It’s no secret that we’re devoted to our community here at Ormeau Baths. It’s at the heart of everything we do and we’re always looking for new ways to support our community members throughout their journey as entrepreneurs. We believe that building a community as a business owner, has the ability to totally transform your business. Not only does it bring about transformation in the shape of business growth and sales, with new opportunities and connections constantly on your doorstep but being part of a community can also help shift our mindset as entrepreneurs, helping us to shift the stereotypes of what life as an entrepreneur looks like, shake things up when we’re caught in a work from home slump and offer the support system that life outside of a traditional office can sometimes lack. Today we’re sharing three ways that community can help you build your business.
Part of a team
One of the main reasons many of us can struggle when transitioning to working from home and running our own businesses full time is missing that feeling of being part of a team, popping into a colleague’s office to get their take on something or having a chat while making a cup of tea on your break together. Joining a community in the sense of a co-working space helps replicate that. You can still do all of those things (outside of pandemic life) – pop over to another member’s desk to ask them something or send them a message on slack, grab a coffee together and share ideas and feedback or just enjoy the general banter of having others around you. This time you still get to enjoy the freedoms that come with the office not being full of direct colleagues as you may have previously experienced as an employee before starting your business.
When running your own business, it can sometimes feel like you’re running a never-ending race but when you have a community around you, you know that you have people there who are going to keep cheering you on and have your back every step of the way. You’ve got your own support team ready to share news of launches or celebrate with you when you sign off on a big project.
Being part of a community means you don’t have to go through it all alone. The human connection element can often be the most overlooked element when looking at how community helps you to build your business but it’s often the one we crave the most.
A network of people to readily learn from
When you decide to start a business, it’s typically down to the fact that you have an area of expertise and passion that you want to share, whether that’s a product or a service. However, the reality of running a business is that you are in charge of everything – not just your areas of expertise. You’re the one sorting all of the bookkeeping. You’re also the social media and marketing manager. You’re in charge of all of the admin that keeps things running behind the scenes. Many of these aren’t roles you’re used to taking on and may be new to you. The beauty of being part of a community like a co-working space is that you tend to have people from a range of industries and expertise just a few desks over from you that you can learn from.
This can be one of the most valuable elements of how a community can help you build your business. The most important part to remember is to give as much value to your fellow community members as you ask of them so that you’re also sharing knowledge and expertise and can set up more of a skill share dynamic.
Opportunity to collaborate
Where there’s community, collaboration closely follows. As there is often such a diverse range of industries within a co-working community, the opportunities to collaborate are endless. As with building your network in any context, the more people you know and the more connections that you make, the more opportunities that will present themselves. In Northern Ireland especially, word of mouth is an incredibly powerful marketing tool and we’re more likely to team up with people that we already know and work with. People buy from people after all. When you’re part of a co-working community, you essentially have an audience of people who already know you, know your strengths, your work, your expertise and they know whether you’re going to make a good pairing whether for themselves or recommending you to another contact.
Ultimately, the value of community as a business owner is priceless. So enjoy it, make the most of it and build the connections that are available to you as a result of being part of that community. Remember to give value to others where you can and more often than not, they’ll be happy to support you in return.