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The Answer Room: The Importance of Community

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Hello Community, and welcome back to another round of The Answer Room Replay, where I break down exactly what we talked about in our latest Answer Room live event. If you want to join in on the discussions or attend any of our live events, you can join us on social media by clicking the links below.

 

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In our most recent Answer Room event, hosted on the QuickBooks Community Facebook page, we went over the importance of community,  and how you can get involved as both an individual and a small business.

 

So let’s go over what we discussed! 



Community and the Role that it Plays 

How to Get Involved

 

Community and the Role that it Plays

 

What is Community?

 

Community is defined as a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. It’s also defined as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. When we refer to community as it pertains to small businesses, we’re referring to both the local, physical community where the business resides, as well as to the customers or groups of individuals who share in the beliefs, causes, or interests of the small business.

 

When you first think of community, the default thought is local, physical communities, but virtual communities are also incredibly important. A great example of this are environmentalists. If you have a small business that is oriented around similar values to most environmentalists, you can consider them your community and search for virtual ways to connect and get more involved in that community.

 

Another great example of how community can look in the small business world is community amongst small businesses and entrepreneurs. Nobody understands the highs and lows of running a business quite like other business owners, so finding and leaning on a community of individuals in a similar situation to yourself can be beneficial in so many ways. 

 

Physical Community Impact

 

Now that we know what community is, let’s dive into how it can impact small businesses, starting with the local community.

 

I live in a small town that has very few chain businesses in it, so I’ve seen first hand how the local community can make or break small businesses. The businesses that are involved within the community thrive, whereas the small businesses that don’t make their presence known beyond their storefront usually end up lasting a couple years tops, before disappearing again. 

 

Some of the main ways that the local community really can impact business success is reputation and word of mouth. By establishing yourself as someone who cares about giving back in the community, and not just making a profit, you can set your business up for increased success.

 

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Virtual Community Impact

 

If you have an online business, or if you just want to venture out of your local community, there are obviously still tons of benefits to increasing more virtual community involvement. Virtual communities still lean heavily on word of mouth and reputation, so making a name for yourself for being proactive, hands on, and involved with causes that align with your business and virtual community values can help to build that same sense of loyalty and appreciation that we previously mentioned.

 

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How to Get Involved

 

Small Business Owners

 

Again, starting off with local communities, there are so many ways for businesses to get involved. One of the easiest ways is by making donations to local sports, events, and causes. Donations usually come with shout outs or marketing in exchange so, not only are you showing your community that you are a contributing member who cares about the success of others within the community, but you’re also getting your name out there and building that sense of loyalty along the way.

 

If you aren’t in a position to donate financially, you can still show you care by donating your time. Some examples of this could look like volunteering for local charities, helping with local sporting events, joining an event board, etc.

 

Virtual communities may be a bit more intimidating when it comes to deciding how to get involved, but the process is pretty much the same. Find causes, events, or groups that align with your company values and start finding out how you can give back and support them. Not only will you open the door to a larger audience for your business, but you can also use it as a marketing campaign or social strategy.

 

Organizing business partnerships within your community or communities is also an amazing strategy for getting involved and boosting your business success. 

Examples of partnering up could include: 

 

  1. Giving each other shout outs on social media
  2. Creating a joint sales agreement to encourage customers purchasing from both companies
  3. Partnering up to host a community event or support a cause

 

Individuals

 

For those of you that aren’t business owners, it’s just as important for you to get involved in your communities so that it truly can be a win-win for everyone. But, before we dive into how to get involved with the community and support small businesses, let’s clarify why it’s so important to do. 

 

Small businesses create two out of every three jobs, and provide nearly 44% of all of the United State’s gross domestic product, so supporting small businesses means supporting our economy as a whole, and it’s so easy to do.

 

Individuals can get involved with communities in nearly all of the same ways that small business owners can, as well as support their community by supporting the small business that are tied to it. One of the first things I’d encourage everyone to do is take a look at your current spending and identify any spending that may be able to be shifted. For example, can you shop at a local farmers market instead of a chain store? Or choose a local diner for dinner? Or could you do your gift shopping through a local or online small business? These simple shifts could mean all the difference between failure and success for the small businesses around you. 

 

Of course, you can also show your favorite small businesses love in a variety of ways, including:

  1. Leaving them positive reviews
  2. Giving them social media shout outs
  3. Sharing your favorite products or your positive experience via word of mouth

 

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Whether you're a small business owner or an individual, both physical and virtual communities are important. I hope this Answer Room Replay has helped shed some light on the role that communities play, and inspired you to get involved.

That’s all we have to share with you today! If you’re interested in joining us for our weekly live events, you can follow us on our QuickBooks Community Facebook page. 

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