A community first mindset for founders

As the pandemic accelerated digital adoption and the convergence of the physical and virtual worlds, especially with eCommerce, we have also seen a shift in consumer behavior towards more values-driven, helpful, collectively conscious, and local shopping experiences.

Google reported that searches for “support local businesses” grew globally by over 20,000% between 2019 and 2020. (1)

When I commenced my journey in building a two-sided #dessert #marketplace I did not at first consider that the formation of an engaged and robust community would be a foundational pre-requisite.

Web 2.0 focused on a number of eyeballs, followers, views, and generating advertising revenue. The new Web 3.0 paradigm however encompasses ownership, collaboration, and community where the focus is on delivering enhanced user and product experiences via constant interactions and engagement, including driving the co-creation of new content, products, and ideas (2).

Web 3.0 utilizes open internet protocols, distributed blockchain technology, and grants digital assets (tokens) to incentivize its users for their activity and advocacy in the community. It is a new way of building companies and products.

There are no shortcuts to building an authentic group of loyal people who buys into your value proposition. The building blocks of good community building are like anything else in life and business; authenticity, hard work, reliability, transparency, communication, and relationship-building skills.

The timeless ‘give before you take’ principle applies here as well. As the pandemic hit, I realized that my infant #marketplace community of #artisan #dessert #creators could use an empathetic helping hand. Utilizing my technical and creative skills, I freely created relevant digital campaigns and promoted local brands and products and serendipitously a tribe grew around the hashtag #sugartooth.

To generate a purpose-driven community, asking the below questions can start Founders down the right path.

1. “Why”, “What” and “Who”

  • Why are you building a community and how would a community fundamentally assist your company’s products and/or services?
  • What activities will the community engage in? What are the rules for participation?
  • Who will be the users and how would you moderate them?

2. Know thy customer

Leverage first-party data to understand and connect with your customer on a deeper level. In-depth knowledge of your customer base would enable you to devise targeted campaigns, create helpful content and drive product development.

3. Observe and Change — Quickly

Study trends in your industry and creatively deliver empathetic value to match shifting expectations. The ability to adapt and find new users and use cases have become more pertinent in the current pandemic climate as to how people work, shop, and live gets re-defined.

4. Measure and Manage Progress

There is a plethora of tools available for company metrics measurement however you should be very deliberate in picking those that are most effective for your business type. It is also important to identify key metrics i.e., exact actions that are directly impacting your business success and meticulously managing them in a changing environment.

5. Principles, People, and Products

Ensure your community is operating on the right foundational principles and you have the right people to be part of it. The right foundations and the right people like anything else in life and business can ensure your company and products #grow in #value.

By leveraging the principles and tools of Web3, Founders with a community-first mindset can build scalable, enduring businesses.

Article written by Phyllys-Sarah, founder of Sugartooth for Vonto


  • (1) Think with Google. Google Data, July 1, 2020–Aug. 29, 2020, vs. July 1, 2019–Aug. 29, 2019
  • (2) Beller, M., Building A “Community-First” Company, The NFX Team, viewed 17 January 2022