Powerful movements are the result of community. For your small business to be more than just a piece of software (or any other product or service) you need to nurture your customer community.

Communities, tribes, religions, clans, cults and political parties are all just groups of people who share in a common belief, interest or experience; often passionately. The group shares a single common identity.

Clear Books hit the self destruct button on our small business community over a year ago. We used to use a public forum called Get Satisfaction which allowed our customers to interact with the Clear Books team, ask and answer each other’s questions and participate in our small business community. For various reasons we turned it off. We shouldn’t have.

Community is everywhere. Recently I had a short 1-1 meeting with my entire team and asked them what their main interest or hobby was outside of work. What are you passionate about? Responses ranged from watching Manchester United with fellow fans, being part of the crowd at your favourite gig, socialising, going to beer festivals, attending car meet-ups and participating in the developer community.

All gave examples which involved passionately sharing a common interest with other people; a community.

Clear Books is doing a lot of work at the moment to provide the platform to get our community of small businesses back. The first step is to put all our customers’ ideas in the public domain so that they can be shared, commented on and discussed openly. It’s an early release but here is our public Clear Books community.

We’re putting community back at the heart of Clear Books. You should put community at the heart of your business too.

Posted by Tim Fouracre

Tim founded Clear Books in 2008. Like many small business owners he worked from home for 15 months to get his startup off the ground. Today Tim enjoys helping Clear Books, its customers and its growing team innovate and achieve. Tim did his GCE O Levels in Ghana.