Why Start Your Start-up by Building a Community? Competitors can copy your idea, business model, and tech but not your community

By Neeraj Joshi

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We are living in "The Age of the Customer." The age in which customers influence business decisions and define the success of a company.

In the 21st century, companies need to build stronger customer relationships if they want to remain in the game.

This is the reason why established companies are investing billions of dollars into their community initiatives. They want to stay as close to their customers as possible.

But what about your start-up? When is the right time for you to focus on building a community?

"NOW" is the right time. Invest in community building as early as possible.

1. We Have Been Living in Communities All Our Life

We became part of at least four communities the day we were born. Religion, caste, family, and society to name a few.

As we grew up and went to school, we became part of the community of kids, classmates, and friends.

Few of us became part of further niche community of artists, singers, athletes, etc.

After finishing school, we went to college — became part of new communities, started working — became part of further new communities, and this process goes on until the time we die.

In our lifetime we get associated with thousands of communities knowingly or unknowingly as thats part of our journey.

Why not start by building something with which people are acquainted and habitual?

2. Lean Way to Build Your Audience

Building a community requires ONLY and ONLY time and commitment at the initial stage.

With FB pushing Groups over Pages, it looks like a good time to start your community on FB.

3. Best Way to Gather Feedback and Market Insights

You think about a billion-dollar idea, discuss it with your friends, do market research and then plan on building the product. Isn't it?

Instead of jumping straight to product development, build a community around your cause because:

  • You will make a long-lasting relationship with your target audience.
  • You will know the actual problems that they are facing by conversing with them and analyzing their interaction with other members of the community.
  • Your community members will become early adopters of the product you launch in the future.
  • Post product launch the community will become the place where you can capture real-time feedback, gain market insights and solve your customer's queries.

4. Makes Your Start-up Defensible

Competitors can copy your idea, business model, and tech but not your Community.

"A community is a family of like-minded people with similar goals who experience various stages of life together."

Is it this easy to break up and leave your family?

5. A Community is Your Start-up's USP

Very few entrepreneurs from India understand the real value and power of a community as there few success stories.

Everyone is busy copying ideas and building futuristic tech and no one is focussing on building real communities.

It could be a great time to begin your entrepreneurial journey by starting a community around your cause.

This is how you can differentiate from others in the market, and make community your USP in the longer run.

6. Helps You Build a Loyal User Base

With offers floating everywhere, it is always a challenge to keep your users loyal to your brand.

You would not want your users to switch to a competitor just because it provides a discount, freebie or an extra feature.

A community keeps them loyal as over time they develop a personal connect and trust with you and other members which is way above any offer.

7. Becomes a Great Channel for Hiring

People who actively contribute to the community believe in you and your vision.

There is a high possibility of them joining your team if you can come up with the right opportunity.

Neeraj Joshi

Founder, Pushstart

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