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Why Small Business Owners Benefit from Online Business Communities

By Kathleen Allardyce🔹

An online business community can be a valuable resource for small business owners who are seeking personal and professional growth that will translate into accelerated growth for their businesses. It is not solely a networking community, or a social media community. A branded online business community is established to bring people together around a shared purpose for collaboration and growth.

Since many small business owners may not know how an online business community works, let’s take a look at the benefits of belonging, and how Cove operates to help small business owners scale their businesses.

Benefits of Belonging to an Online Business Community

When you join an online business community that targets a topic you are interested in, you will see benefits that differ from anything else you do online.

1. Establish Authentic Relationships

The relationships you create on Facebook or LinkedIn are often hit and miss relationships. You may have a brief interaction with another person while publishing a post or replying to another person’s post. However, very often those contacts are fleeting. You may never communicate with that person again.

In an online business community, you are exposed to others who share your specific purpose in being a member. You will feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself, filled with like-minded people.

2. Overcoming Challenges

An online business community typically consists of people looking for insight on issues they face, and people who can provide that insight. The objective is to establish relationships that last longer than one-sentence replies to a complex question like you’d get in some online resources. Members feel part of the community and are willing to offer their expertise and learn from others.

In many cases, members find experts that they can collaborate with on an ongoing basis. It’s a benefit to the person seeking assistance because they have a community relationship with someone who can help them solve a problem. It’s a benefit to the person providing the assistance because it gives them an opportunity to promote their services and discover potential clients who share their purpose.

3. Insight on Required Resources

Regardless of the industry you’re in, you need professional business tools to run your company. For example, think about Customer Relationship Managers (CRMs), financial applications, or internal collaboration tools. In an online business community, you can discuss various resources you’re looking for and get insight from your peers about the selection process. You might even need a resource from another member who will be especially interested in helping you succeed.

4. Education Tailored to Your Needs

Most communities will provide educational opportunities that are tailored to your common purpose. This means that you’ll have access to in-depth learning opportunities that relate specifically to your business concerns.

5. Privacy with a Closed Community

Most online business communities are closed platforms, meaning that only members can access the platform and participate in the community activities. On social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, groups seem to be private, but the entry requirements are typically low. Membership doesn’t truly create a feeling of community and there is little privacy if you want to discuss a sensitive topic. A business community is a place where membership means something.

How Does Cove Operate as an Online Business Community?

Cove’s goal is to help small business owners in the United States to expand their personal and professional skills to better prepare them to help their businesses grow. Here’s how we achieve that goal.

1. We Create a Diverse Membership That Shares a Common Goal

We look for members who are small business owners in the United States who have been in business for at least one year. Our application elicits information to ensure that applicants are business owners who would fit well with the existing membership and with our goals. For example, we wouldn’t accept members whose sole purpose is to sell their services to other members.

We want to continue to develop a community full of people with experience in a variety of industries who have different skills, expertise, and points of view. Keeping the diversity within the community will give each member the benefit of outside-the-box thinking.

2. We Focus on Communication

Within the community, we have forums that facilitate asynchronous sharing. The purpose is to let members get to know one another, collaborate, network, learn and market themselves. We’re also active in communicating with our membership to find out what education and resources will help them reach their goals.

  1. The Welcome forum is a place where new members can introduce themselves and start the process of becoming part of the community.

  2. The Convo Cove is a supportive forum where you can get answers to business-related questions and celebrate achievements.

  3. The Resources forum provides an opportunity to share and discuss business resources such as business tools, interesting webinars, or blog posts that address a business issue.

  4. In the Marketing forum, you can request help with cross-promotion. For example, if you post a new LinkedIn post, you can ask other members to share it on their network to help spread the word. There’s also a space where you can share marketing tips as a bite-size learning opportunity.

  5. In the Cove Collab portion of the forum, you can indicate that you are seeking a collab, or showcase your expertise to attract collab requests. If you’re not interested in collabs, you can indicate that in your profile. If you’re considering a collab partner, you can learn more about them by visiting their profile to see their posts and comments.

3. We Provide Resource Information

You’ll find information about free or affordable business tools on the platform. These can help you choose tools that will support your business and discuss the tools in the Resources forum.

4. We Provide Educational Opportunities

We provide educational opportunities that will help you increase your business’ value. The training is structured to cover all areas of running a small business. For example, our first course is titled, “Navigating Contractor Hiring.” Members have ongoing access to all courses and can review them as often as they’d like. Non-members can purchase individual courses.

As the community expands, we will provide weekly Explore Together sessions that will include activities like members sharing their sales pitch and having experts and members help to improve it.

5. We Provide a Return on Your Investment in the Community

We want our members to get a return on the investment they make in Cove membership. Our fees are structured to allow members to afford membership and get solid value. If you’re curious about Cove membership math, use our calculator to uncover additional revenue you could realize as a Cove member!

How Is Cove Different from Other Online Business Communities?

There are other business communities out there, but Cove is the community for small business owners that will make a difference in their business growth. For example, some other communities:

  • Are only for specific business owners such as consultants, women, working moms, or those who own a specific product. Cove is for all small business owners and focuses on helping those owners succeed.

  • Are for networking only. These communities don’t support people looking for experts and experts looking for clients to easily find one another—or avoid each other! Cove encourages collaboration, not selling products or services.

  • Are geared toward a specific type of learning like marketing. Cove provides education on all business topics of interest to small business owners.

  • Don’t involve membership in tailoring the platform. In order to get the most from Cove, we want our members to let us know what they need to succeed.

Where to Go from Here

Joining the Cove community can give your business the momentum it needs to help you reach your goals. If you share the objectives Cove has set, now is the time to join Cove and see for yourself how helpful it can be.

If you’re curious about Cove and its benefits, we invite you to subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll receive news about the Cove community, tips, tool recommendations and business opportunities! Or, feel free to contact us for more information.

About the Author

Kathleen Allardyce is a freelance writer who serves forward-thinking companies that want to use effective content marketing to increase leads, convert leads to customers, and grow their business. Business Community


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