Startups and the Value of Vibrant Communities

startup communitiesWhat makes a start-up successful? Why do some start-ups thrive while others failure? Why do some products resonate with users, while similar products fail to get any traction?

There are a multitude of reasons such as features, design, usability, utility, price and customer service, but one of the most important factors for success start-ups is the support of their community.

This was a common theme during a roundtable discussion at the mesh conference last week that featured start-up entrepreneurs from 500px, HomeSav, Empire Avenue and Ladies Learning Code. It was interesting to hear about the value and role of the community to help a start-up thrive and grow.

So why are communities so important?

In many respects, a strong and vibrant community can be a start-up’s most powerful sales and marketing channel. While it’s obviously important for a start-up to execute strategically and tactically, an enthusiastic and supportive community can attract more attention, bring on more users and provide valuable feedback, insight and constructive criticism.

So how are communities established and nurtured?

It really starts when a start-up makes community an integral part of its DNA. The community is a part of the mix from the beginning as opposed to something that’s embraced once a product gains traction.

This lets a start-up support and nurture its community right away, even when there are only a few members. In many respects, the ability to connect with your initial customers is crucial to build a strong foundation.

As the community expands, it is important for a start-up to establish a healthy give and take approach. By providing top-notch customer support, recognizing feedback and contributions, holding “meet and greet” events, going on road trips to meet customers, or by creating valuable and useful content, it helps a community become so much more than just a bunch of people using a product or service.

Perhaps the best thing offered by communities is cohesiveness, continuity and a strong based of loyal users. This is so important at a time when online consumers are fickle, disloyal and distracted by anything new and shiny.

Like anything, communities take time, effort and work to establish, nurture and grow. They don’t happen overnight but they can flourish with the right amount of attention, involvement and carrots.

A couple of questions for you: what startup jump out as having strong communities, and what are the ingredients to create a vibrant community?

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