , you could offer maintenance, painting, cleaning, drywall, carpentry, minor renovations and more. Read about the handyman business opportunities here . Next, buy all the necessary tools and start advertising your services on online platforms like Angie’s List.
You could also reach out to landlords, developers and residential complexes offering to provide your services at a discount. Once you’ve delivered great work in your first few jobs, you can bump up your rates. With any luck, you’ll soon be helping the whole community live more comfortably.
8. Dollar Store
Think all dollar stores are the same? You might be surprised just how many different types there are. From party supply to variety stores, there’s a dollar store out there for everyone. So, if you’re thinking about starting your own dollar store, what are you waiting for? Dollar and variety stores were on an upward trend before the pandemic, growing more than 3% per year. With consumers becoming more price conscious, dollar stores are expected to thrive again now that restrictions have been lifted.
Starting your own dollar store business can be fun. But how to go about it? You might consider a niche to differentiate your business. You can set up a small convenience store, a do-it-yourself shop or a bookstore. You can start by buying products from other dollar stores and reselling them. An option is to start as an online retailer, and use your website and social media accounts as your storefront.
The US crowdfunding market is projected to be stable in the next five years, reaching nearly $580 million by 2026. So why not start your own crowdfunding business?
Get started by developing a website that will enable interaction between those looking to raise funds and those looking to donate. Through this crowdfunding platform, the crowd may make financial pledges to support a startup or help someone in need. Among the more popular crowdfunding platforms are Kickstarter, Patreon, GoFundMe and Indiegogo.
You could review them to inform your site and decide what kind of platform you’ll create. You could set up an equity-based crowdfunding platform and help raise capital for startups while providing investors a financial return. Regulated crowdfunding is also equity-based, but is regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission because it deals with securities.
10. Grocery Delivery
Global online grocery delivery sales have grown almost 30% since the pandemic began. This stellar performance is expected to continue through 2024 as a lot of people continue to stay or work from home even with the lifting of protective measures. With online grocery shopping, consumers no longer have to spend time queuing in supermarkets. They simply browse through a retailer’s website or app, shop and check out, pay for the items online, and have these delivered right to their doorstep.
If you’re thinking of starting a grocery delivery business, now’s the time to do it. You have at least three options: operate your own delivery service, work with a franchise, or sign up with an established retailer. Consider carefully the pros and cons of each option before deciding on which business model to choose. Assess the competition as well and identify possible clients if you’re going to give it a go on your own. Whatever your decision is, plenty of opportunities await.
11. Tree Farm
Growing trees helps fight climate change. But did you know it’s also a great way to earn money? The $6 billion tree and shrub farming industry in the US is already bouncing back from the pandemic. An increase in housing starts and rising demand for food products will drive growth in the next three years. Trees take a long time to grow, so it’s best to start your tree farm business now.
You can start small and establish a tree farm within your property, or you can go all in and purchase or lease acreage for a larger operation. Among the ways to earn from your tree farm business is to focus on high-value fruit trees. Another is to select trees that produce specialty wood for furniture or fiber for clothing. You can also establish a nursery and sell tree seedlings. By choosing the right trees and promoting your tree farm business, you can make a fortune in farming.
12. Car Repair Shop
At least 70 million US vehicles are more than 15 years old and in need to repairs. This means growth opportunities for car repair shops across the country. If you’re looking to start a car repair shop, now is the time to do it. The US automotive repair industry has seen steady growth and is predicted to earn nearly $60 billion by 2024.
One of the challenges to starting a car repair shop is the high startup cost. You’ll need to invest in some tools and equipment like hydraulic lift, diagnostic machine, air compressor, jack and jack stands, and more. You’ll also need to undergo training in auto service and repair, a prerequisite for a National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. This certification will give you an advantage and make it easier for you to obtain liability insurance and find financing. With proper training and a lot of hard work, you should be able to give your community better, safer vehicles.
13. Home Building
Starting a home building business is no walk in the park. There are many hurdles to jump, and it takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to make it happen. One of the most important elements for any potential builder is finding the right land for development.
You have some options on that count. You can purchase land that has already been developed or will soon be developed. Or you could buy undeveloped land that is more affordable but may require more work on your part before it’s ready for construction.
The important thing is that, before you start building, you make sure your business has all the required licenses and permits and complies with all regulations. Then you can start giving your community gorgeous homes that boost families and property values.
People everywhere need their meds! Of course, US drug store revenue increased during the pandemic, growing a steady 3% annually since 2017. The industry is expected to grow further and surpass $350 billion in 2022 as the aging US population boosts demand for prescription drugs and other maintenance medications. If you’re a licensed pharmacist, this could be your opportunity to set up your own business and start a pharmacy.
It’s important to find a good location and reliable suppliers of medicines before you get started. It’s also a good idea to scope out the market and see what existing pharmacies are offering so you can devise ways to make your pharmacy stand out. Some pharmacies offer blood pressure tests, vaccinations, and delivery services. Most carry both branded and generic medicines, which are priced lower, is a wise choice. It’s important to keep these and other trends in mind when you create your marketing strategy. With a lot of hard work and a bit of creativity in promoting your business, your pharmacy will soon be up and running.
15. Life Coaching
If you’re good at helping people navigate major changes in their lives, you might consider becoming a life coach. US demand for life coaching is increasing, with the total number of US life coaches set to exceed 18,000 in 2022 as the economy improves.
A life coach provides counseling services and helps clients explore possibilities in the areas of personal development, financial issues, career path, relationship issues, and more. There is no licensing requirement for life coaching, but it’s to your advantage to obtain certification that will let potential clients know you underwent training.
There are many certifications you can apply for, but the most prestigious is the certification from the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Besides undergoing training, it’s also important to have empathy for your clients. With these, your life coaching business can be truly rewarding as you coach your community toward success!
16. Professional Organizing Service
All of us could use a bit of Marie Kondo now and then, which is why the US home organization market has doubled in the past 15 years to $12 billion and is still seeing steady growth. If you have a knack for organization, you should know that right now is an excellent time to start your own organizing business. You could work from home for a minimal investment and make good money while helping people go from chaos to calm.
Some professional organizers focus on closets, others on garages and storage spaces, while still others focus on at-home workspaces. Some organizers even go corporate and help businesses organize their desk set-up, filing systems and office supplies. It’s important to establish the services you’ll offer before you begin your marketing efforts. Once you know which type of organizing you’d like to do, you could start offering your services on a platform like Angie’s List and start helping people simplify their lives. Ahhh, I feel less stressed already.
17. Botanical Garden
Starting a botanical garden as a business idea presents not only an opportunity for entrepreneurial success but also offers immense benefits to the community. A well-maintained botanical garden can serve as an educational hub, introducing community members to diverse plant species, their uses, and importance in the ecosystem.
Schools and institutions can collaborate for educational tours, workshops, and hands-on experiences, promoting environmental education among students and adults alike. The garden can also offer training sessions on sustainable gardening practices, plant identification, and the importance of biodiversity, thus fostering a community that is more environmentally conscious.
Moreover, botanical gardens offer a serene escape from urban hustle, providing a space for relaxation, meditation, and connection with nature. Such green spaces are known to improve mental health, reduce stress, and promote physical activity.
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- Recycling Service
- Non-medical Home Care
- Farmers' Market
- Handyman Business
- Dollar Store
- Grocery Delivery
- Car Repair Shop
- Home Building
- Life Coaching
- Professional Organizing Service
- Botanical Garden
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Your personal network is more important than ever., the community-building checklist: a quick-start guide.
Building a community might seem like a monumental task. When folks come to us for advice on this, their number one question is always something along the lines of, "Where do I even start?"
The good news, I tell them, is that you likely already have . Those trust-building conversations you've been having with customers or prospects? The events you've hosted around your product or with industry experts? The consistent lines of communication you've kept up via newsletters and blogs? They're all community-building activities, and you've got them down. Now all you need to do is get these people talking to each other in addition to you .
But before bringing everyone together, you need to do a bit of groundwork — a few basic steps to set yourself up for success. I always find it helps to compare building a community to building a product. When you're first starting out, you'll want to get feedback early and often, build with your users, and be transparent to help build trust. Your earliest community members are like early adopters — they're invested in what you're building, have strong opinions, and will help determine how everything evolves (for better or for worse) as your community develops.
You may read this and think, "shoot, my community already is in flight" but fear not — it's never too late to get back to basics and build stronger foundations for your community. Some of these will naturally evolve and should be revisited every now and then too, like your engagement strategy, your community guidelines, and keeping a pulse on happenings in your industry.
So, with that in mind: here's a checklist of everything I'd do to get a new community off the ground.
The Community-Building Checklist
Don't be afraid to experiment and iterate, since all companies and communities are different. The steps below don't necessarily need to be done in this exact order, either (although I do recommend sticking to it where possible). Do things in a way that makes sense for you.
Understand the purpose your community serves.
Why are you taking the time to build this, and why are people going to be interested in what you're building? What business goals does your community serve? Here's some additional guidance on community-market fit .
Align your community values with your business values.
If there's a significant disconnect, you run the risk of community goals not being met, poor adoption, and conflicting priorities. Community members will feel it, and attrition may be high.
Determine how you want members to behave.
Create guidelines/rules/a code of conduct to encourage that behavior (and don't forget your ToS and Privacy Policies!). Create an internal guide for how you will respond to members violating your guidelines.
Create a high-level engagement plan.
This should include things like events, content pieces, newsletters, social media, discussion prompts, rituals (like weekly conversations on a particular topic, check-ins, hangouts, etc.), and opportunities to work with and promote members of the community .
Do industry research.
What communities already exist that are similar to what you're trying to build? Where are they successful? Where are there gaps that you could fill?
Figure out how you want your members to engage.
Do you want people to have synchronous or asynchronous conversations (or both)? Do you want people to write and share long-form content or have casual conversations? This will help you determine what platform(s) you need for your primary community space(s).
Find 10-20 people who represent the type of member you want in your community.
These should be people with whom you already have an established relationship, but if necessary, you can branch out and find others who embody your ideal member. Share your ideas for the community and see what resonates with them. Once you have selected your community platform, invite them and work with them to seed content and conversations. Be sure that they're receiving value in return for their efforts.
Create content your members will care about.
There's a little bit of guesswork that goes into this upfront, but ideally, you'll have at least a rough idea based on the conversations you've been having with potential members. If you can, try and create a good amount of content upfront and seed some of it before members join your community space, and slowly trickle the rest (based on the engagement plan you've already created) while you focus your efforts on other areas of community-building.
Even though you've primed early members of your community to care about what you're building, consistency is critical to build habits and to keep you top of mind. Eventually, you won't have to rely on this as much, but it's important during the early stages. You may get little to no direct engagement on what you are doing, but stick with it and you'll eventually start to see a return on your efforts.
Find your evangelists.
These are people you trust and know you can ask favors of them. If you need some additional participation or someone else to write something for a change, ask them. But be sure not to abuse their kindness, and make sure they're getting something out of putting in the extra effort.
Connect your members.
Make time to facilitate 1:1 or group connections with your early members. You'll need to continue doing this as the community scales, so try and keep track of details about individuals so you can make better, more targeted connections as the community grows. These relationships and intentional connections help form a special stickiness for your community.
Check in at regular intervals when you're first getting things off the ground to make sure that you're headed in the right direction. You should always plan on getting feedback and using that as a basis for iterating, but you can do it less frequently as your community becomes more established and active. Try not to make specific promises about what you will/can do based on the feedback, but do let people know how their responses will impact your thinking and planning even if you can't implement some or all of the recommendations.
More often than not, community building takes time. You may not see a 'return' on your investment within the first few months, maybe longer. It can sometimes feel like shouting into the abyss, and it's also typical for participation or engagement to feel very low from what your expectation may be. Rarely will you find a community that has 80-100% active members — anywhere from 10-50% active membership is totally normal. So perhaps my most important piece of advice? Nurture your community, and give it time to grow. Eventually, you'll start to feel the value your community brings to your entire organization.
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None of this is foolproof and you'll need to play around with what works best for your community and your organization as you start working your way through this list. If you ever feel stuck and don't know what to do, you can always join our community of community pros and get support from people who have been in your shoes at some (or multiple) points in their community-building journey!
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Community Building: Definition & Principles
- What is community building?
- What types of communities exist?
- Why building a Community is vital for your business?
- Building a community: where to start?
- The community building principles you must kow
- Final takeaways
Community Building - Definition
Why Building a Community is vital for your business?
Building a Community: Where to Start?
- First, consider what kind of community you want to create. Certainly, your consideration will begin by determining whether you are building a community of prospects (brand community) or a customer community. But logically, you should already be clear on this matter. It's also worth noting that bringing both together is possible but should be handled with care. Let's discuss it if you still have any doubts on the matter.
- Then, the question is, do you want to build a tight-knit group of like-minded individuals or a more open and inclusive community that welcomes all comers? There's no right or wrong choice here and it depends on what you're hoping to achieve.
- Once you've decided on the type of community you want to build; the next step is to start planning how you'll do it. This includes everything from figuring out where your community will live (online or offline) to what kind of content or activities you'll use to engage members. At MeltingSpot, we have talented experts and incredible resources that will help you succeed in launching your community step by step.
- Building a community takes time, effort, and dedication - but it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. With proper planning and thought, you can create a space that brings people together and helps them achieve amazing things.
- A customer community to enhance your activation and retention.
- A prospect community to generate leads.
- A professional community to digitize your traditionally offline network.
Community Building Principles You Must Know
1. define the purpose of the community, 2. make sure everyone feels welcome, 3. encourage participation from everyone, 4. be open to feedback, 5. celebrate successes together.
Benefits of Community Building
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People are what make a coworking space a business.
This post was written by christine andrews, the owner of toronto-based acme works ..
I opened the doors of Acme Works in June of 2013 and I didn't have a community in place before I launched. The day after I opened, I walked through 9,600 square feet of awesome emptiness. I joked with friends and family that I had the largest office in the city—because I was the only person working at Acme Works.
A great deal has been written about how to build a community before you open, so I’m not going to write about that. I'm going to share my knowledge of how to build the ideal community after you open.
In my opinion, there are three phases to building a coworking community—attract people, curate and trust your membership.
Build Membership Quickly
If you have an empty space or a membership level below the number you require, your first step is to immediately attract members. We’ve all stood outside an empty restaurant deciding not to enter because there is no one else inside. We might be missing out on the best meal ever, but the emptiness of a space that should be filled begs the question, “Why is no one in there?” Coworking spaces are the same. People attract people.
While, in the long term, you don’t want members who are only motivated by low price it’s okay to bring these folks onboard in the early days. Offer deep discounts and free memberships . I did deals with two large teams and offered 75% off . I knew they were unlikely to stay longer than six months, but I brought 15 folks into Acme in my first month of operation that were here every day. These teams attracted others and I started to gain traction.
However, the challenge inherent in this approach is the quality of your membership. If you only attract people motivated by price then they will eventually leave for a less expensive option (both of the teams I incentivized left in favor of cheaper space). Additionally, if they join because they want a deal, and not because they want to be part of a collaborative environment, they will not engage with other members. This will result in minimal interaction and ultimately a high level of churn , as those who want collaboration go elsewhere; therefore, offering deep discounts is a short-term tactic and even while you leverage it you also need to focus on bringing quality members into your community.
Share Your Vision And Be Willing To Say “No!”
This brings us to the second step necessary to curate a healthy community: Ensure all members understand the values of your coworking space. Your narrative has to start with your values and the benefits of community. You are creating the story of your space. If you place community, collaboration and values first and communicate why these are a priority, you will attract members who share your vision. The ability to meet a potential member’s specific physical and budgetary needs are where you begin the conversation, but it’s what you communicate next that will help define your community .
It’s important you share your story with potential members up front. Watch to see how they respond when you speak about community and collaboration. Do they exhibit interest in your members and ask about opportunities to engage professionally and socially with them? If they only ask whether the private offices lock or how many meeting room hours they get take those comments as a cautionary note and talk further to understand if they could be a valuable addition to your community or not.
Once you have a base membership that is contributing revenue and energy to your space you need to learn to say NO to those looking for offices who are not interested in community. It is verydifficult to say “no” when you are at 40% occupancy ; you have empty space and someone willing to pay for it; however, if you don’t begin to curate for quality members then you will continue to experience high rates of churn and you’ll never be able to build the type of community you need for long-term success.
Create Positive, Unexpected Interactions and Trust Your Members
When you have a growing community, and you’re attracting true collaborators, you can make your community self-sustaining. And yes, I’m talking about leaving meeting rooms tidy and emptying the dish washer; but, more importantly, I’m talking about members finding ways to collaborate, support and help each other, share learning and participate in member-initiated activities.
Your number-one priority should be to spend time learning what matters to your members then facilitate unexpected interactions and create opportunities for collaboration. Sometimes I describe my job as talking to people because that is the most important thing I do on a daily basis. It’s how I tell if a member is feeling isolated, needs help with a project, wants to celebrate a success or needs to find focus. Learn how to strengthen your member’s connection to each other through these conversations.
It’s also important to identify and leverage your “Super Members.” Those who love your community, sing its praises to anyone who will listen, and whom you can rely on to take a new member under their wing and facilitate collaboration on their own. Retaining these members is critical because they strengthen and enrich your community.
The final way I discovered how to make my community self-sustaining was to hand them responsibility. The first time I went on vacation I was so worried about what might happen. Would the members follow the rules or would it be mayhem without me? I didn’t have staff , at the time, so I left the members to their own devices. I asked them to respect the rules, treat each other kindly and take care of the space. And guess what? They did. Nothing got broken, no rules were violated, and the daily business of coworking continued. By trusting my members to do the right thing they rewarded my trust and did just that.
Remember, these tactics should not be executed in a linear fashion, you should apply them concurrently. Build your membership quickly. Apply discounting to attract members; but, don’t rely exclusively on this approach as it will work against you in the long term. Curate your community, share your vision, be willing to say “no” and focus on those members who value collaboration . Create positive, unexpected interactions between your members, leverage your super members and learn to trust your community.
Coworking Space Management Guide
A comprehensive guide to help you manage your coworking space.
As part of your coworking space, you need to work to create an online coworking community. While many spaces focus on creating the community in person via things like events, this is not the only aspect of a community. You should also use social media and other online tools to grow the community. With the right types of online community building in place, you do not need to rely on constant community events to build a community.
10 Tips to Build Your Community Online
1. Build a Facebook Group
One of the very first things you should do to grow your coworking community online is to utilize Facebook to your advantage. Make a Facebook group specifically for members of your coworking space, which is separate from your coworking space’s Facebook page. This will let members interact whenever they want. You can encourage members to share milestones and news, as well.
2. Leverage on Other Coworking Facebook Groups
Your community-growing strategies for coworking do not need to center around your particular space. Consider joining some of the national and international Facebook groups dedicated to coworking, such as Coworking Worldwide. This will let you join an existing community of those who love coworking. Joining a coworking group will help you stay up to date on trends and news and get advice.
3. Make an Instagram Account and Hashtag
Your online coworking community should also include Instagram, allowing members to visually share experiences. While you cannot make a coworking group on Instagram, you can create an official account for your coworking space and use it to follow members and encourage them to follow you. Most importantly, create a hashtag or set of hashtags so members can easily share images of the space or even of their lives with each other.
4. Use Twitter
Your coworking online community should also include Twitter, as this is among the most popular social media platforms. Your approach to using Twitter will be similar to that of Instagram, although the content will be different. Be sure to create a hashtag for your coworking space.
5. Introduce New Members
One of the important aspects of a coworking community is ensuring that everyone knows all the other members. To help with this, take the time to introduce new members via your social media pages. This will help new members get acclimated and meet new people.
6. Hold Member Takeovers of Social Media Pages
To make social media pages feel like an expansion of your community, consider letting members take over the account for a few days or a week. This is particularly useful on visual platforms like Instagram, as it lets members share their perspective in a way that engages the rest of the community.
7. Use a Messenger System
Depending on your space, you may want to also offer some sort of instant messaging service where members can chat with each other in real-time, whether in the office or out of the office. This can help members feel connected to each other even when they have no physical interactions. This includes Slack channels, Whatsapp groups, Telegram groups and so on.
8. Encourage Online Partnerships with Local Businesses
When it comes time to set up your online community for coworking, consider partnering with local businesses and other coworking spaces . Pick a few in your community that have a strong reputation and work out a partnership where you each make posts supporting the other or even collaboration posts.
9. Don’t Overlook Any Social Media Platform
When it comes to creating your online coworking community, do not overlook any social media platform and listen to what your members want. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and more, provided you can keep them updated and they will add to your community.
10. Join the Coworking Google Group
While Google does not get too much attention in terms of social media, the Coworking Google Group is a must-join for any space looking to enhance its community. This group is filled with advice for newcomers and veterans in the world of coworking. It is also a simple way to join an already-existing online coworking community.
Coworking Business Plan Checklist
Event, Workshops and More
Nurturing a community is a key part of your coworking space. Before you ever open, start working to create that feeling of a coworking community with events, then, open the space when it is still just partially occupied. Continue consistently engaging the members to ensure that people still feel in touch with each other. With a sense of community, people are more likely to become members or continue their memberships. To nurture your community, be sure to plan coworking events and workshops.
Tips to Nurture a Community
Have an opening event.
Start your coworking space off on the right foot with a launch or opening event of some sort. At the very least, plan an open house so people can see your space before you open, which will encourage new memberships. You might also want to get community attention with events that will be useful to future members, such as networking or coworking workshops. At these preopening events, be sure to include a signup list, so you can gather the contact information of people who are interested in your space.
Lunch and Learn
Consider planning coworking workshops , such as lunch-and-learn sessions. During these, have a different member of the coworking community share their advice. This is a way for members to feel as if they get to share their expertise while everyone learns. If you supply the lunch, everyone will feel encouraged to attend and expand their skillset or just make new connections.
Supplement the member-led lunch workshops with the occasional guest host to keep things interesting. Gauge the interest of your members to see what combination of coworking-related skills to non-relevant skills should be the topic, such as networking vs. learning some origami. You also can get inspiration from national coworking events.
Need to learn more than how to nurture a community? We tips on how to make an effective coworking business plan here.
Many people who choose to use coworking spaces do so as part of their networking efforts. Take this to the next level by incorporating coworking events that have the goal of networking. The perfect example is speed networking events that you announce within the coworking space and the area as a whole. Consider giving each networking event a theme, such as a specific industry, so members can make useful connections. Mix these with general speed networking to promote any useful connections.
Evening Happy Hours
To create that sense of a coworking community, do not make every single coworking event about work; include some that are purely for fun. The perfect example would be a weekly happy hour after normal work hours. Decide what drinks will be served or if members should bring their own drinks, and give each week a theme. The idea is for members to associate the community and space with fun as well as productivity.
Free-Pass Events or Open Houses
In addition to an open house before you launch your coworking space, continue the community outreach with open houses every once in a while. This can be an event that takes place after your peak hours to show potential members the space. Or it can include a limited number of free passes (with required registration) on a set day of the month or even once a week.
Coworking Guides and Resources
Get free access to our best coworking guides.
Meredith Wheeler, the founder of Sesh Coworking, a women-only coworking group in Houston, Texas, shares her experience building a coworking community first, then locating a physical space. Wheeler began her coworking community over a year ago and is planning to open the physical space in 2019. You can read our previous article about women in coworking, which features Sesh, here .
When others in the coworking industry learn about my model, Community First, Space Second, they all give me the look. It’s the look that says, “You’re doing it backwards.” Most spaces function on the model of open the space first, find the community to fill it later . In my opinion, however, this is not the best way to build a healthy, sustainable, long-term coworking business. In fact, the space first model can make it even harder to keep your new coworking business afloat.
Come on over to the darkside and let me show you why building your community before your space is the way to go.
1. The statistics support the model
You’re building a business and numbers matter. Throwing caution to the wind and beginning a business without a solid foundation of statistical evidence is a poor way to start. By examining the numbers, we can learn more about our future community and their needs.
According to a variety of studies, by Harvard Business Review , 89 percent of coworkers report feeling happier and 83 percent report they feel less lonely. Eighty percent of coworkers also report that when in times of need or guidance, they turn to their fellow coworkers. Sixty-four percent say their coworking network has been a critical source of work and business referrals. These are simply a few statistics of many that prove just how integral a strong community is for a successful coworking operation.
2. If your mission is people first, then you need to begin that way
When you tell your members they come first, you need to show it. Customer service and positive customer interaction can make or break any business in the service industry—don’t let your coworking business be one of them. Encourage your community’s strength and growth through events, both large and intimate, by asking what your members need and listening to their answers and forging connections between members with similitude.
Here at Sesh Coworking, I plan a variety of events monthly, many at the suggestions and requests of the members. We hold our events in various places across the city of Houston, from coffee shops to restaurants to women-owned businesses. Listening to what the members of the group need helps create trust between myself, as the founder, and the members.
3. The cheapest and most accurate test market.
By creating a coworking community, you are essentially building your test market. Your community’s involvement in frequency and strength will help you determine the viability of your coworking concept prior to a large investment into a space. It costs little to nothing to start a group on social media and meet at a coffee shop. Find out who is returning, time and time again, to the events to better define your ideal demographics. Where do most of the people in your community live? What do they do? What type of work hours do they typically keep in a week? This is all critical information you no longer have to theorize—you will be gathering actual data from people genuinely interested in your coworking space.
4. Community is why people keep coming back
You never hear coworkers say “I’m just here for that killer kitchenette.” Of course there are important aspects to the layout and amenities of the space that make it resonate more with your members than other spaces. But let’s face it, in Houston, where Sesh is located, we have lots of options for coworking. All of the coworking locations are going to have copiers, mail receival and private phone areas.
What’s really going to keep your members at your space for the long haul is the culture and strength of your community. People want to work alongside like-minded individuals that inspire, motivate and support. Most people enjoy forging new friendships and business relationships with those around them. The more friends and business contacts they have at a location, the less likely they’ll want to leave.
5. Meeting the founder or owner inspires people to join your space.
Members want to meet you and know you. Many will feel inspired by your mission and path to entrepreneurship. Afterall, many members are out there pushing their own business plans forward and feeling connected to you, as the owner, increases their ties to your business and mission.
6. The community can help you fund your space.
As I noted before, funding a space is quite an investment. For someone like myself, a mother of two young children and a first time entrepreneur, funding can appear to be an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be when you have a community by your side. Create a pre-sale special for your coworking space and offer it to your members before your doors open. This alone can provide you with a good portion of capital.
You can also host fundraising events, workshops, educational programming, silent auctions and social events for your group. Be transparent and tell the ticket purchasers exactly what the money is going towards. You may be surprised by how many extra tickets you sell.
7. The community will help shape and design the physical space and its offerings.
Planning and designing a coworking space is quite a nuanced process. What physical areas within the space do your members need? Client meeting areas? How many conference spaces? What type of design resonates with your membership base? Again as mentioned before in terms of test market, allow your community to share their ideas and needs. Your space design should include more than just your own perspective - the input from your members is vital.
This also works the other way around as well. As a new entrepreneur, the idea of creating a space has at times felt daunting, but through the community, I have discovered and connected with more support than I ever could have dreamed. I connected with both my broker and architect through the community as well as many other business owners and MBA holders who have offered indispensable advice and guidance along the way.
8. You will have a built-in community ready to move-in when you open your doors.
The more ideal members you can get in your space early the better! You’ve spent time building trust, confidence and experiences with your community. You’ve listened to their needs and created a supportive space for them to grow both in their businesses and lives. The sense of community you have created will continue evolve in your coworking space leading your business to a successful, sustainable future.
‘Community Manager’ has become somewhat of a buzzword on the internet. It means someone who is responsible for the wellbeing of people within his or her ‘community’, be it online or in our case, in a shared workspace. Seems like a pretty innocuous title, right? What is there really to say on the topic? Treat people well, foster positive environments, and make sure everyone feels as you would want to feel in a shared workplace, welcome, productive and happy.
In fact, there is quite a lot to say on the matter. There are so many things that go into making an effective community manager, and it’s a role whose importance cannot be emphasized enough. We’ve put them into a neat list for you and even if some of it might sound self-explanatory it's is always worth a read as a refresher to make sure you are being an effective and respected community manager.
It's All About Communicating
As a coworking community manager, your job is mostly about ensuring people have the chance to hear and be heard. You need to place emphasis on cultivating an open, communicative culture . Your communication is the difference between an average community workspace and a healthy workspace which empowers its members.
Draw People In
As a community manager of a coworking workspace, your clientele consists of your current members but also extends to potential members. By making your current members feel welcome and empowered, they will spread the word about your coworking space, intriguing friends and colleagues. In addition, by creating a sparkling, easy-to-use website with great SEO and CRM software , which is kept updated and highlights the benefits of your community workspace through pictures, testimonials, and plain old facts, potential members can find your site easily and you’ll see the tour and booking requests streaming in!
And Then Keep Them Happy
As a committed community manager of a shared workplace, your main role is focusing on all your members, from retaining those who have been there for a while and inducing new members. As a manager, it is your task to ensure that all members - new and old - are content. Get constant feedback, take advice, look for ways to make members more comfortable. Clientele retention is important, and as long as you have a welcoming smile and are always receptive, your members will feel at ease and be comfortable in their workspace. Also, as a manager, make sure you are happy and are provided with all the resources you need in order to run an effective workspace. A happy manager leads to happy members .
This may seem like an obvious one, but organization cannot be stressed enough. From simple tasks such as ensuring that coffee, milk, and snacks are always in supply to making sure that the printers are working, to the way you choose to organize the actual space, a neat and orderly workspace will reflect positively on your management. Keeping track of members’ and the workspace’s progress and sharing it with your members shows great organizational skills and also helps to keep members motivated and happy.
With the surging popularity of coworking spaces, how can you make sure your space stands out? Being passive is one of the biggest mistakes of a community manager. In fact, its detrimental to the entire coworking space. Be the community manager who is always looking for new and exciting ways to improve the workspace, from organizing unique social events and collaborative ideas to thinking up new ways to create a more comfortable workspace which is conducive to creativity and productivity.
Refresh to Stay On Top of Your Game!
To sum it all up, communicate with your community members, make sure everyone has the opportunity to be heard. Organize events and facilitate members bonding. Always look for ways to improve and grow. Be supportive of peoples problems, be open to their comments and complaints, and even if you don’t know how to fix them, show that you care and remember, passion, bring the fire, inspire people. Make these your mantra, and you will not be a good community manager, rather a great one!
When figuring out a proper business plan for your coworking space, numerous founders are hesitant to choose between different options. Other than business opportunities, this includes deciding what type of shared workspace you are building, the office culture you want and the experience that will retain your members. Here are some useful tips for you to consider before you make the final decision.
Firstly, there are a few ways how shared spaces make money. You should investigate them all, including the primary and secondary revenue sources. This will help you to understand how to make a profit even if your business does not become successful right from the beginning. It is not easy to start a coworking business and earn much revenue if you are unsure of what exactly might bring you money. This is especially important in case your primary income sources do not work.
Profit is not the main motivation for many coworking businesses. The most successful ones are driven by the passion their founders want to share! They usually have a community-centered mindset and are guided by a certain mission. Read these tips to make sure you're fully ready to start a coworking business.
Two Kinds of Coworking Cultures You Can Adopt
Many startups are born and survive because they pursue the goals other than gaining revenue. Their mission comes first, and these startups are usually community-based setups. Office culture is important because a lean team needs to understand each other in order to make things work fast. In this case, a coworking space is usually built to serve the needs of a particular community. Uniting its members under the same roof empowers such communities and makes their members fulfill their great potential.
For instance,The Wing is a community-based setup which is rooted in the women’s club movement. Such movement began in the late 19th century by the women who had a feminist mindset and wanted to support each other and reach independence.
Today, female employees still need support because they often fall victims of sexual harassment at work. This is why female entrepreneurs adore The Wing’s coworking space business model ! It was open in 2016 and lets only female members in.
This project received over $40 million from the investors who were interested in supporting the female entrepreneur community. At the moment, The Wing offers women a fancy coworking environment and hosts networking events on a regular basis. Such famous people as Hillary Clinton come here to empower the community of the creative business women.
You will find The Wing spaces in Washington and New York (3 places!). London, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Toronto spaces are about to open in the near future.
Read more about new coworking spaces openings here .
If you are interested in starting a co-working business to support the female community, click here to investigate other coworking spaces for women only.
However, if you are not sure which community you would like to serve, you can also try a corporate-based setup.
A corporate-based setup means that space comes first, and the community comes next. In this case, you will be a provider designing your coworking area according to your taste and the market research, of course. It's not that difficult!
There exist wonderful spaces that are based on a unique coworking space business model. The Refinery is one of them. It’s a mission-driven corporate-based setup that provides creative experiences to its members. Its founder, Hayley Swindell, fell victim of the burnout when she was starting her first business alone.
Hayley was working from home and it was not fun for her at all. When she realized that she was facing a severe burnout because she missed the communication with the like-minded people, she decided to create a working area with the standard amenities complemented by the creative options.
Apart from the coffee machines, open-work desk, and free Wi-Fi, you will also find a photography studio, a shared retail shop, and a fulfillment center in The Refinery. Hayley designed this coworking space to boost creativity, and she succeeded.
No matter whether you choose a corporate-based or a community-based setup – if you have a brilliant idea in mind, it will work for you. Just make sure you’ve taken all the details into consideration!
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Community for Your Business Building a community is a central pillar to any growing business or brand. Discover key learnings to help your business grow and gain from your customers and community.
By Josh Bowden • Jul 7, 2022
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Community engagement and customer feedback are valuable for any business. They offer brands an opportunity not just to connect with their customers, but also to learn from them.
Throughout my experience building noissue and working with a global network of brands and creators — who in turn are also paying close attention to the needs and interests of their own customers — I've come to recognize that "community" isn't just a buzzword, but rather a central pillar of every great brand. Building a community and building for that community requires a concerted and proactive effort, so let's take a look at key learnings from my career with a step-by-step guide to growing and gaining from your community.
Related: 4 Reasons Why Focusing On Community Is Your Best Marketing Strategy
Identify and connect with your community on a values-level
Consumers today want to get to know brands to connect with them on a genuine level, so for brands looking to build their community , the importance of identifying customers' values cannot be overstated. Be sure that you develop an authentic brand voice and identity that is tied to and reflects your brand's values.
Everything from your brand aesthetic and copy to the choice of packaging materials and collaborative campaigns offers an opportunity to showcase those values and connect with your community on a deeper and more authentic level. Studies have shown that more and more consumers today pay close attention to values such as sustainability, diversity and inclusivity. If you build your brand and community to reflect a shared commitment to these values, your community will be stronger for it.
Harness the power of content to connect engage and grow your community
Today, a wide range of channels provide companies and creators with an ever-evolving range of opportunities to reach their target audience through digital content and activations. Content is an integral tool to build and grow your community and your brand — offering consumers the opportunity to get to know and engage with your brand on a regular basis.
Approach your content strategy as an iterative process to learn what type of content — be it video guides, Instagram Live interviews, blogs or podcasts — resonates most with community members. It won't happen overnight, but when you find something that works, invest in it to give your community more of what they're looking for.
Related: Building Community Is Good Business
Find creative ways to collect feedback
Encourage community members to engage in dialogue, provide feedback or voice their desire for new product types by rewarding them for their time. Perhaps you offer a small discount to survey participants or provide existing customers who have left reviews with early access to new products and offerings. Making your community feel like they're an important part of the brand itself will help drive participation to ultimately give you the information you need to make the best strategic decisions regarding your brand direction.
And be creative. From Instagram polls to surveys, sharing insight doesn't need to be boring, difficult or time-consuming. Find the sweet spot to create an information-gathering exercise that doesn't feel like work for participating community members.
Refine your product roadmap to reflect customer requests and needs
Creating the products that your customers want and need should always be central to your product development strategy and process. After collecting valuable feedback from your community, do something with it. Be open to refining your product roadmap based on community feedback to offer the exact solutions that your customers are looking for. Your community will thank you for it and your sales will reflect that.
Amplify your community on social
Bring your community and their love for you back to social — amplifying them and their specific use-cases with your brand. Whether it be showcasing how a customer styled one of your products or highlighting a brand's new campaign as demonstrated through their custom, sustainable packaging, posting user-generated content allows you to amplify both your community and brand on social media. It's an easy and organic way to say thank you to the community that's helping you grow.
Related: How I Built a Community of 98,000 People Using the Skills I Learned From Harvard
Leverage your community to fuel commerce
Ultimately, your community is your customers. And just as content should be strategically used to help engage and build your community, your community should help to drive sales. Developing an authentic relationship with your customers from the point of initial discovery and digital engagement to sales and even post-sale is key. Find creative ways to involve your community in helping to bring awareness to your brand, encourage referrals and viral sharing, fuel commerce and more. The opportunities are endless.
The business and consumer landscapes are constantly changing and evolving to reflect shifts in technology, business needs, consumer needs, values and more. It's absolutely critical to pay close attention to your audience to keep up. Brands in general are as reliant upon their communities as their communities are upon them. The relationship at its best should be symbiotic, and the responsibility falls on the brand to make it that way. Developing a relationship of mutual trust and respect, where consumer feedback is proactively and consciously considered and applied, is of the utmost importance in solidifying a long-term bond and maximizing the positive impact community can have on the growth and development of your business.
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When Community Becomes Your Competitive Advantage
- Jeffrey Bussgang
How businesses shift from selling products to building networks.
If a company can transition from simply delivering a product to building a community, they can unlock extraordinary competitive advantages and create a superior business model. In fact, strong communities help support the ideal business model. Specifically: • Enthusiastic members help acquire new members, resulting in lower customer acquisition costs and a tight viral loop. • Members of a community are loath to abandon it, resulting in increased member retention and therefore improved lifetime value. • Members of a community support other members in that community, resulting in high gross margins due to a lower cost of service.
The result of this are very real network effects: as engagement grows, the community gets smarter, faster to respond, more globally available, and generates more value.
We’ve seen a precipitous decline in participation in civic organizations in recent years; membership numbers are down for religious groups, labor organizations and non-profits. A cynic could interpret these trends as a sign that we have all become digital hermits, with our noses buried in our highly personalized screens. The reality is that powerful communities are not just alive and well but also booming. They just look different than they did 50—even 20—years ago. They are organized around businesses and brands and providing profound opportunities for companies around the world.
- JB Jeffrey Bussgang is a senior lecturer in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School and a general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners. He is the author of Entering StartUpLand: An Essential Guide to Finding the Right Job (Harvard Business Review Press, 2017).
- JB Jono Bacon is a community and collaboration strategy consultant, a former community director at GitHub, and author of People Powered: How Communities Can Supercharge Your Business, Brand, and Teams (HarperCollins, 2019).
Community Center Business Plan Template
This community center business plan template has 29 pages and is a MS Word file type listed under our business plan kit documents.
Sample of our community center business plan template:
Sample of our community center business plan template: Community Center Business Plan [YOUR NAME] [YOUR TITLE] Phone: [YOUR PHONE NUMBER] Email: [[email protected]] [YOUR WEBSITE ADDRESS] Confidentiality Agreement The undersigned reader acknowledges that the information provided by [YOUR COMPANY NAME] in this business plan is confidential; therefore, reader agrees not to disclose it without the express written permission of [YOUR COMPANY NAME]. It is acknowledged by reader that information to be furnished in this business plan is in all respects confidential in nature, other than information which is in the public domain through other means and that any disclosure or use of same by reader may cause serious harm or damage to [YOUR COMPANY NAME]. Upon request, this document is to be immediately returned to [YOUR COMPANY NAME].
2,600+ templates & tools to help you start, run & grow your business, all the templates you need to plan, start, organize, manage, finance & grow your business, in one place., templates and tools to manage every aspect of your business., 8 business management modules, in 1 place., document types included.
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8 Best Online Community Building Platforms to Build Business in 2023
An online community platform is a website or software application that allows users to create and manage an online community, typically for the purpose of sharing ideas, collaborating, and building relationships. Online communities can be used for a variety of purposes, such as professional networking, hobbyist groups, or simply as a way for friends and family to stay connected.
In the digital age, building and maintaining an online community is more important than ever. From forums and message boards to social networks and messaging apps, there are a wide variety of platforms available for bringing people together and fostering meaningful connections. But with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which platform is the best fit for your needs.
In this blog, we'll introduce you to the top online community-building platforms for 2023, highlighting their key features and functionality to help you choose the right one for your community. Whether you're looking to create a small group of friends or a large, global network, these platforms have everything you need to build and manage a thriving online community.
Community Platforms vs Team Collaboration Platforms
Users might agree that there are striking similarities between community platforms and team collaboration platforms. Both of these platforms encourage features such as Q&A, team participation , and communication. While they may seem somewhat similar, the major difference between them is that while Collaboration Platforms focus on one-on-one communication and projects, and productivity, Community Platforms highlight one-to-many communication and help users in engagement and feedback.
Why are online community-building platforms important?
Online community-building platforms are important because they allow individuals and groups to connect with each other, share ideas and resources, and collaborate on projects or initiatives. These platforms provide a space for people to come together and discuss common interests, exchange information and support, and engage in a meaningful way.
These platforms can be used to build support networks, exchange ideas and information, and share resources. They can also be a source of support and encouragement for individuals who may feel isolated in their offline lives. In addition, online communities can help to promote a sense of belonging and can foster a sense of community and connection among their members. Ultimately, online community-building platforms can help to build stronger, more vibrant communities and facilitate positive social change.
Things to consider before joining an online community platform
Here are some things you might consider before joining an online community platform:
Determine the purpose of the community: What is the purpose of the community you are considering joining? Is it for professional networking, to discuss a particular topic or hobby, or just for socializing? Understanding the purpose of the community will help you decide if it is a good fit for you.
Research the community: Look into the history and reputation of the community. What are its size and demographics ? How active is it? What are the rules and guidelines for participation? You can often find this information on the community's website or by reading reviews or articles about it.
Consider your own goals: Think about what you hope to get out of joining the community. Do you want to make new friends, learn something new, or share your expertise with others? Consider whether the community can help you achieve these goals.
Evaluate the community's culture: Each online community has its own culture, so it's important to consider whether you will feel comfortable participating in the community. Consider whether the community's values and norms align with your own.
Online reputation: Keep in mind that anything you post in an online community becomes a part of your online reputation . Consider whether you are comfortable with this level of transparency and whether you want to be associated with the community long-term.
Top online community-building platforms for 2023
Here we discuss and compare some of the most popular community-building platforms, to help you create your online community, and keep engaged with activities and sessions.
1. Bettermode 2. Crowdstack 3. Website Toolbox 4. Glue Up 5. Forumbee 6. Thinkific 7. Discourse 8. Mighty Networks
Bettermode formerly Tribe Community Platform, is a comprehensive community platform that enables you to combine your knowledge base, FAQs and resource center in one spot, helping to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. People are drawn to its extensive customization options, ready-to-use templates, apps, and widgets that can be embedded. It is a powerful online community platform that you can integrate with the existing software that you use, to enhance user engagement , retain customers and improve their lifetime value. You can create an integrated community website and enable user discussion Q&A, along with other community features such as likes, upvotes, and shares. You can also use widgets as social components in your applications through APIs . Moreover, with the help of automation tools, grow organically and deliver the best customer support.
Features Offered by Bettermode
- Widgets help you embed valuable components, while an extensive API helps manage and monitor activity in your community.
- ML-trained activity feed helps you with rewards and virtual currency, app extensions and community tools, and smart targeting.
- Robust gamification helps in audience engagement through incentives and credits, by giving your community members points and badges.
- Bettermode, with the goal of bringing communities together, helps you connect with Pipedrive, Decathlon, IBM, Top Hat, Monument, and other global communities.
- App integrations include Messenger, Google Analytics, Social Login, Virtual Currency, Slack, and Firebase among many others.
- Customizable templates
- Single sign-on
- Smart analytics
- Leaderboard to build healthy competition
- Simple interface
- Various Integration option
- Demo is available
- Limited customization option
Pricing for Bettermode
Crowdstack is an easy-to-use online community and membership platform built to engage, maintain and expand your audience. Crowdstack is essentially an extension of your original website and works as a social community for your audience to help you grow. It allows you to set your own engagement rule and keep your content to yourself, along with offering you a cohesive experience for easy management and customization. Moreover, with User Generated Marketing (UGM), effortlessly increase your user base in the most cost-effective way possible, and use your existing customer base to enhance your SEO .
Features Offered by Crowdstack
- Offers efficient member management where you can keep your audience engaged with blogs, surveys, resources, and status updates.
- Have any number of subgroups you prefer, for different discussion segments and enable all kinds of topics based on calendar events.
- Automation helps you build customizable workflows, review content, send emails, congratulate members, and a lot of other stuff.
- Crowdstack offers compliance with international security standards for data privacy , making sure the data of users stays where it should.
- Premium membership allows you to monetize your community at Crowdstack, by designating premium features to generate revenue.
- Free trial without credit card details
- Membership system to monetize the community
- Customizable workflow
- Knowledge base and tutorials to learn
- Advanced reporting and integration
- Only email support is available
- Poor user interface
Pricing for Crowdstack
3. website toolbox.
Website Toolbox offers users one of the easiest ways to create a forum in a few steps. No need for coding, software, or servers. It allows you to choose from a collection of themes and integrate the applications or even go stand-alone. Integrations that Website Toolbox offers include Wix, WordPress, Shopify , and Squarespace among others. You can then earn in different ways including advertisements, subscription-based plans , and even accepting donations and getting sponsors.
Features Offered by Website Toolbox
- Attract more audience by embedding the latest discussion topics in your website, and add videos, photos, and files in your forums to keep your audience engaged.
- Customize your community forum with your logo and branding, domain name, and website layout, and customize themes to match your branding style.
- The website offers various integrations such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and enables Single Sign-On for your audience for easy access.
- Show ads from Google Adsense , charge a subscription-based fee/one-time fee from your audience for premium content and monetize your forum.
- You can also export your forum and choose to do what you intend with your data and get insights from an intuitive dashboard in real time.
- Anti-spam protection
- Personalized branding
- 14-day free trial
- Approval of posts and replies before it goes live
- User-friendly interface
- Accessible on any devices
- Plan is based on page views
- Phone support is available in the growth plan
Pricing for Website Toolbox
Glue Up is a comprehensive CRM system to manage events, memberships, and other digital services from one place, enabling you to develop and foster your community. Glue Up is the software you can use to grow your community and pace up networking. When innovative networking meets powerful solutions, your community grows more than you anticipate. Glue Up offers you an event, community, and membership management suite, so you can separately and seamlessly manage all the aspects of an interactive community, and keep your audience engaged along with attracting even more of them.
Features Offered by Glue Up
- The built-in CRM helps you with customer engagement and contact management, so you can generate more revenue.
- Plan and organize events, both online and offline, including workshops and webinars with an automated events platform.
- Email campaigns and marketing to promote/advertise your community or welcome new members are easily customizable, with metrics analysis to monitor campaigns.
- Collaborate across teams and automate manual tasks so you can be more focused on more important things at hand.
- Communicate with your community and keep them in the loop 365 days a year, to engage and spark discussions and help businesses.
- The mobile app is available
- Email campaign
- Public and private groups
- Custom privacy settings
- One-on-one chat
- Roles and permission
- Inbuilt CRM for community members
- Price is not disclosed
- Free trial is not available
Pricing for Glue Up
Request a quote from its official website to get pricing plans for Glue Up's Community Management Suite.
Forumbee offers a comprehensive cloud-based community forum and knowledge base system. It is built for engaging your customers and scaling your product support with the help of an online community. Customer support and smart self-service help you empower your audience, while employee community also helps with better collaboration and employee engagement . Moreover, with a simple cloud-based platform and interface, Forumbee is highly customizable, where you can conduct discussion forums, Q&A sessions, knowledge base, ideation, and much more.
Features Offered by Forumbee
- Create an easy-to-participate discussion forum and allow file sharing, highlight contributions, and create member profiles for better community building.
- Peer-to-peer Q&A sessions by category and tags help you engage your audience and also find effective answers at the same time.
- You can also create a knowledge base to create content to help customers find quick answers, and also organize your content with team contribution.
- Find creative product ideas from your customers and keep them in the loop to discover popular feedback, keeping them engaged.
- Forumbee offers an intuitive interface that is efficient and manageable, with powerful tools to keep the audience engaged and automated welcome messages.
- 30-day free trial
- Mobile responsive knowledge base
- Social media integration
- Analytics and Reporting
- Peer-to-peer discussion
- Interactive and modern UI
- No live support
Pricing for Forumbee
Thinkific is an online community that provides a platform for educators, entrepreneurs, and professionals to create and sell courses and memberships. through Thinkific, users can share their knowledge, expertise, and passion with others, while also generating income and growing their businesses.
It is designed to help educators, entrepreneurs, and businesses create and deliver online learning experiences to their students or customers. Thinkific provides numerous tools and features for creating and hosting online courses, including video hosting, course creation tools , quiz and assessment tools, and a customizable landing page for each course.
Features offered by Thinkific
- A range of tools and resources for creating and managing courses.
- A support network of experts and peers to help users.
- Discussion forums and quizzes to interact with learners and keep them engaged with the course material.
- It includes marketing and sales tools, such as email marketing integrations, coupons, and discounts.
- E-commerce to sell your products online to your community members with ease.
- Simple to create a course and customize the template by drag-and-drop editing.
- Assignments, quizzes, exams, and certificates to measure the performance of the community members.
- Everything is customizable as per the brand
- Easy to set up
- Website builder to build a website
- Multiple payment options
- Flexible pricing
- Interactive and easy-to-use interface
- Limited integration option
- Course templates are limited
Pricing for Thinkific
Discourse is an online community platform that allows users to engage in discussions, share ideas and knowledge, and collaborate with one another on a variety of topics. It is a place where people from all walks of life can come together to exchange information and engage in meaningful conversations.
The platform is designed to facilitate open and respectful communication, encouraging users to express themselves in a thoughtful and respectful manner. It is often used by organizations, groups, and individuals to create a central hub for discussion and interaction. It can be customized to suit the needs of a particular community.
Features offered by Discourse
- It is open-source software, which means that it is freely available for anyone to use and modify.
- Highly extensible with a large number of plugins and integrations available to add additional functionality.
- Real-time notification whenever someone comments on your post, mentions you and quotes your post.
- One-click upgrade whenever the latest version arrives.
- A long list of integration options including Slack, Telegram, Zendesk, Discord, and much more.
- Whenever you paste any link to discourse, its automatic link-expanding feature expands the link to provide additional information.
- There is a separate summarize button to simplify the long-form content into interesting short summaries.
- Mobile-responsive design
- Support for a wide range of media types
- 14-day free trial on a paid plan
- iOS and android app is available
- Spam blocking
- Consume more server resources
- Free plan is not available
Pricing for Discourse
8. mighty networks.
Mighty Networks is a platform for creating and managing online communities and membership sites. It allows you to bring together people with shared interests and create a space for them to connect, communicate, and engage with each other.
You can also use the platform to offer courses , events, and other premium content to your members, and charge for access if desired. It is designed to be flexible and scalable, so you can create and grow a community of any size. This allows community creators to not only bring together like-minded individuals but also generate revenue from their passions and expertise.
Features offered by Mighty Networks
- Provides different options for community creators to monetize their community, including subscription fees, paid courses, and merchandise sales.
- Offers tools for creating and distributing content , such as blogs, articles, videos, and more.
- Provides tools for building email lists and sending newsletters to community members.
- Allows users to track and analyze key metrics, such as engagement, retention, and revenue.
- Integrates with various third-party tools and platforms, such as payment processors, CRMs, and social media networks.
- Offers a range of customization options, including branding, design, and layout, to help users create a unique and personalized experience for their community members.
- iOS and Android mobile app is available
- knowledge base and video tutorial library
- Third-Party integration
- Free trial with no credit card requirement
- Easy-to-use interface
- Live Streaming
- Live customer support is not available
- Limited design features
Pricing for Mighty Networks
Community spaces can be a one-stop portal for receiving or providing information, advice, or additional assistance. Organizations administering these platforms can leverage the maintenance of these spaces to relate with consumers, foster positive sentiment, respond to inquiries, and gather data on engagement. An effective community platform can enable a direct line to interactions and contributions with consumers that may improve product awareness, generate additional content, promote mastery, and encourage loyalty. They also facilitate data intelligence on common requests and user behaviors.
The above-mentioned online community-building platforms for 2023 offer a range of features and tools to help you create and manage a thriving community, whether you're looking to build a small group of friends or a large, global network. Each platform has its own unique strengths and characteristics, so be sure to consider your specific needs and goals when deciding which one is the best fit for your community.
What is a community platform?
Community platforms combine a suite of services enabling the creation, management, and utilization of spaces for sharing between connected users. A common example would be a brand's presentation of a forum composed of administrators and end-users discussing a product or topic.
Who uses Community Platform software?
As the Community Platform category of software represents how software rises to meet the needs of online customer management, it reveals the composition of organizations and individuals that are responding to the demands around those key use cases. Typically these tools are used by:
- Community managers
- Customer support
Why use Community Platform Software?
More and larger concentrations of people have formed networks that pervade the internet, and brands have responded by formulating a way to participate in those same communication dynamics, meeting customers where they are. An effective community platform can enable a direct line to interactions and contributions with consumers that may improve product awareness, generate additional content, promote mastery, and encourage loyalty. They also facilitate data intelligence on common requests and user behaviors.
How do you build a community platform?
Steps for Building an Online Community
- Identify key stakeholders for the online community.
- Define the purpose and goal.
- Select a community platform.
- Build a member profile.
- Develop rules and norms.
- Set up your community.
- Promote your community.
What are some examples of online communities?
These are some examples of Successful Online Community Building Platforms-
- MOM365 Community. The Mom365 community covers topics from getting pregnant to birth, baby development to raising children.
- Foursquare Idea Community. This tech company tapped into the idea of creating a community early on.
- Duolingo Community. This Ed-tech company connects the whole world to learn and speak English.
What are the top online community platforms for 2023?
Some of the top online community platforms for 2023 are Bettermode, Crowdstack, Website Toolbox, Glue Up, Forumbee, Thinkific, Mighty Networks, and more.
Can I use online community platforms for free, or do I need to pay for a subscription?
It depends on the platform you choose. Some online community-building platforms offer free versions with limited features, while others require a paid subscription for access to all of their features and tools. It's worth considering your budget and the specific needs of your community when deciding which platform to use.
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Community Building: Definition, Benefits, Examples, & Essential Steps
A brand is only as strong as the customers behind it. Companies like Apple or Nike have achieved their success largely because they were able to get millions of people to believe in their core ideas and make the brand a part of who they are.
But building this type of connection isn’t easy. And it can’t be done by treating your audience as just customers who should be bombarded with marketing messages. Instead, you must seek to create a community around your brand, where people will actively engage with your brand , communicate with each other, and even create user content centered around your products and brand.
Once you have that, the number of people you can reach and connect with will start increasing without you having to do anything; your brand will become a part of who your customers are, attracting more people like them to join the community.
Since community building for brands can be so powerful, let’s look at what it is, why it matters, and how you can build your own strong brand community.
What is a Brand Community?
A brand community is an audience of customers who are not just fans of your products but active members of a community centered around your brand.
It’s much more valuable than brand awareness or even brand loyalty; while both of those are great, they can’t offer the same level of commitment to a brand and being part of the group of people that support it.
That’s because there’s another level on top of the traditional brand-customer relationship based on quality products, excellent service, and good brand-customer alignment. There’s also the community aspect, where people can share their experiences, help each other with challenges, and nurture a sense of camaraderie that will get people to stay with your brand for much longer.
This type of relationship with the brand and other customers nurtures an emotional bond that’s hard to match any other way. It creates a passion and commitment towards using your products and boosts your brand’s reach in a way that’s impossible to replicate, no matter how large your marketing budget might be.
Why Should You Build a Community Around Your Brand?
Building a community around your brand takes effort. So it’s good to understand the full scope of benefits it can offer. We already talked about the general advantages of having a strong community, but they have multiple levels on which your business can benefit.
Let’s look at them below.
Improve Customer Loyalty
43% of customers spend more money with brands they are loyal to. But with the competition in most markets becoming steeper, maintaining customer loyalty and getting them to come back is becoming increasingly difficult.
But when you have a community centered around your brand and products, people will not just be drawn to the actual products but also to sharing experiences with others. And that alone can be an enticing reason to stay with you, even when the competition runs aggressive campaigns to try to get them to switch sides.
Nurtures Brand Ambassadors
No matter how effective your marketing campaigns, there’s a limit to how many people you can reach. But if you have your customers actively promoting your products and recommending them to their peers, you will never run out of new customers who will already be pre-sold on the idea of joining your brand’s community.
As you develop a strong community that shares experiences and helps each other, that will also result in more people taking pride in being part of your brand’s family. They will then actively spread your message, attracting more people like them without you having to do anything.
SEO is a crucial aspect of running a successful online business. And when you build a brand community, you will also have tons of user-generated content that will link back to your site.
Over time, that will produce powerful SEO results, driving unlimited organic traffic to your site month after month. While it may not be the direct result of having a brand community, it does play an important role, and that’s just another reason why having a community pays off over the long term.
Gain Insights Into Your Audience
The more you know about your audience, the better you can adjust your products and brand to meet their expectations. And having a community serves as the ideal way to interact with your audience, observe their behaviors, and gain valuable insights about what they like and don’t like.
You can even run surveys, interviews, and polls with your best customers, discovering why they chose your brand in the first place, how they view your company against the competition, and what they would like to see improved or changed.
Examples of Brand Communities
The only way to really understand how community building can help your company is to see how these types of communities look in action. And that’s why it’s a good idea to go over a few of the largest brands in the world that have created loyal and engaged communities around their products and the experience of using them.
Let’s explore three excellent examples below.
Starbucks has built its entire brand on the idea of community and being part of an exclusive club. And because of this carefully crafted brand image, the company has been able to ingrain the very association of coffee with its brand.
Millions of people around the world can’t imagine their day without grabbing a coffee from Starbucks, and the social media presence the company has cultivated is a big part of it. Starbucks has nurtured a strong social media community, encouraging people to share their coffee pictures and become part of the tribe, running various contests and making it a whole social experience that goes much further than the product itself.
Nike would not dominate the fitness market the way it does if it weren’t for the die-hard community of fans that it has cultivated. The “Just Do It” slogan has become an indispensable part of many people’s lives, motivating them to go out there and exercise.
And obviously, Nike products are a central part of the experience. They allow people to feel like they belong, get them to feel more like the athletes they look up to, and provide top-level training gear for everyday people. And then there’s the community element of like-minded people who like to push themselves to become better, which is at the center of what makes Nike so appealing.
Even if you aren’t part of the GoPro community or a user of their products, you have probably heard of the brand and saw the camera in action through user-generated content, of which there is a ton.
GoPro cameras are durable, ultra-portable, and perfect for those that like to go on adventures, partake in extreme sports, and capture all of that in beautiful detail with the GoPro products. Naturally, those drawn to that lifestyle immediately consider GoPro as the way to capture it, and that keeps the community growing on autopilot.
Community Building: Essential Steps
At this point, you’re probably convinced that community building is definitely worth the effort if you want to nurture a successful online brand. But the next question is – how can you build a community from scratch?
Well, the good news is that there’s a structured process you can follow that will help you build a community of loyal fans that are also your very best customers. Let’s go over a few of the key steps below.
Build a Strong Brand
Building a community is impossible without a strong brand. If there’s nothing to attract people to your business in the first place, you can’t expect them to stick around to interact with others as well.
Therefore, any successful community-building strategy must begin with developing a brand that your ideal customers can relate to. What’s more, the brand you create must not only be aligned with your customers and your products but also have a built-in community element. Only then can you nurture the community through targeted social media campaigns, contests, user-generated content, and other effective strategies.
Find Your Ideal Customer
Having a strong brand is essential, but the brand must also not exist in a vacuum. Your brand is a reflection of the type of customers you attract, so you must also have a deep understanding of who you’re selling and develop a buyer persona that’s an accurate reflection of your business.
If you have customers already, identify the ones who you feel have the best customer lifetime value and who are the happiest with your services. You can then conduct interviews and run surveys to get to know the reasons why they like your company and identify the core values you should embrace and highlight throughout your branding.
Create Value Around Your Community
Joining a community is something that requires effort from your customers. Therefore, you can be sure that they won’t do it if you don’t create an environment where joining a community brings a lot of value.
Some of the things that a community can offer include a sense of camaraderie, a place to get helpful information and answers to questions, as well as the opportunity to be a part of a community with shared ideas and values.
If you want to take things to another level, you could even create a mastermind group that provides premium value and creates a barrier of entry. In the How We Solve podcast, Dev Gordon lays out all the steps to building a successful mastermind community that you can leverage into more sales.
Eventually, these aspects will be driven by community leaders. But as you’re getting started, you need to actively encourage people to participate, communicate, and share their experiences. You must also help create and enforce rules that make everyone feel safe and welcome.
Engage Your Customers
Strong brand communities don’t happen overnight. At first, people won’t be sure how to behave, what they can share, and how the whole community even works.
Therefore, you should take a proactive role in encouraging people to participate and engaging them throughout the entire process. You can do that by motivating people to share their experiences and generate content through contests and targeted campaigns aimed at generating more activity.
Identify the Right Community Platform
For your community to grow and prosper, you must create a space for people to share their experiences and communicate. And that requires a platform that they can easily use, which won’t make it inconvenient to be an active member.
Many brands use social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram since they have a built-in community element and countless convenient tools for driving engagement. But you might also want to use a custom solution that gives you more control over what your customers see and how content is created and distributed.
Community building is one of the best ways to ensure customer satisfaction and that they stick with you beyond the initial purchase. If the community is valuable in itself, the people that buy from you will stay not just for the products but for the community benefits, increasing brand loyalty in the process.
What brand communities are you a part of? And which ones would you replicate in your own business? Share in the comments below!
I’m a serial entrepreneur and I write about things I have learned along the way. I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs and executives to find success and harmony in business and in life.
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Opposition To Housing Plan Former HEW Building
It’s been vacant for seventeen years. And now there are signs of progress toward finding a new use for Nevada County’s former Health, Education, and Welfare building, on Willow Valley Road in Nevada City. The county vacated the building in 2006, over five years after a shooting rampage by a Behavioral Health client that killed two people and wounded another person. A developer has owned the building since 2011 and made a presentation recently to the city’s Housing Strategic Initiative Committee. Bill Litchfield is proposing a 63-unit apartment complex. City Councilman, and committee member, Doug Fleming, says the vast majority of neighbors oppose that level of density…
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And Fleming also opposes that type of configuration…
Fleming also notes that the building still sits on county property and it would need to be annexed into Nevada City. And that would also require a neighborhood vote. It is in the city’s sphere of influence. Litchfield has not made a formal proposal yet and there’s no indication when that might be.
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