Despite what society and media tell us, it’s not all about us. The world does not revolve around you – or your business, as a matter of fact.
Don’t get me wrong – when you own your own business, it feels like everything revolves around it. Your time, take-home pay, bills, etc. all derive from it. But it’s not the whole world. Your community is. I’m not talking about the town you live in (even though they are a part of it), I’m talking about the people who love you – your customers, clients, fans, followers. The people you target each and every day.
I saw something the other day that really stuck with me, “He must become greater, I must become less.” Yes, it was scripture, but it relays a message that can be applied to anyone who owns a business. In order for our business to grow, we (the owners) must step back. What I took from it when looking at my business was that we business owners are not bigger than our community around us, whether it be online or offline.
I’m sure you could google and find thousands of articles about how important your community is, but take a hard look at the writers of those articles – many are business owners like us, however, they don’t walk the talk. They publish content to make them the star. I see this all the time in social media. They say it’s about you, but look at their actions – do they match up??
It’s time business owners took a hard look at themselves. Are we doing everything for our own personal glory and achievement or are we doing it for our community? When you do it for your community, your business will thrive. It may not be overnight, but when you are doing it for the right reasons, it will.
Our actions speak louder than words. There’s also an element of being selfless in your business.
There are many companies that are successful and known for what they do for others, rather than their products. Take the shoe company Tom’s, for example. Yes, they make cool shoes my daughters love, but they are more known for their One for One program. Through this program, every time someone purchases a pair of shoes, the company gives one away. They’ve now expanded it to clean water, glasses, and safer birth services. This program is what made them famous, not their shoes.
You don’t have to be a global company like Tom’s to put community first. Any business owner can do it. So why put your community ahead of yourself anyway?
Without your community, you would be shooting blindly with your marketing and quite frankly, you wouldn’t be where you are today. These are the people who support you – they give you their patronage, their loyalty, their Facebook share, their retweet. Why not look out for them first?
But what if you don’t have a large community? You don’t have to have a community of thousands or millions. The quality of your community is much more important than the size. Even if you are a new business owner just starting out, value the people that give you their time. Putting them ahead of yourself, will not only help to build and strengthen that relationship, they will see a business owner that truly cares about his community of supporters.
Within your community is your alpha audience. Mark Schaefer talks about this group in his book, The Content Code. This is the elite in your community – your most loyal community members. He mentions in this book that this audience is 250% more likely to share your content and about your business. As you grow, make note of these super fans and show them your appreciation.
So, what do you think? Do you think you should put your community first or are you the priority in your business? (that’s a rhetorical question, by the way)
What are your thoughts on the topic? Share with me in the comments – I’d love to hear them!