Why Didn’t the People Come?
When people ask my help, it’s often to avoid or to remedy a situation like this one.
He had a dream, an idea, for a new business. It was a product and a service. He saw it in its glory. It was part store, part community bustling with transactions. He saw the people coming — they knew they couldnn’t wait for it.
So he got busy building that dream. He invested time, money, and enthusiasm in something …
- that he thought was cool.
- that was costly, but “worth” it.
- that was harder to use than he realized.
- that he didn’t know how to sell.
- that he imagined would get people change how they do what they do
- that someone else had already built — better, faster, less expensively.
Nothing happened. No one lined us. No bustling community developed. The dream was built and no one lined up. No one has noticed it. Why?
He didn’t remember to talk to the people who were supposed to come.
Get the People to Come Before You Build It
Suppose, instead of building that business and offering it to them, we invited the people we want to serve build the business with us? The culture of social media and social networking offer huge opportunities to build a business with a community rather than for them.
In the 18th and 19th rural North America, building a barn — the most important structure of farm — required many hands and many skills. Time was often short and funds could be tight. Barn raising was the work of an interdependent community that saw barns as an important part of life.
A barn raising used to be a one- or two-day event. Materials were purchased and plans were finished ahead. When the community came able-bodied and quick-minded members could start right in. Barn raisings were lead a barn raiser who with a well-thought plan who was paid to identify and manage crew chiefs, specialists, and volunteers for “pitching in.” New barn raisers were expected to watch before they took up their work.
A barn raising is the ultimate community collaboration to complete a common, organized goal.
Barn raising a business in the social media culture offers the business and the community members who participate clear benefits. Here’s why your social media business building should be a barn raising.
- A community needs a plan and organization to build. We can’t fool a community by building parts that don’t work together. We can’t get stuck or be moved to fall in love with our own ideas.
- Enlisting a barn raiser and crew chiefs keeps your plan organized and on schedule.
- Ideas and costs get questioned.
- We have to be able to explain how things will work, what makes them useful, and why they’re worth building
- We all gain skills and relationships from participating in the process.
- The final business reflects the needs and values of the community that built it.
- Participants showcase their best work in a short-term commitment
- The process provides a product or service has proven its worth by the community support.
Barn raising builds the community at the same time that it builds the business that will serve us. Everyone who has participated is invested in its success. Don’t just think … do.
Ever been part of a project that worked like a barn raising?
What would be the first step in helping some get a social media barn raising started for their business idea?