“Community” is one of those interesting words that gets used in many different places and many different ways. When you look at your business, how important is “Community” to you and your business? Also, how do you define “Community?”
For instance, there is the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC). This is a “community” setup by Microsoft for Partners focusing on SMB around the world. Also, many of you belong to SMB, Partner, or SBS Groups in your areas. Those too are types of “Communities,” would you agree? Or how about the online “Communities” I see so many of you in where you go for information, support, or to converse with your peers? Then there are the social networking types of “Communities” as well.
When you look at the world of business, most every business exists to make money in some way (even non-profits “make” money, they just spend what the make and break even, ideally). The concept of “Community” does not often have that direct correlation to revenue generation though, yet it shows up in so many different business models and environments and there are so many differing opinions on it.
So what I would be very interested in hearing from you is, how do you define “Community,” and how important has “Community” been to your business so far (in any regard, whether growth, startup, revenue, people, etc.) and how important do you see “Community” being to your business today and in the future? For those of you who know me, I am sure you know my take on this; however, this is about your input and thoughts.
Thank you and have a wonderful day,
Eric Ligman Global Partner Experience Lead Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
I don't know why community doesn't show up in books as a tool for running a more sucessful business, it really should. Community gives a consulting business a much broader perspective. That perspective advantage translates into better solutions for the client. When their parter in plugged in to community the benefits go directly to the client and then return to the consultant in the form of additional work and additional referrals.
In the world of IT consulting I would define being a member of the community as participating in the local user group, national and international business and technical groups and actively participating in key vendor beta, forums or what ever resources for participation they make available.
Community is key to the continued sucess of my business and critial to my clients. I don't know that my clients necessarily knew that someone "plugged in" is what they were looking for when they found me. If there was a way to promote that idea to prospective clients I would love to do so.
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Community is a group of like minded people. The size and range varies according to the area of interest, the communication channels and the perceived need for the community.
Community prevails in times of hardship or when there is a void of resources or communication.
Community is all about social interaction - a need to be valued, recognised and associated with a clique.
In relation to the C in SBSC - Microsoft didn't create this community but merely provided a label for a collection of partners to identify themselves with.
Dear mr. Ligman,
I always experienced you as a serious businessman and you should be ashamed for asking this question.
You know all the answers and you also know that SBSC is the worst branding in the last Microsoft decade.
I am sorry to say,
@ Leen - Thank you for your feedback. I assure you that my asking the question is not an effort to see answers I already know, and is sincere in its intent. I will readily admit that I don't know all of the answers, which is honestly why I ask the questions. Yes, I have my thoughts on what some of the answers will be but I believe if you look through the responses so far, you will find a pretty large collection of differing definitions of community in terms of scope, focus, relevance, etc.
I am a firm believer in asking for input directly from the Partner community on various topics vs. having Microsoft just assume they know and go from there. I am not sure how long you have followed the Blog or the User Group but if it has been for any significant amount of time, I believe you will see that I do try to reach out to the Partners for their real insights. I also believe that many of the Partners who know me will attest to this fact.
I would be very interested in understanding more fully the information and feedback behind your statement regarding SBSC. It is apparent that you have some strong feelings about it and I would like to understand more about where the program has and has not worked for you and led you to the opinion you currently have about it today.
Thank you again for taking the time to read the Blog and post your comment.