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There’s an old saying that goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Such a simple saying: It emphasizes the beauty and necessity of the people around you, or your community, in helping you raise a child.
This saying, however, is not unique to parenting. In fact, it’s perfect for business.
In a sense, your business (or brand) is just like your child. You care for it, work hard so it will succeed and do everything to protect it from anything that may hurt it. Also like parenting, creating and sustaining a successful business and/or brand is something that can’t be done alone. As much as being a lone wolf is glorified in today’s business world, being supported by and working with your community of business leaders and supporters provides many benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages being engaged in your community can do for your business.
Communities help you learn
The first thing to remember is that you don’t know everything. Having a community is great because it provides you an opportunity to learn and gain more knowledge. Often in business, you get so close to the project you are working on that you have trouble taking a step back to see what you may be missing. It is key to recognize that each person in your community is their own vessel of knowledge and has their own unique experiences that can be of great help to you. Your community members can be those fresh eyes you need to take a look at your project and present you with ideas that make it even better.
Communities build your network
Your community is also essential to building your network. Forming genuine relationships within your community and network can get you a long way. The people in your community also each have their own networks and separate communities, some of which might have connections that you too wish to gain. Maintaining kindness, respect and a consistent engagement with the people in your community will benefit you not just in the short run, but in the long run when you might find yourself looking for new opportunities or needing to make certain connections.
Communities support you
Sometimes, what we need is just a thumbs up, a push to make the big leap, even just a shoulder to lean on. Your communities can support you and encourage you to reach the goals that you desire. Studies conducted on empathetic leadership have shown that a supportive leader positively correlates to innovative behavior. Having the emotional support and encouragement when making choices can give you the confidence and strength to make the best choices, and lead to better outcomes.
Communities educate you
Each person in your community not only has their own experiences and perspectives, but diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds that have influenced these experiences and perspectives. Being part of a community full of diverse individuals allows you to learn and become familiar with new ways of living and thinking. Having a diverse workplace has proven itself many benefits, especially increased critical thinking and empathy. Having a diverse community makes you a better innovator.
Communities provide strength in numbers
Today’s marketing is all about numbers and high metrics. Having large and/or many different communities is great for social media and marketing. Let’s say you have a new idea and need some support online to help things take off for you. Having a community to network with is a great way to create traction for new digital ideas.
Communities raise you, too
At its core, being part of a community makes you better: a better leader, a better learner and a better person. Yes, your community is a resource and your members are connections, but more than anything they are your cheerleaders, supporters, and friends. Business has become a realm full of goals, buzzwords and results. Whether we like it or not, our communities are the people that are going to get us where we want to be. Even if you are stuck working with people you would rather not, these people challenge you to work at things from a different perspective, push you to develop your interpersonal skills and establish new levels of empathy.
It truly takes a village. Many of the categories intertwine with another. But that is what makes a community so special — having just one community can provide all of these benefits. Contrary to what the media may market, no one has gotten to where they are completely on their own. So dive deep into your communities. Learn, engage, connect. You might even find more than what you were looking for.