This past year, I learned the power of community. After leaving my home country of Israel to move to the U.S. to get my MBA, I felt a tremendous void. Who would help me navigate a new culture? Who could I turn to for advice or exam prep?
Soon that void was filled with an incredible academic community and new friends who created a home-away-from-home for me. It was this sense of belonging that gave me the strength I needed to overcome educational, cultural, and professional challenges.
This power of community is similarly beneficial in business. In Israel, my parents owned a successful neighborhood deli, and it was this community support that initially helped them get up and running. Small business owners often face challenges that leave them feeling isolated, but being part of a community helps overcome these challenges.
Here are four reasons why a community is vital for small business growth.
1. Communities foster wellbeing for you and your business
At Salesforce, we believe health and happiness set you up for success. What if you could make a positive impact on your wellbeing with strong social connections? With the help of a community, you can. Research shows strong social connections keep you healthier and more upbeat — and it can even strengthen your immune system and lengthen your life. When it comes to your experience as a business owner, a community can give you a newfound sense of belonging and close connections with people who can empathize with your experiences. Owning and running a business can feel lonely at times, but sharing with like-minded others can energize and help you maintain that growth mindset.
Think wellbeing is only a benefit to you? The truth is, it also helps businesses as a whole. When small business owners prioritize their wellbeing, it cultivates a healthy culture that is broadcast to employees. Business owners can foster a supportive and open culture by encouraging vulnerable conversations, prioritizing work-life balance, and modeling strong social connections, all of which contribute to long-term business growth.
2. Communities help you build lifelong relationships
Networking is a great growth tool, especially for small business owners. Looking to network in a meaningful way? A community makes it easy for you to introduce yourself to new people — so say hello to coffee chats and lunch dates! You’ll likely be introduced to folks in your community’s network, and you may even find help via things like employee referrals, new partnerships, funding, and more.
Leveraging a community's collective knowledge can also help you find a mentor, so you can get advice and hear about real-world experiences from those more seasoned. These relationships can save you time and money as you run your business. Being a business owner is all about finding creative ways to get what you need — and networking is key.
3. Communities help you develop skills
To grow your business, you need to constantly adapt and develop leadership skills. Fortunately, communities can offer diverse networks full of people with varied skills and experiences.
No matter what you want to learn, you can either find an expert that’s willing to help or ask for awesome resources from fellow community members. The best part? These resources will be vetted, saving you time you can instead invest in ways that will be impactful to you and your business. You’ll also be inspired to learn more — free e-learning tools like Trailhead let you share shiny new badges with fellow community members.
4. Communities can serve as a sounding board
We can all fall in love with our own ideas, which is why it’s important to run them by other business owners. When you do, it’s easier to get feedback, locate blindspots, think more critically, and make the right choices about your business decisions.
Practicing openness to feedback with your community can also make you a better leader. When you’re open to constructive feedback and take it to heart, you’re able to drive continual improvement and growth in your business.
Looking for the right community to help your business grow? Join the Small and Medium Business Trailblazer Community; it's dedicated to Salesforce users who want to grow their business. We’ll help you foster well-being, build lifelong relationships, hone leadership skills, and serve as a sounding board.
Salesforce Essentials helps you find more customers, win their business, and keep them happy so you can grow faster than ever. Learn more about our small business CRM solutions by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.