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Four Thriving Communities to Learn From

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I’ve gotten lots of questions about HOW to build a thriving community into a business. While I have some ideas about that, I really want to spur your thoughts and creativity around the subject. So, I’ve put together a short list of some kickass communities that really get it right.

Some a large, some are small. You’ve heard of some; you haven’t heard of others. And all of them have something to teach us. Get a pen and paper so you can make notes about how to apply what your reading. ūüôā

Running Room

Running Room COULD be just another store that sells stuff runners want. Lots of stores do that and are quite successful. But the Running Room, a successful chain of Canadian stores,  decided to be much much more than that.

With terrific insight into what their customers (and potential customers) REALLY want, Running Room created both online and offline gathering places for anyone interested in running or walking. If you never buy a thing, you can gather there for a live clinic, find running buddies, start and end your run, participate in their online forums or peruse the list of running events they keep meticulously up-to-date. In short, it’s a place that runners BELONG.

The Running Room knows that loyalty is built by much more than a pair of shoes.

Have you created a gathering place in your business?

Verdugo Woodlands Dads Club Inc

I don’t know about your experiences, but when I think of organizations involved in elementary schools, I always think that they are comprised of women – moms to be exact.

Not in Glendale California.

The Verdugo Woodlands Dads Club, in existence since 1957, owns and operates a youth house for the children of the community. The house is used for school and community activities like Scouts, Pancake Breakfasts, Little League meetings, and  special classes. The Dads Club sponsors the school robotics team and raises money through a totally dad run talent show to provide extras for the school above and beyond the regular PTO contributions.

These dads choose to build a community for themselves and for their children in an arena that many consider “woman’s domain” because they are passionate about their children.

Is your community built around passion?

Harley Davidson

If any business has “community” at its core, it’s Harley Davidson. Harley owners are absurdly passionate about their bikes and gather in clusters on any given sunny Sunday and the corporate office does everything in their power to encourage and foster this passionate connection.

Go to the Community page on the corporate site and you won’t find just one community of Harley enthusiasts to join. You’ll find FIVE, each appealing to a specialized group with specific needs and interests: ¬†women riders, military riders, Hispanic riders¬†, the Iron Elite and a general owners group.

Are you paying attention to the diverse needs of your community?

TUT

No discussion about creating community would be worth it’s spit if it didn’t include a conversation about TUT. TUT (Totally Unique Thoughts) started in 1989 as a shop selling t-shirts to tourists. Fast forward to today and TUT is now and “Adventure Club” with 385,000 members world-wide complete with a charitable 501(c)3.

How did TUT make such a leap? There are many reasons I supposed, but I believe TUT tapped in early to our deep deep desire to tap into the often elusive magic of live. That, paired with the owners uncanny ability to deliver that magic, has created a thriving, wildly profitable community that combines online and offline gatherings to create an unparalleled bond with its members.

What deep desire does your community tap into?

As you can see, there are all kinds of ways to approach this thing called community and build it into your business plan. The question is, are you going to sit there and read about how these organizations do it or are you going to start making notes on how you can start adding community into your business, right now?

Would love to hear your ideas about that in the comments!!

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