STAPLES BizTIPs 4business: Build an online community—Grow your business

By Small Business Expert, Roger Pierce, BizLaunch

Online communities are becoming increasingly popular with large companies eager to connect with customers. Your new small business can start one too. Your online community might include prospects, customers, employees, suppliers and colleagues.

When you build a sizeable community, marketing and selling is much easier because you can simply introduce your products or services. Your online community will also provide feedback on your business, connect you to others and become a source of market research.

Here’s how you can build your own community:

Discover where your customers are. With the bountiful number of social media platforms out there, it is often hard to decide which medium is best for your business. Research, explore and ask your customers where they are in order to find out the best place to start building your community.

Use online applications. The most popular online community development tool is You may also work with, and Call your group something relevant to what you do, such as “Toronto Wine Lovers’ Group” or “BizLaunch Small Business Community.” A clear, common interest is important.

Communicate regularly with your group. The Internet is a dynamic, live environment, so you can’t just create a group and walk away. Someone within your business must be responsible for cultivating your community by posting fresh comments and materials regularly and communicating with group members daily.

Connect your community to your world. Invite your group members to free seminars, networking nights, or other events hosted by your business. Post a link to your blog and website. Upload photos. Share some advice and offer to answer questions. Your online community will be more inclined to return if you are interactive with them and give them something of value.

Roger Pierce

ROGER PIERCE is passionate about helping entrepreneurs achieve success. Co-founder of Canada’s largest small business training company,, he’s launched eleven small businesses of his own and personally experienced what he calls “the good, the bad and the ugly” sides of entrepreneurship.

BizLaunch advises thousands of Canadian startups through its popular how-to seminars and webinars delivered with partners such as STAPLES.

By Adam

May 21, 2010