How to create a local business community

For more than 75 years of its history, LEGO made toys exclusively for customers in a closed innovation process but in the early 2000s, facing growing competition from video games and the internet, LEGO found itself on the brink of bankruptcy.

The company continued to struggle before staging a remarkable turnaround. Central to that transformation was a shift in how LEGO approached their customers … they decided to build a community for their fans launching the LEGO Ideas platform. It was one of the best decisions they made ... they are now the world’s largest toy maker.

Customer communities are not just for global businesses with millions of customers many small businesses are using communities to improve their customer experience and create a better product.

I have built several successful business communities and I want to build a unique community of local business leaders, mylocal, and also help businesses to build their own communities.

Building a community isn’t easy, it will take time but it can be worth the effort. Here are the 6 stages I use when building communities.

Decide the purpose of your community

Like every successful local business every successful local business community needs to have a clearly defined purpose.

Start with your team

In a small business your colleagues are not just your colleagues they are your best brand ambassadors, if you work with a highly engaged group of people they will become a solid foundation on which to build a fantastic local business community.

Involve your customers

Successful small and local businesses have great relationships with their customers, so get your most loyal customers involved and think of creating communities using innovative platforms like clubhouse or urfeed.

Create educational blog and email content.

The biggest mistake people make when building communities is trying to sell, you create a community to improve your customers experience, so, share the knowledge that you have gained over yours years of working in your field. Get your customers involved too but don’t bore your community members with endless case studies. Make your content educational, original and entertaining.

Develop a value-driven presence on social media.

If you spend the time to curate great content, you can create great social media posts, sharing exclusive industry tips will engage people outside of your customer base, and these people will soon want to be part of your community.

Embrace a social cause related to your business

Small, independent, local businesses are fundamental to any community, and the most successful businesses understand the importance of supporting local causes. Consider what is important to you and your colleagues and use your community to get behind a worthy local cause.

To be part of the most exciting local business community, The Local, you need to enter The Local Business Awards. Before you enter please read How To Enter and How To Succeed as this will give you the greatest chance of success.

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