During unprecedented times like these, entrepreneurs can derive strength from communities of small to big business owners, already established and full of knowledge.
These communities not only help to grow with the rich knowledge base of the members, but also serve as a concrete platform to share experiences. A Strong, vibrant and established community of entrepreneurs is the way forward, and often become an new entrepreneur’s inspiration, and emotional support.
Entrepreneur communities are all about helping new entrants achieve full potential through the power of life-enhancing connections, shared experiences, and collaborative learning. Even if you manage a successful business that has “arrived”, the challenges faced by an entrepreneur continues.
Bigger the enterprise, greater the challenges. Also, it can get quite lonely at the top, and that’s where such groups come in to provide a platform to connect, ideate and confide in an atmosphere of absolute trust and respect.
In addition, these communities have businesses and entrepreneurs showcased on numerous media outlets through their community presence, which helps create awareness, as well as serve as a boost to the marketing efforts. The enhanced visibility is an indispensable element for the brand’s growth, particularly at the start.
Specialized communities also provide access to an entire group of individuals that possibly require the service offered, or they can introduce these new entrepreneurs to their contacts that do. Additional leads, sales and revenue are often an advantage of being an active member.
For a start-up founder, such communities serve as a ‘university’. As an early-stage entrepreneur, there are several new challenges each day. Such groups aim to help entrepreneurs learn from the shared experience of members, get access to mentoring from individuals who have the experience, and gain some spectacular connections to grow and scale the business.
Make those connections count
With COVID-19 hitting, the challenges have only soared. However, always believe ‘a crisis should never be wasted’. Take this as an opportunity to reinvent the business strategy, learn new skillsets and persevere with a positive attitude. Never give up.
The better the leadership team can communicate, align and empower the team, the better the company will run. That’s not all – learn, adapt and grow with changing times. Virtual mechanisms opened up a whole realm of possibilities for entrepreneurs to connect, network, learn and grow.
Entrepreneurs who used to be busy always traveling and juggling between meetings suddenly found travel removed from the agenda and with plenty of time at their disposal. Thus, entrepreneurs could reach out to one another, connect through common interests, troubleshoot and even expand business to new regions.
Less travel is actually good
Individuals were able to connect, network and utilise their time much more productively. Virtual was not just limited to connecting and networking, but also opened doors to events that had experts from across the world share their learning on varied topics. Events were tailored to address current issues.
Entrepreneur-coached ‘Accountability Groups’ supported new players in navigating the challenges and identifying the opportunities. Mentors worked individually with early-stage entrepreneurs in achieving their goals.
One of the biggest functions of a community of entrepreneurs is to pass on the knowledge gathered from experienced professionals to less experienced entrepreneurs. This is also a place where budding entrepreneurs can find a mentor… and become a mentor for someone else.
The key takeaway is to listen carefully, ask questions, read answers, make this a worthwhile opportunity for the business. If knowledge is power, than entrepreneur communities is where to go to get it.
Entrepreneur communities have many valuable resources which can be untapped through networking, be it vendor introductions or funding and capital access. Engaging with an entrepreneur community can provide excellent opportunities to partner with other like-minded individuals which can broaden and advance success.
Gomathy Ramaswamy is Forum Chair at Entrepreneur’s Organization – UAE
Holds the Accelerator Chair title at the organisation.