Misbah Quadri on How to Build a Community for Your StartUp in 2022

Preeti Karna Preeti Karna
Jan 31, 2022 4 min read
Misbah Quadri on How to Build a Community for Your StartUp in 2022
This article has been contributed By Misbah Quadri, Founder and CEO, Monofys Media.

I remember the day when I was selected from school, as part of the Gifted and Talented program to attend ‘smart classes’ at Oxford University. I was apprehensive, my mind refusing to emerge from its hibernation mode, my eyes peeping from behind my woolen hat from time to time, like a turtle swinging its neck out from under its shell, trying my best to avoid all eye contact. Seated in the large sessions hall, I was unsure of what to expect next, unaware of who the others around me would be and unwilling to let my vulnerability show, by communicating with anyone around or asking for help. Slowly, the room began filling up and by the time it was time for the lecture to commence, the room was neatly packed with 50 odd students, hailing from different parts of the United Kingdom, all chosen for their exceptional work and more importantly, for their obsessive devotion towards the subject - English Literature. By the end of the first day, I was more at ease with this new bunch of students than I had ever before been in life. And just like that, by the end of the one month program, we had become a community! The one thing that had brought us close together seamlessly was our joint fondness for the subject as well as our combined efforts, teamwork, intention of learning, unlearning and making the most of the opportunity at hand. At the risk of sounding too poetic... our common interest and like mindedness bound us like the pearls of a necklace. I felt like I was home.

That was one of the first few chapters of my life when I was introduced to the feeling of being part of a community. Ofcourse, we are all parts of different communities in our own ways - be it by being born in to a particular religion, sect, nationality, race, political group or even that of growing up to opposing all of these. There are endless categories upon which communities are built. And they are all woven together by the foundation of a shared interest, collective efforts, sense of being rewarded, appreciated and acknowledged. I, as the founder of a startup am in the process of building a community around the shared interests of professionals seeking to engage and build with as a team in the corporate fraternity.

There are a few points I have kept in mind to ensure that I am able to create something substantial which adds value to the lives of those that are choosing to be a part of this circle of trust.

Tips for Building a Community for Startup

Be clear about the intrinsic aim and overarching objective of the community
Don’t plan too far ahead
Humans require appreciation and acknowledgement to flourish
Consistency is queen
Identify torchbearers of the community and delegate duties

Be clear about the intrinsic aim and overarching objective of the community

First things first - it is crucial to know exactly why is the community being formed. Running around in circles, aimlessly, without a set objective will not only not serveany purpose but will also result in a waste of time, resources and energy into building something which will invariably fizzle out. A common destination warrants the construction of a road ahead for all those who are part of the journey. Think of plugging in the core offering or the end goal of your startup in order to build a conducive ecosystem for all team members.

Don’t plan too far ahead

While a lot of successful people will advise you to have a solid plan in hand before you build an entity, I am of the belief that planning too far ahead in life personally or professionally results in artificial glory which lacks the charm of a raw, natural, neutral backdrop. No matter how well prepared you are in life, you can never really anticipate the upheavels that are bound to cross your path. It’s great to have the basics in place, but let the rest flow naturally - at its own rhythm. A thriving community formed by a startup demands embodying originality, freshness and ingenuity.

Humans require appreciation and acknowledgement to flourish

Any community can best operate only when its members feel appreciated for their efforts and for their loyalty. Arranging regular award programs for those contributing on a steady beat and publicly earmarking milestone events in the progress of the community members will ensure that the group feels positively charged, energized and excited while feeling valued for adding value. Keep in mind that particularly in the post Covid era, we are looking at digital platforms (like Whatsapp, Zoom, Skype, Telegram, Clubhouse, etc) serving as the community binders. This makes your job equally easy and tough – balance is key.

Consistency is queen

You can offer priceless resources to the community members but if it is done only at intervals and not on a daily or timed basis, then your efforts are as good as (or as inadequate as) an umbrella during a tsunami. Being looked upon as dependable and inventive are key pillars of a well-functioning community.

Identify torchbearers of the community and delegate duties

No one person can ever achieve the collective goal of a community. One of the most underrated features of putting together a community is delegation of duties. Bifurcate roles and identify key participants of the community and hand over some of the critical roles to these members in order to encourage participation from the others as well as to ensure smooth operations of the group.

Conclusion

The last two years have been nothing less than a learning curve. It is quite sublime to recount how each one of us managed to evolve to take on roles and responsibilities in our individual capacities in ways, unimaginable in the pre-2020 era. There were tears, there was joy - there were mostly tears. But knowing that we were all in this together, somehow kept us going, despite the odds stacked against us. Covid has been a spectacular reminder of how a community can help us cross even the most agonizing tightropes of life.

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