In growing communities, every town and village will improve if you plant the right seeds, fertilise and water them.
Dreams are the forerunner to community growth
It can be hard to start growing communities, mainly if it has been stagnant for an extended period. It can be even harder to find an appropriate starting point.
If you’re growing a community, be prepared for competition, resistance and lots of it. You will find every passing year; there are more people with more ideas on how to do it imaginable, and across all community sectors
You will face a multitude of issues from the local government inertia to established companies in their comfort zones, as well as young and hungry young people willing to take bold risks and experiment aggressively.
How are you going to grow a more prosperous town or village in such an environment? How can you drive sustainable growth? I do not want to put you off community development; I merely wish to remind you there are no guarantees. Anyone can get into your space and start doing ‘stuff’. So you better be ready to compete.
Will your ideas help growing communities?
Validate your assumptions and make sure the activities and projects you choose will resonate positively so community members will want to buy into them.
Since the 1920s, the pilot has been used to mean ‘serving as a prototype’. As far back as the 1600s, pilot meant ‘to guide’. A pilot episode is used to prototype a TV show, and based on how the audience reacts; it will guide the producers next steps. When the reaction is good, the studio will greenlight the show for a season. If it’s a flop, they’ll cut the show or rework it for another test run.
If you have the expertise, ideas and opportunities you want to turn into supporting community growth, it makes sense to validate them by looking for some initial feedback first.
Your job is to sort through the baggage of the past and the aspirations for the future.
Chicken or egg problems growing communities
Every community has its share of ‘baggage’. It is amongst the people who want to maintain the status quo, people who don’t care, and inadequate community leadership is where you will find the ‘baggage’. On the one hand, you have supply issues, on the other hand, you have demand issues.
Many people love to complain about how competitive their community is, without discussing how important competition is to innovation. Innovation is much more accessible with modern technology as it introduces game-changing products, and services in every community. As a consequence, towns and villages are only going to become more competitive.
If you don’t know how to compete, your community will go into decline, while others who are aware will thrive. The communities who prosper are those where good community design principles are applied, and there is entrepreneurial management involved in managing the ecosystem. Ad hoc approaches to community development have limited effectiveness.
The three keys to community development
Some helpful growth strategies
- Find your unique vision for each project and the community
- Set clear, unambiguous objectives strategies and actions
- Create a business model which supports long-term thinking and growth
- Understand the problems and frustrations involved
- What are the community members wants and needs?
- Build a brand which connects on an emotional level
- Start working with groups with the highest activity levels
- Engage the right people to help you
- Host appropriate meetings
- Look for niches which will have a high impact
- Learn the new skills required
- Start by taking small actions
- Activitate you ideas with enabling technology
- Compete on value, not on price
- Understand the need for cultural and behavioural change
If you are going to play the game, play to win. Learn to deal with and overcome the barriers and frustrations you will encounter.
“Communities, businesses and non-profit organisations thrive when people think entrepreneurially”. Peter Sergeant
“Entrepreneurship is not about just finding solutions; it’s more about making things happen”. Peter Sergeant