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Using General Assemb.ly to Leverage the Small Business Online Community

You can call any fledging project a startup, but transforming a concept into a successful business requires ongoing maintenance, education, and resource management. Add the challenge of growing a small business online community and entrepreneurs that aren't in touch with technological advances can be easily overwhelmed. General Assemb.ly, a rising global startup and technology hub, works to bridge the gap between envisioning a business and solidifying it through improved training, design and marketing.

Enhancing Your Business from a Digital Perspective

As you work to develop a small business online community, you will no doubt be bombarded by conflicting ideas about how to generate Internet buzz for your business. You'll hear about social media, blogging, keyword optimization, mobile app development and Web analytics. General Assemb.ly offers short classes and full-length courses on how to choose the techniques that make the most sense for your business and master the digital experience of your customers. Step by step, the company shows you how weaving digital advancements into your back-end infrastructure will positively affect the end user and attract a sustainable audience for your business.

At its roots, General Assemb.ly is a workspace co-op where some of the country's most anticipated startups rent office space and individual creators can pay for monthly access to workrooms, media labs, libraries and other essential tools. If you live close to a US General Assemb.ly campus—locations include Boston, New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco—networking and workshop events can connect you to influential corporations, pioneering developers and partnership opportunities with other small businesses. The nature of marketing has become more social, so companies often thrive by merging their interests and engaging consumers in multiple experiences at once.

Build a community of forward-thinking minds by joining General Assemb.ly as a hiring partner. The program streamlines the recruitment process at your new business by putting you in touch with candidates who have extensive training in tech development and commerce fields. Fostering the right people will help you develop more effective social media campaigns and marketing content, conserving your resources in the long run.

Educating Business Owners about Technology Concepts

General Assemb.ly’s instructors are innovative leaders in industries like Web design, startup consulting, recruitment, digital product development and consumer marketing, among many others. Avoid diving into classes without a plan; look for the opportunities that match up with your goals and weaknesses.

If the designs for your websites, online campaigns or apps were completely outsourced, learn to communicate better with your development team through General Assemb.ly’s introductory classes like “Programming for Non-Programmers” or “User Experience Design.” For sales-driven businesses, professional instruction on Google Analytics, ecommerce marketing and “Social Product Design” are beneficial for evaluating your business's online success at conversion and meeting consumer demand.

Short lectures or multi-session courses are often available online as a live stream or video recording, allowing you to participate from any location. Few prerequisites are required for online courses because the instructors realize many business owners need to start with the basics.

The Cost of Expanding Your Online Community

The extent of your investment depends on your business skill set, areas that need improvement and budget. General Assemb.ly occasionally offers free courses and many online sessions are as low as $20. If you intend to participate in a ten- or sixteen-week intensive workshop, prices typically range from $3,000 to $12,000. Business owners located near an official campus may benefit from becoming a hiring partner, as this program includes access to exclusive recruitment events and grants a 10 percent discount on any courses. You can also find helpful free resources from the General Assemb.ly blog, which covers similar topics to the paying courses.

The biggest potential pitfall is failing to tailor your efforts to your specific business needs. Mastering popular software boosts your skill set, but it won't help you build a community if it doesn't enhance your business structure in some way.

Ultimately, General Assemb.ly’s provides the tools to rethink the visual representation of your business online, find groundbreaking ways to communicate with consumers, create profitable partnerships, and distinguish your business with smart branding. By understanding how technology drives trends in commerce and marketing, you can make sure your business stays ahead of the curve and continually builds a loyal following through social outreach.

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