Just this month, I joined Valeria Maltoni (@ConversationAge) on Twitter as a co-host for the weekly hashtag chat #Kaizenblog. The focus of the conversation is the big picture of your business and how you strategize and think about it in a more global manner. We meet every Friday at 12pm ET/5pm GMT to discuss topics ranging from designing business plans to evaluating ideas that you want to take to market.

The word, kaizen, is Japanese and is a process in which one seeks continuous improvement in all aspects of one’s life.  Check out this post by Valeria which explains it quite well here.

Which leads us to this week’s topic:

Is the difference between tribes or fans important to your business?

To be honest, I don’t have an answer so here are some thoughts to begin the conversation for this week’s chat on #Kaizenblog.

Seth Godin put this idea into play for most of us. Mainly marketing professionals were talking about this first but Seth Godin expanded the  idea of tribes into a larger conversation with his book, Tribes. He defines a tribe as “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” He goes on to challenge all of us to be a leader of some kind. We can lead our tribes alone or as co-leaders. He is really calling us all out to lead a movement.

But I run a business, I’m not an activist!  Oh really?! If you are an entrepreneur, you are more activist than you could imagine! Entrepreneurs are all about changing the world. Take a moment and think what you wrote in your executive summary. I’ve worked with business owners who are on fire about keeping your electronic data secure, teaching young children to love learning, and to support you communicating with others on the Internet. As I write this, I think of current and past clients who are game changers for their industries. Everything they do, everything they create has to be tied back to their value system and executive summary because it is going to change how we know the world.

But are you creating a tribe or a group of fans? Valeria Maltoni at Conversation Agent has a great post of how Ducati has created a tribe that centers around its motorbikes. It made a huge difference when the company was struggling for survival. But what is your story? Who are your evangelists?

If you are a chieftain, what does your tribe look like? Maybe it’s really about being part bard as well. You tell and sing the story of your Big Idea and inspire others to make it part of their lifestyle. You engage in conversation with these aficionados and discover you are inspired as well. The story deepens and has less and less to do with you. It is more about the glue your business is providing with your products and services. The people in the conversation talk with you and, just as importantly, with each other.

What if you are a celebrity? Perhaps this is about personality (not necessarily your personality, remember your business is its own entity) and less about connecting people to one another. There is still immense value in your products or services but it’s handled differently. People become fans because they love what you provide. Inspiration can still happen but it seems more by example than by mutual discovery.

Does it really matter to your business if you have a tribe or fans?

Do you believe there is a difference?

Join us for this conversation on Friday, April 23rd at 12pm ET/5 pm GMT on Twitter by using the hashtag #Kaizenblog. It might be easier to sign into the conversation by using Tweetchat or Tweetgrid. Add your thoughts to the conversation!

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