I have long since held the view that when it comes to online communities, you reap what you sow. However, you must sow before you can reap. I also feel that our primary intention should be about building relationships with the aim of feeding a community which in turn will feed us.

Taking responsibility for our feelings and understanding how we react to things is perhaps wiser than piling in with our opinions without too much forethought. Feeding those around us with the good things that we feel, rather than focus on being critical, proving how much cleverer we are than others, I feel is a good thing to do. I certainly prefer to be kind rather than right.

You reap what you sow. So …. if that is true then if you want to reap a harvest of pleasantness, positivity, encouragement, support and so on, then you need to sow seeds of pleasantness, positivity, encouragement, support, etc.! It is about cultivating fertile soil and growing relationships that sustain us rather than pouring poison which kills everything.

We also can’t expect others to build community for us. I prefer not to leave it to everyone else to sort and so risking invasion of weeds, pests and parasites that arrive in the form of blatant buy-me advertising, scams and spam.

Ultimately, if you want to reap the rewards of having a successful business then it makes sense to sow the seeds that help others to run a successful business too. Each will feed the other. My investment of time, energy, listening, sharing and so on has more than paid me. I am pretty confident that it will continue to do so for some time to come.

Being online should not be just about sales either. Inter-connectivity opens doors for collaboration, partnerships, serendipitous opportunities, purchasing power, market insights, knowledge, learning, as well as things like raising brand awareness and development of our offerings.

How often should we look at the balance of investment and analyse the debits and credits which measure how much we are putting into cultivating community?

Should we expect to ‘borrow’ before paying back or should we work on cash only basis in which if you haven’t invested you can’t take anything?

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