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Pamela Slim, business coach and author of The Wider Net, turns business models on their heads – and it’s a framework that can work particularly well for a content-first business. She says finding your business model starts with a community approach and finding partners.

Here are five steps on how to do that from the many tips she shared with the entrepreneurs at Creator Economy Expo in 2022.

1. Do this audience audit method: Describe your audience as a problem to be solved or an aspiration to be attained. So don’t say, “I work with speakers in the financial services industry between the ages of 45 and 55.” Instead, say, “I help business owners become prosperous.”

2. Define the solution: By defining your audience by the problem or aspiration, you can better define your offer. Think about what the audience needs in their transformational journey. Complete the phrase: “Going from ______ to ______.” Then think about the solution that solves the problem AND zeroes in on your unique skills and strengths.

Knowing your audience and offering lets you begin to see the natural connections that exist in the ecosystem, those potential partners – organizations, brands, individuals, etc.

Complete this phrase for your audience: Going from ______ to _______. Ensure your product helps that transformational journey (and zeroes in on your unique strengths), says @PamSlim. #CreatorExpo #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

3. Put your ideal customer in the center of the ecosystem: Where is your audience? Pam refers to these as their “watering holes” – strategic places where a great number of your ideal customers have already been gathered together by someone or something else. It could be podcasts, newsletters, software services, events, etc. 

Narrow the options by creating your Justice League – the service providers, thought leaders/influencers, complementary product providers, etc., with whom you would be best to connect to.

4. Pick partners for a reason. Know what the ecosystem partnership could bring to your business. Pam shared a formula created by Charlie Gilkey. Is it cash flow? (How much, and by which means?) Is it opportunities? (What kind of opportunities are you looking for?) Is it visibility? (Where do you want to be seen? What action do you want them to take once they see you?

With that information, you can better explore specific opportunities.

5. Find partners in your ideal customer’s ecosystem: Break down your list of potential partners into three levels – strong partners you know right now (start), good partner candidates you don’t know well (cultivate), and moonshot partners you dream of working with (big dreams).

Find partners where your target audience already gathers, advises @PamSlim. #CreatorExpo #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Pam concludes with this advice: “Building a business through the lens of community and ecosystem means you do the work of strategy, obsess about problem-solving, and seed with patience regularly.”

And my favorite piece of advice from Pam: For 15 minutes or less every day, complete tiny marketing activities, and over time you’ll build your brand, business, and bank account.

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.