Two years ago I gave a talk about the Pardot experience to a group of entrepreneurs in Atlanta. After the event, an entrepreneur approached me saying he was looking for his next opportunity. Immediately, I put him in touch with another entrepreneur that was looking for a co-founder with his skillset, and they hit it off. Now, they have one of the fastest growing startups in town and are doing great. Community building pays off in more ways than expected.
Here are a few ways that community building adds value to entrepreneurs beyond the primary benefit of helping the region:
- Recruiting – We’ve hired a number of team members where the relationship originated at a community event, and if you add in referrals from those employees, the number gets even bigger.
- Lead Generation – One of the earliest Hannon Hill customers was Silverpop, and that relationship started when I approached their CEO after he spoke at an entrepreneur event. On the other side, we’ve signed a number of customers over the years based on relationships that started while helping grow the community.
- Investment – The best investor relationships start well in advance of trying to raise money. I know one entrepreneur that attributes his ability to easily raise money to the fact that he had already built rapport through his community building with his lead investor before he had even started a company.
Entrepreneurs that pay it forward receive significantly more value that they give out. Entrepreneurs would do well to get involved in community building and make a difference.
What else? What are some other ways community building adds value to entrepreneurs?