The A-Z of building community

Making your connections count

Is what you’re doing to build community growing clusters – piles of business cards, likes, links and followers? Clusters gather dust and their worth is just a number. Zero.

Your time is your greatest resource and it’s precious.

Collecting clusters when you could be building your clan on and offline, is not only wasteful of this limited resource, it undermines your intentions and puts shackles on your energy.

Clans share intent and purpose
When you’re crystal clear and focussed on ‘why’ you do what you do and you communicate it with passion and intent, you make meaningful connections. Engaging your connections in your purpose builds a clan.

There’s never been a better time to build a clan
We live in an era where the combination of head, heart and the web can create a collective inspiration that will supercharge your business while making a difference to others. Here’s to the power of your clan.

Clans. A business community aligned to a common cause that advocates, acts and buys.

The A-Z of Building Community

A. Antennae. Tune in. Be alert in conversation on and offline, to the little gems that deep listening will deliver as to how you can help, add value or refer on. These nuggets are a primary cue to connection.

B. Blog to build. Like anything rewarding, building an advocating clan takes time and effort. You must first lay down solid foundations based on clarity of purpose and cemented by purposeful communication. Without these, your future efforts will be random and as ephemeral as a house of cards.

C. Conversation. “Buy my service or product”, or “You’ve got a problem, I can fix it,” in any format – your site, sales brochure or networking is a non starter for a genuine conversation. When it’s based instead on a shared passion and a common purpose, it will transform into the animated conversation of a partnership.

D. Delve. There are powerful tools online with which to delve and foster curiosity. When driven by passion, curiosity cannot be contained. Then every click has the potential to present someone new with whom you can build a relationship and who is fresh with different ideas.

E. Engage. You’ve done the work to find your clan members, now you need to engage them. A vivid vision supported by your generosity, humour, quirkiness and inclusivity will build trust. Once engaged in your vision, enrolment and collaboration will follow.

F. Focus. Business owners are ideas generators constantly in the thrall of another idea or opportunity. Clan Makers are focused. They have narrowed their remit and focussed on it with laser intensity. It is this single mindedness of vision and purpose that cleaves a clan.

G. Generosity. We no longer need to hug our intellectual property to our chest like a tight-fisted scrooge. The more generous you are with your encyclopaedia of knowledge and expertise, the more you connect. Share it, teach it, blog it, make videos of it, give it away.

H. Humour. Laughter attracts and connects and is essential to healthy relationships. Clans thrive in an environment that fosters celebration and laughter. Grinning is good.

I. Inclusivity. A key to engaging communication, your visitor needs to feel invited in, made to feel at home and introduced to the others. They shouldn’t feel awkward or out of place. Inclusivity fosters involvement from those who consider they’re already part of the team and that their contribution is valued.

J. Just. When we ‘just’ do what we have to, we live in an abbreviated and colourless world. When we actively seek to be ‘just’ in all our dealings, with clients, staff and suppliers and further ask, “What is ‘just’ for us to do beyond our bottom line?”, we become change makers and supercharge our lives.

K. Keywords. These little online gems have the power to bring into the frame a person who is looking for you or for whom you are looking. Not just through the auspices of the search engines, but from your exploration of an interconnected world. Keywords can bring into your inbox someone you want to converse or collaborate with or learn from on a daily basis.

L. Lizard. This reptilian brain lurks at the base of our skull and fiercely counters empire building in favour of keeping us trapped in safety and comfort. Its insidious whisperings, “Why should you care about any body else? Who would listen to you anyway?” stifle any clan building endeavour. You can turn a deaf ear or you can placate it by making it believe you live in abundance.

M. Momentum. Successful clans start small but are organic. They gain momentum and spill out in areas you may not have foreseen. If you empower those within your clan to harness that momentum, they will foster enrolment.

N. Nurture. Nurturing is creative. What nurture can you provide that will fire up your clan to act and deliver on your shared purpose? Nourishing your clan is communicating, involving and empowering them so that they can fulfil your agreed outcomes.

O. Online. Being online is essential to clan building. It’s also a Medusa that allures us into time sucking vortexes and energy depleting black holes. The goal online should be to develop a coherent, implementable daily plan for only those activities that will find your most wanted connections and to nurture your clan.

P. Passion and purpose. People come together through shared passion and purpose. This fusion sparks enormous energy and drive and makes possible what was previously unthinkable.  Its being in passion that turns work into play.

Q. Quirky. Quirky folk are a brand of one. Clan Makers are quirky, because they’re unashamedly passionate, believe intensely in their purpose and communicate it in their unique voice. If you’re censoring your quirkiness for fear of rejection or ridicule, tell your Lizard Brain to stop it’s nonsense and instead shine a light on your difference.

R. Reciprocity. Giving for mutual benefit. The ratio for reciprocity has shifted, no longer you scratch my back and I’ll do the same for you. Now it’s about giving and giving more and yes, the universe allows for the fact that when you do, you’ll be rewarded. But this must come with authenticity. If you give solely to get, your clan will know and disperse.

S. Story telling. Everything you do and know about that is aligned with your passion and purpose is a story. The difference you and your clan make is a story. Each of your clan members has a story. Tell it. Talk it into your phone. Transcribe it. Spread it. It will both enrol your clan members and find those who relate to and wish to engage with you.

T. Trust. Overused, but not overrated. Apply the Trust Monitor to everything you read or might buy. Rate it on a scale of 0-10, against Authenticity, Competency, Disclosure, Inclusivity and Transparency. Then apply the same filters to your communications and products. To foster Trust they should be close to 10 all of the time.

U. Unity. A clan is unity. It shares intent and purpose. It’s a complex whole, very often made up by communities within communities. It’s this structure that gives it its strength and infuses it with the ability to make change.

V. Vivid vision.
It’s painting your vision in vivid splashes of colour prolifically and with passion, that will stir and move your clan. A vivid vision is animated – a living thing which grows in intensity the more you talk about it, invite others to talk about it, muse and reflect on it. It’s essential to building your clan.

W. World Wide Web.  It’s the web in all it’s myriad complexity that grants each of us the power to be a change maker and build a community-contributing clan. To make it work for you, you need first to control all your online spaces and second, to have a coherent and simple online action plan for only that which you can implement within your daily life.

X. ‘xcitement! Excitement is contagious. It infects everyone surrounded by it with a belief in what’s possible and the energy to achieve it. Creating excitement is a buzz. It’s play, defined by place and time and you and your clan will generate it because you want to be in that space.

Y. Year. Working five days a week, eight hours a day and allowing for holidays, there are about 1,800 working hours in one year. Marketing lore suggests you spend ten percent of your budget or time on marketing, which would be 180 hours a year or 3.75 hours a week. Your best marketing is your community. Give yourself permission to use these hours to build your clan.

Z. Zest. Sparkle, ardour, exuberance, passion, vigour. Zest is the exploding energy for what you love to do. The hallmarks of Clan Makers. Brim full of ideas to inspire more abundance, change and goodness, they supercharge their lives while making a difference to others.

Building a community-contributing clan that will grow equity in your business while reducing inequity for others, requires a process, detailed in the book, Clans as the 7C Plan to Clan: Clarity, Curiosity, Coherence, Control, Communication, Connection and Collaboration. Applied with commitment, compassion and consistency, this process will build a rock solid community.

Please join me for a Build A Clan Discovery Session.  Times, details and venues are here.

These are intimate get-togethers of like minded business owners, who explore the concept and value of community, where they are now with building it, where they’d like to be, and obstacles, challenges and opportunities on the way.


  1. says

    I admit I was keen on getting to X… that’s always the tough one, right? Love Q! Love S! And love G! All characteristics of the Carnival, for sure. I daresay you should create a “cluster” here… a good one! A deck of alphabet cards so we can keep them in our pockets and pull them out for inspiration, hang them on the bulletin board and be inspired!
    Carol Lynn recently posted…4 Things My Cats Can Teach You About MarketingMy Profile

  2. SandyMc says

    Ohh, loving that idea Carol Lynn. A cluster of cards to be inspired. Thank you! That has my creative brain fired up. And as there are 52 cards in a pack it gives me the opportunity to get all those other wonderful words into the pack. I kept thinking of them after I’d written the A-Z and weighing up which one would get a run! Yes G & S have some synergy I think. And Q. Well the Word Carnival folk would have to love that as they are all masters of quirkology!

  3. says

    Thanks for your gift Sandy. These are great reminders of what’s important as we navigate the minefield that can be online marketing/strategy/solutions. Competing for space for the necessity of it, has always felt irksome to me, so to read so many gems is a great guide and check point to keep me on track and focused as I step up and share my Be Brilliant Now message. Knowing my clan will actually love my freshness and flair (or quirkiness as you so brilliantly put it), compels, inspires and excites me to get on and do it. And it’s unanimous – as you may have guessed my favourite was Q too! Thanks for sharing. Have a beautiful day. xx
    Julie-Anne Black recently posted…Rapport isn’t a dirty word!My Profile

    • SandyMc says

      Well, Jewells you were the inspiration for the quirkology post, so indeed your clan should and would love your freshness and flair. I agree competing for space is irksome, so I’m delighted if some of these A-Z thoughts might act as a guide for you not having to be bothered with that, but rather just enjoying contributing and putting your wisdom out there.
      SandyMc recently posted…The A-Z of building communityMy Profile

  4. says

    How refreshing! Thanks Sandy – and Carol Lynn, you’ve both written outstanding blogs and I’m taking some gems from both.
    I have stories with clients to get recorded and transcribed (just one of your gems Sandy) and I love the focus of a cat – and the awareness of what’s high quality :-)
    And Jewells! Great to see your enthusiasm here too!
    Going offline now. Time to focus.
    Cheering you all on,

    • SandyMc says

      Hi Kerrie, how lovely to hear from you. Hope that you get some gems from the next round of Carnie blogs, about to go up tonight! Thanks for your feedback which is greatly welcome. Sandy


  1. […] by SandyMc on February 14, 2013 · 0 comments A. Antennae. Tune in. Be alert in conversation on and offline, to the little gems that deep listening will deliver as to how you can help, add value or refer on. These nuggets are a primary cue to connection. From the A-Z of Building a Community. […]

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