In 1943, American psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed humans have five basic needs, from biological needs such as food and water, to more complex needs including respect and freedom. Though still debated in the psychology world, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be a useful tool for business owners to use in marketing and building their brand.
In particular, business owners should pay close attention to Maslow’s third need – the need to be social. This speaks to mankind’s intrinsic need to be loved, feel included and to have a sense of belonging. In simpler terms, your customers are looking for a community to belong to and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to build that community around their business.
As a serial entrepreneur, Mandy Balak of The Ace Class understands the importance of building a community. “Community for a business is, in my opinion, imperative as you have a collective of people who are there to provide feedback, support and come together to connect with one another,” said Mandy. “Trust is the foundation of community and when you have trust, you gain the ability to lead with permission rather than authority.”
Mandy was inspired to follow her entrepreneurial persuits in order to find freedom, but it might not be the type of freedom you’re picturing. “I believe that freedom is something that entrepreneurship offers. Now, let me define this in my words before you start imagining me with my feet up drinking pina coladas on the beach,” shared Mandy. “Freedom is the ability to work on the things I feel most passionately about, in the environments that inspire me – freedom comes with great responsibility.”
In addition to The Ace Class, Mandy is the founder of It’s Date Night, Branded Magazine, Best of Calgary and teaches spin at YYC Cycle. “I am blessed to have a very creative mind and seeing ideas come to life is very rewarding to me which is why I enjoy taking on multiple projects,” explained Mandy. “This constant pursuit to grow and expand what I’m capable of keeps me motivated to see projects through.” The connecting thread from business to business has been the need to cultivate a strong, engaged community. And meeting that challenge is where she excels.
So how can other entrepreneurs tap into the success Mandy has seen in order to build their own community? Start by looking internally and digging into your why. “Having a real foundation of values and purpose, with a clear message can support finding a tribe and building a community around these values,” said Mandy. Then begin to communicate these values through your social media channels.
One of the key benefits in building a community around your business is the ability to gain direct feedback on your business from engaged customers, almost instantanious. “Social media gives us the ability to survey and engage on the fly to validate ideas – use it. The notion of build it and they will come is and old, dated theory. Validate, ask for opinions often – move fast and implement, break things, try again,” said Mandy. This can be critical in ensuring activities like new product launches or shifting your business hours results in success.
If you want to see a business utilizing their community successfully, look no further than The Ace Class. They offer events and experiences for women of all ages and walks of life and support women to connect with one another in meaningful ways. Having launched in the spring of 2017, The Ace Class has already hosted over 5,000 women at their events.
Written by: Megan te Boekhorst, Event Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada