The success of a business hinges heavily on one particular thing. A supportive community. This supportive community includes both investors and customers. Without a community it is virtually impossible for a business to develop, grow, and succeed. Traditionally announcement comes up with a business idea after researching the supply and demand of a particular good or service. This initial research done on the demand indicates if there is a community that is willing to support and patronize the potential business. Market research comes into play here where statistics and figures are developed in order for an entrepreneur to understand who are they have enough customers to support their perspective business.
While most businesses have gone the route of building the business first and then building the community of loyal followers second, today's digital world allows for a different approach. Social media has given rise to online communities like never before. Yes, online chat rooms have existed since the dawn of dial-up internet Within homes across the world, there wasn't nearly as wide and diverse of the community as we see today across the spectrum of social media Networks. In today's world, something as little as a hashtag can quickly develop into a community of millions of users in a matter of months. These social media communities give a place for members to share their thoughts and experiences providing a collaborative and transparent platform.
When I refer to community I do not simply mean a market of potential customers. Such as how Uber came to success with their ride-hailing services. The market of taxi cab Riders is not a community in the sense that they have shared interests, beliefs, and personalities. I do acknowledge that many of Uber's users have shared beliefs interests and personalities but they did not come to have interest in ride-hailing services because of these qualities.
This gives rise to the question of building a community first and then a business around that community, or building a business first and then a community around your business? It can be difficult to say which option is better.
Anybody can create a Facebook group/page that grows by the thousands within a year. Anybody can create a Instagram account that matches a trending hashtag. Anybody can take the time to build up a Twitter account the game's a strong following through interaction and relevant posting. It can be difficult to convince a functioning community that they need something to help their community continue to be productive and grow. It can also be difficult to start a business without knowing there is a community out there to support you.
The trick to building a business around these already established communities centers around finding a need that is not easily met by the community in itself. No community members will download your app, purchase your product, or sign up for your services if the crowd sourcing within the community can meet their need. It could be an application that connects the users in a more effective manner based on their needs. It could be an application that incorporates features from various apps into a user interface designed specifically for that community and removes the clunkiness of utilizing different apps. And it could also be an app that provides the community with a particular feature that is needed, but not supplied by their social media Network.
This is not to say that apps cannot be developed based on market demands without established communities. But these online communities give the opportunity for entrepreneurs to market their product or service and provide a quickly developed customer base that can dramatically lower the turnaround for return on investment.
What are your thoughts on this and what communities do you know of that have a particular need that is not yet met?
Do you think it would be feasible to grow an online community with the intent of introducing a product or service to them?