For the final installment in our series on building a community around your small business, we are going to about a strategy that lets you kill two birds with one stone: Crowdfunding!

We’ve discussed crowdfunding as a financing option before, but today we’re going to focus on its powers of community building. Which means we are going to take a closer look at CROWDFUNDx by the well-known company Crowdfunder.

For the uninitiated, Crowdfunder is an online platform that helps match investors with entrepreneurs. In their words, they want to “democratize access to capital for small business owners who don’t have access to wealthy investors.” Through their ever-expanding network, small businesses and startups are able to get in touch with people who can give their idea a chance to make it in the market.


A recent infographic created by the design firm Gravitate shows just how beneficial a happy work force can be. Citing research done to determine the detrimental effects of stress, the infographic shows just how costly a negative working environment can be in real world dollars and cents.

While no business owner would come right out and say they prefer to have stressed out employees, the fact is that many bosses consistently prioritize the bottom line over the individual. What’s great about the numbers below, is that they demonstrate the benefits of good morale in a way even the surliest of workplace scrooges can understand.


Throughout the month of August we’ve been talking about building communities. So today we’re going to talk about something that’s very important to have once people start engaging in your communities: social media guidelines.

There are several groups for whom you should create guidelines, not only because your business interests need protecting, but also because sometimes people need to be saved from themselves. For whatever reason, social media sometimes seems to make people forget themselves in ways that they never would in face-to-face interactions. And whether or not those mishaps have legal repercussions for you, it’s important to limit them in order to protect the brand you’re trying to build. No matter how much followers may love a brand, if their social media communities become unpleasant or filled with negativity, those followers will start to head for the exits.


Do you ever wish there was an effective and efficient marketing strategy out there that could bring you new customers while at the same time building loyalty with your current ones? Poof — wish granted.

Referral marketing is a seriously underutilized method of driving traffic and revenue by small businesses, likely because of their limited time, budgets, and tech resources. But the good news is that referral marketing doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. Your program can be as simple or robust as you’d like — the important thing is that you have one.


Since our theme on the blog this month has been building community around your business, it seems appropriate that our Webs user example site today should be about community as well. A bit of a departure since we are not talking about marketing a business in this edition, instead we’re going to look at a great website created by a group of high school students in Los Angeles to help in the effort to combat bullying.

The website is the project of Middle College High School students Chinonso Anokwute, Rigoberto Flores Trigo, Carla Torres, Marquis Mark, Maria Espericueta, Zaria Keaton, Stephanie Henriquez, and Miguel Morales. These self-titled Whiz Kids participated in The Aspen Challenge in 2013, a program in which LA area students came together to work on issues that matter to them and present their solutions.


With the plethora of social media platforms available now, it’s possible to reach a diverse audience just about anywhere, regardless of their individual media preferences. One advantage of this is the ability to interact and share so much more about your company than just your marketing messages. Inviting your audience into your culture and behind closed doors is a powerful tool for marketing, branding, and even recruiting. Whether you’re looking for employees, partners, or customers, giving 360 access to your business is a great strategy to try.


When it comes to creating community around your small business, there are lots of different routes to take. We’ve talked about creating community with offline efforts, in-kind donations, and rewards programs. Today we’re going to talk about creating a literal community using established social media tools.

There are three major providers of social media communities: Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Because we are talking about communities with a business and marketing focus, we’re going to exclude Facebook for today, since you have to join or create a group from a personal profile instead of business page on this platform.


Today’s guest post comes from Don Fornes, CEO at Software Advice. Based in Austin, Texas, Don founded Software Advice in 2005 after working as a software analyst at an investment firm and as a corporate development executive at a pioneering CRM software company.

Organizing corporate files tends to be one of those to-do list items that is consistently overlooked or pushed aside — especially if you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner exclusively focused on growing revenue and keeping the lights on. However, I learned first hand just how detrimental neglecting this task can be.


For today’s post in our series on creating community around your business, we’ll turn to Webs’ Head of Marketing, Rochelle, to hear about her first-hand experience with a local charitable organization.

It can be really difficult to think of new ways to create community around your small business–especially when you have your hands full with so many other tasks and demands.  One of the most effective community-creating strategies I’ve seen in action is in-kind donations: donating your business’s services or goods to other organizations (specifically non-profits) that can benefit from them.


Many businesses have discovered the benefits of marketing tactics that build community, like sponsorships, in-kind donations, and rewards programs. But some organizations make offline community events such an integral part of their strategy that their outreach takes on a brand of its own.

What is the advantage of this? For one thing, having your business or organization visible in as many arenas as possible is always a good thing — online, social, offline, etc. Also, offline tactics tend to appeal to more than just your core target audience, allowing you to access people you might not otherwise have found.



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