Small businesses matter, and it doesn't take a lot of research to see why. According to Forbes, these businesses are responsible for more 65% of new jobs since the 1970s. However, as quickly as they provide new jobs, small businesses fail at an even greater rate. Nearly 80% fold within the first two years, which discourages many from starting at all. Of course, we would say that most of these "failures" are caused by the business owner getting tired from remaining on the business treadmill for too long, but you get the point.
The bright side of this percentage is that it provides a wealth of information from those who have succeeded and failed in what you should do differently. A quick search will provide endless articles detailing the do's and don'ts of starting a business, but one recurring theme can be found time and time again: focus on the people.
This simple statement is actually quite broad in its meaning, and includes all the people who contribute to your success – employees, shareholders, consumers and clients. In other words, your community.
Developing that community takes work and keeping it engaged is an ongoing project, but there are a few easy ways to get it off the ground and keep your focus in the right place.
Start a Conversation
With the commonality of social media platforms as a way of distributing information, dialogue is all too often missing. Communicating via text, email or Twitter notification is not a conversation, it's crosstalk, and it doesn't lead to true understanding. Taking time to engage face to face in addition to your online outreach will not only increase your likability, it will help generate feedback that could set your company apart from the 80%
Build Meaningful Relationships
You shouldn't stop at a conversation. Reach out to your contacts and continue to follow up. Meet your team over lunch and develop a line of open communication. Going the extra mile and building relationships shows you care about the individual, not just what they can give to you. People who have a relationship with you and your company are far more likely to stick around through the rough patches and keep your business thriving.
Don't hesitate to contact us for more information on developing and engaging your community.
I love teaming up with others to be a force for awesome in the Denver area.