Vice President at Nada, overseeing company sales in North America.
Blockchain businesses don’t operate the same way normal startups do. Blockchain communities are breaking the norm because their founders don’t all come from business schools, accelerators or traditional startup channels. Rather, they are emerging from the world of chat rooms, Twitter spaces and collaborative video calls.
Regardless of what you think about the industry’s volatility or underlying value, the amount of growth that blockchain projects have seen in the last five years is nothing short of amazing.
Interviews with more than three dozen founders, CEOs and early adopters for the KryptoNurd YouTube video series this last year (in which I participated) made it apparent that the successful projects have three key commonalities. These three tips from the current crypto craze can be applied to reinvigorate any mature business or help a startup get off the ground.
1. Focus on building communities.
It’s all about the community. Crypto projects do an amazing job at creating communities that aren’t just investors but advocates. Social media chat rooms in Telegram and Discord offer direct communication between the community and the project team.
Blockchain companies build in public, and in doing so, everyone gets to share in the success of incremental progress. People love success, and sharing progress openly allows the community to gain a sense of accomplishment and belonging. Blockchain projects will often ask their community for input, assistance and introductions, further solidifying the relationship.
Have an action plan to engage with your community. It takes consistent action and creativity to keep everyone engaged. Release information such as roadmaps and whitepapers to disseminate information and give your community some input on events or activities. Release company-branded items and think of your community as fans: They are rooting for you and want to wear your jersey.
2. Seek out strategic partnerships.
The Jack Welch philosophy of competition, cost-cutting and ruthless corporate management has been replaced with a rising style of collaboration seeking to keep all ships afloat. Blockchain projects come with a built-in layer of support based on the underlying technology. The blockchain itself is an open-source technology, and a community like Algorand offers support in the form of a technology company and marketing arm. In some cases, foundations will even offer grants and training classes.
If you are a new project working on the Algorand blockchain, you are immediately introduced to many of the other 1,000+ projects building with that technology, and often there are frequent opportunities to work together. Since the underlying technology is all the same, it’s much easier for projects to interconnect. As a disclosure, I own Algorand and several other cryptocurrencies.
Marketplaces work together to establish rules, guidelines, and norms for the industry to help everyone. Finance groups collaborate with payment projects, and wallet projects work with security firms to support other projects in the same space.
Some likely competitors and vendors could be turned into allies and partners in your industry. You can double your audience with the correct partnership, as well as expand your reach, reduce costs and offer a better experience due to strategic collaboration.
3. Manage your expectations.
“Under-promise and over-deliver” is an adage from long before the crypto craze, but you can see the dangers of overhyping it in crypto, particularly by the number of dead projects and tokens.
When you are close to the community and building advocates with partners, it’s tempting to be optimistic about your goals because the excitement is intoxicating. But companies should fight the urge to stretch the truth and choose to give reasonable goals and targets instead. If you can deliver a milestone that is better or faster than promised, you can always make an announcement and look like a hero.
Setting the right expectations will grow trust with your community, partners, vendors and even your staff. When you set up expectations with goals that can realistically be hit, it creates momentum that can be used to hit larger targets and goals. Take a moment to plan out the next four quarters of your business and share the exciting and achievable milestones with everyone. Once you share these goals, you will be far more likely to reach them, and your audience will cheer you on as they share in your success.
These strategies hold true for any business.
The ability to create a community, find partners and control expectations aren’t exclusive to blockchain or newer companies. Think of ways to engage and interact with your community, find new partners and share your goals with anyone who will listen if you want to experience the most growth and reap the greatest rewards from your operations.
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