Every Saturday, around eight o’clock, you can catch me in a parking lot behind Starbucks at an event called cars and coffee. It’s a semi-pretentious group of guys who like to show off their cars. I’m one of them.
So you come down, grab a cup of coffee, and commingle with all these really cool car guys. There are also sometimes car ladies, like Diane, Lisa, or Joyce. (Joyce made me laugh recently when she said deciding on options for her Porsche was worse than shopping at Lord and Tailor. Perhaps “semi-pretentious” is underplaying it.)
What I love about cars and coffee is how much it shows people care about something they have in common. Even if you’re not into cars it’s worth the study to see how you could create a similar community around (or even within) your business. Is it possible? I think so.
On looking toward what makes community flourish, and having sprouted a few myself, I’ve learned they need a certain kind of nourishment:
Warmth is people coming in contact. A community requires conversation, like bugs need to eat other bugs. It’s how they grow.
Passion is caring about something in common. Cars, video games, working out, coffee, exotic cats, mustaches. People have a passion for almost anything these days.
Philosophy is what you believe in. People who love the GT4 (my car) tend to have a purist philosophy and minimalist mindset. We want a small car with a big engine and a stick. We say it’s not about how fast it can go, but the experience it gives you. That’s our philosophy, and there is no way to prove that it’s right.
Movement is having somewhere to go, and something to do when you get there. Maybe it’s competing, maybe it’s leveling up, who knows. In martial arts you can do both. Same with cars. This is also true in muscle. And just about everything else I can think of.
Look at Pokemon Go and you can see it. People are coming together in ways gamers never before have. There is passion (gotta catch ’em all), philosophy (belonging to one of three teams) and movement (you can battle it out in “gyms”.) It is also a lot of plain, damn fun.
My community, on the other hand, is fitness, and the conversation minimalism. We’re passionate about working out in a smart, efficient way. Within that, we want to move to a higher level in performance and physique. Pretty simple, right? And that’s key. You need to be able to summarize what your community is about.
I invite you to think about what you can do to create a community for the people you serve. Does every business need a community? No. But it can help. Because people talk. And you want people to talk.
So if your business is fitness you need to have something people are passionate about. Is it kettlebells or bodybuilding or something more specific? You need philosophy, or a way of doing things you all believe in. You need movement, a place for people to go and something to achieve. In other words, a goal.
Think about it.