We all need each other – Pam Slim
I am a Pam Slim fan from her early days with the Escape From Cubicle Nation blog and book to her latest coaching offerings, most recently the Indispensable Community Tour. I attended the NYC leg of the tour, and it was an interesting half-day of meeting new people (and reconnecting with some old friends), as well as hearing Pam’s unconventional tips for business owners. Here are my three favorite takeaways:
People are connected by mission, not by demographic
So much of traditional marketing advice is about knowing your customer’s demographic – age, income, gender, race, etc. But Pam highlights that we don’t self-identify that way. Demographics frequently cross over by mission, interest, value, and need. My A-ha moment? Focus on what mission you’re serving, and build your community this way, not the typical by-demographic school of thought.
A community needs to be continually nurtured
You can’t just build a rabid fan base one time. You need to continually check-in, provide service, and foster member-to-member communication, in order to form lasting community. This is a great reminder not to fall for the get-rich-quick schemes that flood the business blogosphere. I also love the choice of “nurture” as the action here. My A-ha moment? Continue to serve, well after the initial exchange.
Work yourself out of a job – you are but one part
Picture a circle with your customers at the center, and you are one part of the circle supporting them, but there are others – other business owners, information, organizations, opportunities. Traditional advice encourages business owners to think of themselves as the center and their offerings as the parts. Pam calls this empire-building. Community-building puts your customer in the center, and you as a supporting part. Ideally, you even work yourself out of a job as your community builds its own leadership capacity and can exist without you. My A-ha moment? You can still serve your community, even as you move on to other things, if you’ve built up a community to lead itself.
The Indispensable Community Tour is still roaming North America. Let me know your A-ha moments if you attend!
***For more career advice (this time, from Connie and Caroline and this time, RE: employment, not small business), join us for a free webinar series: Confessions of a Former Recruiter. We’re both former recruiters, hiring entry-level thru executive for multiple industries, and we’ll share what works and what doesn’t for resumes, interviewing, negotiation, and more! Join us, starting September 9.***