We here at Pure SEO are all about innovation and looking at how we can do things differently. We also love a bit of Kiwi entrepreneurship! So we wanted to introduce you to our friend Debra Chantry who has started The Common – The Entrepreneurs Playground.
Following more than 20 years in managerial positions and her work as an entrepreneurial coach and business mentor, as well as time in the EO Accelerator programme, Debra had been sitting on the idea of The Common for some time. She wanted to create an adult version of the good ol’ days on the playground, when you used to talk to other kids and play together.
Recognising that entrepreneurial business owners almost all struggled with having the support, the right people and the space they needed to work on their businesses (not just in them), Debra launched her idea. The Common would be a space where a community of like-minded entrepreneurs could work and play together, encouraging them to have some fun and look after themselves, while they work on their business.
We all want to be around others that ‘get’ it but, for business owners and entrepreneurs, the journey can be lonely. Sure, there are business coaches, but they typically only last 6 to 12 months before they’ve run their course and then you’re on your own again. Your partner doesn’t want to hear you just talk about your work all the time, and there are often things that you can’t openly discuss with your team. Only another business owner or entrepreneur, who is going through the same things as you, really understands.
Where other business networks allow you to escape your own business for a set time each month and talk to others, The Common takes this idea a step further. Effectively a membership club, The Common requires interested parties to apply, and there are strict criteria around who is accepted to ensure that people share the same sorts of values. It’s about being part of a community, but one that has its own playground. At The Common, you have somewhere that you can go to connect with others and take time out from the day-to-day to work on your business.
The space is a big part of what makes The Common special, in addition to the networking and support benefits. At the centre of the model (and key to every members’ experience) is the Community Relationship Manager. Think of them as a matchmaker – finding out about your business, as well as your personal and professional needs, and making sure that you get introduced to the right people.
Workshops each month provide further opportunities for people to connect (as well as learn something!), and because no-one lives there permanently, you get to see different people each time you visit. It’s a place for fun too, with a climbing wall next to a high wine rack (“to make getting to the wine more interesting!” laughs Debra) as well as meeting rooms, offices, desks, meditation rooms and all different types of seating, for whatever mood strikes you.
With access to business coaching and an Advisory Board in the highest level of membership, this is an unrivalled offering for those in business and an interesting look at the future of building businesses.
Speaking of the future, what about The Common’s future? Debra would like to see branches spread out across New Zealand, before heading into Australia, the UK and the US so entrepreneurs have a global network of playgrounds to visit.
For now, we love that The Common provides the space (a cool heritage building in Parnell) along with the support and the people (like-minded masters, mentors, disruptors, challengers, investors, leaders, facilitators and educators) that businesspeople and entrepreneurs need.