Entrepreneur Communities is the business hack every startup needs

Humanity’s ability to collaborate successfully is the reason we, as a species have risen to the top of the food chain. Sreeram Vishwanath explores why communal unity amongst entrepreneurs is the key to business success

Business People Meeting Discussion Working Concept

Building a business is not for most people,” said Gary Vee, and isn’t that gospel truth? It takes great grit and resolve to be an entrepreneur, and it can all crumble with one misstep. It is a lonely affair, with the burden of critical decisions, harsh circumstances, failures and rejections, and even the pressure of maintaining fleeting success falling on the shoulder of a lone wolf, armed with nothing but motivation.

The most successful entrepreneurs have hacked this journey by surrounding themselves with like-minded people who travel the same path and know its trials and tribulations. This article explores how such a community of support could encourage and spur these risk-takers to greater heights for their own benefit and that of society-at-large.

What is an Entrepreneurship Community?

An entrepreneurship community refers to a group of entrepreneurs having differing experiences, varied skill sets, layered perspectives, a plethora of resources, often brought together by overlapping networks, an event, or mere chance.

They say that 20% of small businesses don’t get through the first year, and 79% of businesses have an outstanding debt. The mission of such communities is to help entrepreneurs avoid this fate. The community becomes a hub to help out entrepreneurs in their challenges, pooling their collective capabilities while also pointing each other in the right direction for matters beyond the immediate community – be it highway access for industrial projects, incubators or access to financial capital, connectivity, and other essential policy tools.

Why are entrepreneurship communities important?

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.”

Simon Sinek

Funds, investments, marketing, customer retention – an entrepreneur has plenty of reasons to scratch their head. However, a major obstacle perennially remains their mindset. Caving into the siren call of the ‘comfort zone’ is easier than to persevere and get ahead.

This is where a sound support system, people who can relate to your goals and can support your plight, can offer the necessary objectivity and emotional support. A group of like-minded people who can lend a shoulder or a hand of support could just be the difference for aspirants who seek to make a difference.

The community becomes a hub to help out entrepreneurs in their challenges, pooling their collective capabilities while also pointing each other in the right direction

Apart from internal backing, an entrepreneurial community can only be strong if it is thoroughly supported on numerous ends. It is no surprise that entrepreneurs prefer business hubs like Mumbai, Dubai, or Silicon Valley, CA, when they are grinding away at their idea because these are examples of places that are ripe with opportunity. Thus, support has to reflect in public policy that upholds the business structure – entrepreneurs, resources, capital, technological prowess, transportation, and customer reach. As these threads are woven together, the community can strengthen its resource base and succeed in their endeavors.

Do You Know?

  • The number one reason why businesses fail is that there’s no market need
  • 46% of small business entrepreneurs are between the ages of 41 and 56.
  • 20% of small businesses fail within the first year
  • 62% of small businesses don’t have any staff
  • 79% of small businesses have an outstanding debt
  • 27% of entrepreneurs, the hardest thing is to find talented staff or contractors
  • 62% of small business owners use personal funds to deal with various financial challenges

Source: smallbizgenius.net

Community Platforms

Over the years, platforms have proliferated to make the process of meeting driven business owners easier. Here are a few for your purview:

Tugboat Institute: This is for those who believe that businesses are inherently anti-sustainability, willing to sacrifice the environment for crisp green money instead. Say hello to Tugboat, a Silicon-Valley based institute to encourage ‘evergreen entrepreneurs’.

The institute works with the object of supporting ‘Evergreen’ leaders, their teams, and their companies through recognition, publications, and programs to bring forth inspiration, new ideas, proven best practices about business, family, and life. In addition, their membership system seeks to offer Evergreen CEOs, presidents, and future leaders with a unique and authentic platform to connect with a network of peer groups while helping them access their rich library of content.

Mastermind Talks: It all began in 2012, when Jayson Gaignard began curating dinners in Toronto, Canada, with a small group of entrepreneurs. These invite-only dinners became Mastermind Talks—conferences meant for entrepreneurs driven towards health, wealth, self-improvement, and networking. Today it is a well-renowned institution having extended support to pioneers such as Tim Ferris, A.J Jacobs, Guy Kawasaki, and Mark Echo.

Mastermind talks, which goes by the motto – “Great entrepreneurs are not self-made, but community made” – is a voice-enabled coaching session that caters to various aspects of wellness that determine success in business and life. Support is offered to a select group of entrepreneurs with thoughtfully designed digital and live experiences.

Bumble Bizz: Bumble, the app more prevalent for its dating feature, also houses a business-networking feature that helps people connect for professional networking: Bumble Bizz.

Unlike Bumble Date and Bumble BFF, Bumble Bizz has a separate profile supplemented with information about your work experience, education, certifications, skill-sets, interests, and strengths. The network lets you browse the names of professionals in the respective industries and connect with potential employers, fellow experts, recruiters, making it a place where demand meets opportunity.

However, in keeping with the app’s tradition, when members of the opposite sex match on Bumble, women are required to make the first move, thus shifting old-fashioned power dynamics and encouraging equality at the outset.

StartupNation: Described as ‘crafted by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs’, is a website launched in 2002 by Jeff Sloan, a riveted entrepreneur himself, providing millions with an arsenal of resources for a successful startup, starting with information and inspiration, as well as connections to grow and manage their business.

Networking for Professionals: The network was founded in 2002 (when Facebook or Orkut was not even a wild fantasy) by professionals who wished to offer a twin-networking portfolio of online networking and face-to-face meetings. Their coolest feature is the POD Membership – which gives you the option of joining a ‘focused group of successful and supportive professionals who meet once every two weeks’. Now just how effective is that?

While social media such as Facebook and Instagram weren’t designed with hustle or even productivity in mind, entrepreneurs are nothing if not tenacious in making even unconventional avenues work for them. There’re hundreds of small communities on these platforms educating people on entrepreneurship, investments, and the nitty-gritty of sustaining a business, who further connect them to mentors, customers, and for content creators, even the right audience.

Funds, investments, marketing, customer retention – an entrepreneur has plenty of reasons to scratch their head

Key Ways to Support Entrepreneurs

It’s easy to imagine an entrepreneur community to be a self-sufficient organism, equipped to withstand any turbulence, but that is a rejection of responsibility by other aspects such as government, policy, finance, infrastructure, and societal perceptions, which form the world around them. Let’s understand some indirect ways that external systems could supplement entrepreneurs:

The Influence of the Elite: Established entrepreneurs with thriving businesses can play a defining role in using this community-based approach to focus on economic growth, prioritization of incentives, and strategic planning.

Events That Connect and Motivate: The best way to integrate entrepreneurs is to bring them together on a single stage. A setting where they are rewarded for their hard work and risk-taking, as well as being under the same roof as their own kindred souls, is an invigorating and validating experience for any entrepreneur.

Ease of doing business: Entrepreneurs face unforeseen hassles and find it far less fulfilling to establish start-ups in countries and communities where ease of doing business is low.

Governments, civilians, and the respective local administration bodies must play the vital role of reducing gatekeeping for those who like to enter the world of new ideas and aspirations so that entrepreneurship doesn’t remain restricted to the uber-rich.

In this regard, Dubai is one of the easiest countries to do business due to professional incubators who, apart from helping ease company formation, renders diversified services that simplify the conduct of businesses after their enterprise is fully functional.

Friends of different ethnicities holding hands and laughing, looking at each other. Indoor portrait of blissful international student team preparing for science conference.

Shaping The World in Their Vision

Entrepreneurship renders the community with an identity of its own. Can you ever imagine California without Silicon Valley? Why is the World Trade Centre still a phenomenal memory that no terrorists can ever destroy? What would the UAE be known for without its prowess in being a haven for businesses? How could Bangalore employ millions across the world without the inspiration of Infosys? Places with a strong presence of active, riveted, enthusiastic entrepreneur communities are an inspiration, for they uplift the entire locale with the energy of drive, innovation, ambition, and transition.

There are stories aplenty of entrepreneurs who could have risen high and yet fail to make the mark after displaying mammoth potential. Entrepreneur communities are proving to be real change agents, reducing heavy reliance on external factors and making it easier to carve their entrepreneurial path.

In keeping with their indomitable spirit, more and more communities will emerge and transform the way we introduce entrepreneurs into this world and spur them on. Here’s to a society of fulfilled aspirations, reduced unemployment, and networks and identities that can make the world a more enriched place to live in.

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