Great news! You and your fellow ecosystem leaders have embraced the concepts of continual leadership and collaboration, grass roots organizational principles, and put the founder’s needs at the center of your activities. Your community has a wide range of ways that founders can engage in positive ways that increase the chances of their success. Now for the hard part – sustaining your robust ecosystem.

You heard me right, the hard part is still in front of you. And I learned this the hard way just as you will.
You see, it is actually more difficult sustaining your ecosystem progress than building it the first time.

What do I mean by sustaining your ecosystem? Here are a few definitions from the world wide web:

  • To prolong
  • To keep something in operation
  • To strengthen
  • To nourish

These were the definitional tidbits I liked when I did a search. Each definition both has a common thread and at the same time they all stand on their own and frankly kinda build on each other. Right?

As an ecosystem leader and member, It is incumbent on you to recognize that efforts must be made on each of the four notions.

  1. “Prolong”: each activity has a format, each activity has arrangements for coffee or beer, many activities require new speakers. Someone has to keep these going.
  2. “Keep Up” : it is inevitable that your current activities will begin to lose their luster. Activity leaders will need to roll off due to life issues and new blood will be needed. Are you ready to recruit new leaders to take over?
  3. “Strengthen”: the life cycle of activities can last into the years and your efforts must be commensurate with that. New tools (email marketing for example) can help make your efforts more about the community than that 1 person who got that one thing going.
  4. “Nourish”: this is my favorite thought as new energy and new activities are needed as the community’s needs change. This is great news – it means that founders and startup executives are growing and changing and the community needs to change along with them.

I realize that it is difficult to think about sustainability when you are just trying to get things off the ground. Just know that this day will come and to at least nod towards that future challenge.