Business Sustainability and Longevity Through Meaningful Connections: The What, Why, and How of Community Building
While Alex Loh sees clients in and out of the beloved NovoTHOR red light therapy pod at Core Collective, he plays a huge role in cultivating our community and sprouting collaborative opportunities within our space. He also runs Kampung Collective, a support network for community builders across Asia. As a fitness and wellness co-working space, we are huge advocates of building strong and well-bonded communities where like-minded individuals can share ideas and make mutually beneficial bonds. So, when we saw Alex's article on the What, Why, and How of Community Building, we knew we had to share it too.
What is a Community?
A community is a group of individuals who share the same vision and aligned values as one another. It does not matter whether the community exists offline or online or between both, because communities are not confined to physical and geographical boundaries.
A client will forever be a client if no active steps are taken to bring it one notch up to establish the aligned values and to form that community. Some freelancers and self-employed individuals have been able to build their own community organically by chance, whilst others have been more proactive in making sure they get things right from the onset.
What is Community Building?
Community Building is simply growing the already established community by facilitating interactions within the group through different activities. In the case of the personal trainer and group fitness instructor, it is creating rapport with the client(s) before, after, and in-between sessions. It is an extra step of unpaid time you are dedicating to socializing with your clients.
If you are growing a community, YOU are a Community Builder! Depending on the industry and vertical, the Community Builder could be working for a brand or a business or an NGO or social enterprise or non-profit organisation. In this case, you are the Community Builder building your own community for your own personal brand and business, and you are the “glue” that keeps the community together and activated.
For ease of understanding, just think of building community as an extension of the people who share in your personal brand’s vision and values.
Why Build Community?
Building Community Provides Relevance
By having a clear vision and set of values, you provide greater relevance for your clients to be a part of your community. This helps to increase followership and your community will grow with time. A larger community will translate into more touchpoints for you to share on your service and value-add.
Building Community Breeds Loyalty
An engaged community is a loyal community. This translates into client retention and moves past the mindset that the service you provide is purely transactional. Longevity and sustainability are what every business strives for and this is a priceless achievement.
How to Build a Community?
Identify your Unique Selling Point (USP)
This is the first question you will need to ask yourself because it determines how different you are compared to all the other 1,001 individuals who are performing that same service. Is your USP in the B2B or B2C space and what demographics or geographical locale are you most specialised in?
By identifying your USP, it will help you formulate your vision and aligned values.
Get to know your community
Having a community that is aligned to your vision and values is wonderful, but if you are not able to understand what the community needs, and provide for those needs, the community will not survive.
Having frequent informal conversations with your community will help you understand what they need. Depending on the preferred channels of communications for your community, you can also conduct formal surveys through various platforms. Your community’s needs could possibly be periodically changing so it is crucial to get constant feedback and understanding what the community needs so that you can continue to be relevant and they can continue to be engaged.
Authenticity is the buzzword and this helps to build trust not just in the service that you provide, but also in you as an individual. Your online and offline persona should as far as possible be similar, and that goes the same for your professional as well as personal persona. You can decide the boundaries you set between the sort of information you share between your personal and professional persona. If you have children or a pet, it is not wrong to sometimes share and talk about them, because your clients can then identify you as a genuine person and not just from a professional position.
Being consistent is the ability for you to continue providing the same level of service, care and consideration to the community. The community will feel at ease and comfortable. This adds to the building of trust and authenticity and must be something you should always strive to be able to provide.
Be patient because Community Building is a long term relationship building process and could take anything from 6 months to 12 months for you to see any form of results. Invest your time and resources wisely and continue to grow and engage your community. The benefits can be seen and experienced in the most unexpected and minute of incidences.
Core Collective is committed to helping fitness & wellness business owners grow by providing best-in-class support services and facilities, and by fostering collaboration and professional development opportunities. If you're a fitness professional and would like to find out more about how you can join our community and grow your business, please click . For wellness practitioners, click .
This article was adapted from Alex's original article.