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Building a Business from Scratch: Using Community for Growth 

There’s strength in numbers, especially when it comes to building a business. In a recent conversation with Aisha Taylor Issah, the founder of Sistahs in Business, Ramon Ray gleaned insights on Taylor’s entrepreneurial pursuits — with universal insights into the power of community in startups. This article offers some of the essential tips and takeaways for business owners navigating the challenging yet rewarding entrepreneurship journey. We’ve also added some insights of our own on building a community from scratch as a startup business owner.

The Power of Community in Business

Community in business is more than just a network — it’s a support system, a source of inspiration, and a catalyst for growth. A thriving community can have a tremendous impact on business endeavors. Consider, for instance, the broad reach of the Zone of Genius network, which has become a hub for collaboration, mentorship, and shared success.

Indeed, there’s common ground between Zone of Genius and Sistahs in Business, underscoring the universal importance of fostering a sense of belonging and collaboration within business communities.

6 Top Tips for Business Startups

Anyone who has started a business or attempted to do so can concur: A business startup is no walk in the park. Surrounding yourself with the people and resources you need makes it easier to make incremental progress toward your goals and pursue your passions. Here are six top tips to help you along in your entrepreneurial journey.

1. Establish a Solid Support System

It takes a village to build a business, from mentors who offer advice and best practices to collaborations with like-minded businesses to the community you build among your target audience.

Taylor emphasizes the importance of a solid support system that can guide startups during challenging times and propel startups toward success. “It really is a matter of finding your people, right?” she says. “So sometimes we think that our family — our bloodline, or the people in closest proximity to us — will be our support system, and unfortunately, sometimes they are not. And so what you then have to do is be intentional about finding your people.”

Being intentional means seeking out the support system that’s there to uplift you when times are difficult as well as challenge you to be your best version of yourself in business. That’s what it means to find your people, and you’ll find that your people will become your chosen family who is always there as a source of support, accountability, and inspiration.

2. Leverage Technology and Online Platforms

Leveraging technology and social media for community engagement is a no-brainer for businesses today. Online platforms allow you to connect with a broader audience and build a virtual community. Benefits of connecting with your audience online include:

  • Global connectivity: Online platforms allow you to connect with a global audience eager to hear your message.
  • Virtual communities: Leveraging technology allows businesses to expand their support system, fostering a sense of belonging, shared purpose, and mutual support.
  • Authentic engagement: Online platforms facilitate authentic engagement, providing a direct channel for communication and feedback. Participating in online conversations builds trust and offers real-time insights into your target customers.

3. Nurture Relationships

Building a community is not just about transactions; it’s about cultivating genuine connections. As such, networking is all about building authentic relationships within your business community.

When you nurture relationships, you’re not just thinking about what you can get from someone but what you can give in return. It’s important to approach relationships with a mindset of giving back and adding value.

Actively engage with your community, provide value, and foster connections. The more genuine and mutually beneficial your relationships, the stronger your community — and your support system — becomes.

4. Be Adaptable

It’s easy to get stuck in your ways when you’re used to doing things a certain way. However, if the past few years since the pandemic have taught us anything, it’s that businesses have needed to stay flexible in the face of change.

Being adaptable makes you better able to respond to market changes and develop innovative solutions to business challenges. Think about how businesses adapted when the world shut downshifting to virtual meetings and conferences, food delivery, online services, and other alternate ways of doing business.

Life as we knew it before 2020 has changed, and businesses have changed with it — or else they’ve been left behind.

5. Strategically Manage Finances

You can’t overlook the importance of budgeting, resource allocation, and securing funding as a business owner. Your budget is your financial roadmap, allowing you to allocate resources in a way that aligns with your business goals and mission.

Sound financial management goes beyond profit margins; it reflects the purpose behind your business. In the case of Sistahs in Business, there’s an underlying mission of supporting entrepreneurial women of color. This purpose infuses every financial decision, from budgetary considerations to resource allocation strategies.

In effect, the business’s financial health is tied to fulfilling its mission, reinforcing the importance of purposeful financial management in the entrepreneurial journey.

6. Cultivate a Culture of Positivity and Innovation

A positive mindset can help you navigate challenges, stay resilient, and inspire your team. By leading with positivity, you can celebrate your team’s contributions and encourage innovation. In turn, your team will stay motivated to think creatively and feel like valuable assets to your organization.

A culture of innovation also enables your company to stay ahead in a competitive market, as your team feels encouraged to think outside the box.

Final Thoughts

There’s an undeniable power of community in business — providing a dynamic support system, a source of inspiration, and a catalyst for continued growth. If you’re considering starting a business, your best bet is to start your journey with intentionality, purpose, and an awareness of the strength you can find in community and genuine connections.

Care to learn more about Sistahs in Business and the Sistahs in Business Expo celebrating entrepreneurial women of color? Visit https://www.sistahsinbusinessexpo.com/ for information and inspiration.

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