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Why You Need A Community Flywheel (+ How To Build One in 2024)

We introduce you to the community flywheel business model that’s taking businesses to six figures and beyond–and show you how to do it yourself.

By Mighty Team

August 31, 2023

10 min read



    At Mighty, we’ve spent six years watching creators and brands build thriving businesses that follow a path TOTALLY DIFFERENT from what they teach in business schools.

    No targeted ads. No clever campaigns. No slick funnels. Just POWERFUL communities that members wanted to keep showing up for. And those members would spend their money too! We’ve watched creators make 6-, 7-, and even 8-figures without following mainstream business advice.

    No hard selling. None of that “this is your last chance” stuff.

    Just supermembers who would engage and bring the community to life, then pull out their cash and buy when it’s time.

    These were clothing brands, fitness influencers, personal finance educators, health-care workers, and even slow runners!

    And last year, the consulting firm–McKinsey–finally gave a name to the business model we were seeing: community flywheel.

    If you’re ready to transform your business, it’s time to stop trying to replicate what worked 15 years ago. In this post, we’ll introduce you to the business model that’s QUICKLY taking businesses to six figures and beyond–and show you how to do it yourself.

    We’ll show you what a community flywheel is, why you need one, and how to build your own!

    If you want more support in building your online community, come join OUR Mighty Community for free and meet other new and established community owners! We’d love to meet you. Join for free!


    What is a community flywheel?

    A community flywheel happens when a brand creates a community experience–either on its own platform or social media–that leads to high engagement, epic experiences, and easily translates into sales. Last year, McKinsey identified it as the ultimate business trend for the 2020s: brands meet customers in communities they either join or create.

    Community Flywheel

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    Why you need a community flywheel

    Because your funnel sucks: Once upon an internet company, funnels were all the dang rage. Brands crammed their prospects through a sales sequence, knowing that most would disappear, but 1 or 2% might buy. A community flywheel brings people into your ecosystem instead and keeps them there, and when it comes time to offer something, you’ll see effortless selling.

    Because you’re losing opportunities: Yeah, a funnel makes you lose at least 90% of your prospects. But so do silos–especially created by a lousy tech stack. When you’re bouncing customers around from Kajabi to Zoom to Stripe to Facebook Groups to email, people are getting lost in the chaos. A flywheel gets everyone into conversation in one space.

    Because it simplifies your business: Traditional businesses require different moving parts, each dealing with customers at a different point. Customer service is NOT the same as sales. With a community flywheel, sales, marketing, product, and customer service all happen together.

    Because it’s easier to grow: Imagine a business where your supermembers create the customer experience for your brand, where user-generated conversations are the norm (and where AI could take care of the nuts and bolts EASILY). That’s the experience we see when people build a flywheel. It’s radically easier and it’s what gives communities member-led growth.

    How to build a community flywheel

    When McKinsey studied community flywheels, they came up with a sequence that flywheel brands have: They’re in community with their members, the brand stories are powerful, they focus on hero products, they keep the conversations going, and they “make transactions effortless.”

    When we talk about building a community flywheel, we do see hints of each of these things. But there’s more.

    1. Find your Big Purpose

    To quote Simon Sinek, any business needs to “Start with Why.” And when we think about building community flywheels, we start with a Big Purpose.

    A Big Purpose describes three things: the people your community brings together, the type of engagements you’ll have, and the outcomes they can expect. We’ve seen that communities with a Big Purpose are set up to thrive, so much so that the first step to starting any online community on Mighty is to create one!

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    If you're stuck on creating a Big Purpose, our Community Name Generator can do it for you instantly.

    Try Our Community Name Generator

    Our AI engine is here to help you create a community name that feels like magic. Just share a few words about who your community is for and we’ll get to work.

    Examples: coaching clients, meditation novices, vegan chefs, dog lovers, aspiring entrepreneurs, etc.

    The names generated by Mighty Co-Host™ are examples only and may be used by other businesses or subject to third-party rights. For more information, check our Terms.

    2. Identify your Ideal Member

    Traditional marketing focused on the Ideal Customer. Marketers would make avatars.

    With a community, you’re figuring out your Ideal Member. If you don’t see how that’s different from an Ideal Customer, here it is:

    • Ideal Customers are people you think you can sell to.

    • Ideal Members are people you want to build a community around–that you want to engage with every day.

    When you focus on member acquisition instead of customer acquisition, it's magical. Because member-led growth blows other growth models out of the water.

    McKinsey’s research found that flywheel brands didn’t just have a high number of followers. They had an audience that was engaged at a level that most brands don’t see. And having the right Ideal Member is the secret to high engagement.

    Ideal Customers are transactional. Ideal Members are people you want to engage with week after week. And that’s why Ideal Members are the secret to a powerhouse brand.

    You can ask these questions to find your Ideal Member:

    • What problems do they have?

    • What kind of communities do they already belong to?

    • What kind of content do they consume?

    • What knowledge do they need to transform their lives and how much would they pay for it?

    You don’t need to guess at the answers to these questions. You can ask them! Interview 15 or 20 potential members and you’ll see Ideal Members emerge.

    3. Create a community focal point

    It shouldn’t be a surprise that a community flywheel at some point needs…. A community!

    Flywheel brands have a space where Ideal Members join and engage, beginning the relationships that will keep your community going.

    Mighty Networks - Challenge Fam - Feed Paired Dark

    And there’s really no substitute for having your own community platform. When everything exists in one place: a platform and/or app that has native features to create discussions, content, events, AND create offers, you’ll get the max out of your flywheel.

    As you start building community and hosting conversations for your Ideal Members, the value of your flywheel starts to grow.

    McKinsey identified the power community plays in growing brand awareness. They found that for flywheel brands: 75% of the content is user-generated, they had greater than a 2% engagement rate, more than 4% of traffic converted, and brand-related posts go viral at least twice a year!

    At a minimum, the community should:

    • Have lots of chances for users to create content

    • Use notifications and content organizing to promote virality

    • Make it easy to engage with content

    • Have the tools to monetize and create offers

    4. Align your tech

    Community flywheels need tech. Let’s just start there. This is about creating digital experiences for your Ideal Members to connect with each other.

    But what kind of tech should you use for a community flywheel?

    That’s the vital question–and brands aren’t always asking it.

    Because most tech stacks weren’t designed to maximize your flywheel. Most brands have a tech stack that was developed by playing whack-a-mole with marketing, product, and customer service problems.

    And the result is a duct-taped, Zapier-integrated nightmare. Asking members to buy on Stripe, take a course on Teachable, join a community on Facebook Groups, go to events in Teams, is ridiculous. And expecting your team to run 4 different customer service and management platforms is no better.

    TFW- Mighty Meme

    If you want to align your tech for a thriving flywheel, we’ve seen two things that matter most: getting everything in one place and native features.

    Wait, that’s actually one thing! Because native features are what let you get everything in one place.

    Choose a platform that lets you create and monetize a community, adding in ANYTHING you need for a thriving flywheel: things like live and pre-recorded courses, chat & messaging, livestreaming, and events. Make sure it has an app, or gives you the option to create your own. Make sure your superusers are empowered every step of the way. And be sure you can sell any of these things (or community memberships).

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Courses and live streaming - Galaxy DAO

    5. Pick a hero product

    When you’re ready to monetize your community, you can start with a hero product, says McKinsey. Actually, we’ve seen a lot of communities monetize with a membership fee as the product. With an average $39 membership fee on a Mighty Network, the community itself can be the product.

    But a lot of communities add in things like courses, events, a high-ticket offer like coaching or a mastermind, and other things that fit their brands.

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - MC - Mastermind EventSeries Paired Light

    And you know what’s really cool? Your flywheel can actually create product ideas. For example, the women’s apparel brand Oiselle created a community for runners to share training knowledge and make friends. And the Oiselle Volee community had a bonus benefit: the members create a lot of the best product feedback and ideas for new products!

    If you’re looking for inspiration, we’ve got a list of digital products here.

    6. Tell your brand story

    If you look through the stories of awesome on Mighty, you’ll see that community-centered brands have something in common: a powerful story. And McKinsey noticed it too. Brands with a community flywheel have a “talkable and credible” brand story.

    Here are some of the stories behind successful Mighty Networks.

    • The firefighter in peak physical condition who realized his cholesterol was high and launched a movement for plant-based diets.

    • The Wall Street worker who quit her six-figure job to bring financial education to the other 99%.

    • The slow runner who launched a running movement for “back of the pack” runners.

    You’ve got a story driving your brand. It’s the thing that’s going to stick with Ideal Members, the WHY that’s driving your Big Purpose. Getting really good at telling that story is the secret to explosive community growth!

    mighty networks - SingleEvent Paired Light

    7. Create the offer

    Next, you’ll create some sort of offer for your community. Whether you sell a physical or digital product, there’s no need to create a hard sell or use funnel sales tactics. You’ll be surprised to find out the products can effortlessly sell themselves.

    Here are some of the amazing results we’ve seen from Mighty Hosts:

    • A YouTuber launched a live challenge that 4,000+ members joined.

    • A health-focused launch to 100 high-ticket members added $40,000 in ARR.

    • An author & speaker launched a 4-week promotion and saw an additional $30,000 in revenue.

    • A podcaster and author sold 5,000 seats to a $997 course in 10 days.

    • A personal finance community generated $130K in five days with their latest course.

    • A social impact SAAS company launched a community app with their regular conferences and saw a 70% increase in contributions & engagement.

    8. Keep the wheels turning

    What happens when people in your funnel don’t buy? Usually, they’re gone. Best case scenario, they might stay on your email list.

    What happens when your community members don’t buy?

    Nothing! They stay in your ecosystem, consuming your content. They may buy the same
    product in the future, or maybe a different one… But either way, you get to keep serving them.
    And that’s where the final step comes in. Keep the flywheel turning. Keep delivering content, or creating opportunities for your Ideal Members to get value from your community.

    Mighty Networks - Challenge Fam - Members - Paired Dark

    Ready to start?

    If you’re ready to build your own community flywheel, come build with Mighty Networks! It’s the ultimate community flywheel platform, giving you powerful native features that your community needs!

    Ranked the #1 community platform on G2, Mighty has native livestreaming, discussion forums, Spaces, chat & messaging, live and pre-recorded courses, and events built in. Many of our Hosts are running 6-, 7-, and even 8-figure community flywheels, selling memberships and bundles in 135 different currencies.

    Only Mighty has cutting-edge community AI–Mighty Co-Host™–that automates things like sales pages, course outlines, and member profiles, with text and discussion features to make sure you’re never at a loss for words.

    Mighty comes with an app for every device, or if you’re an established brand, talk to us about getting your own branded app–that’s your brand in the App Store and Google Play Store!

    Ready to build your own community flywheel?

    Start Your Own Mighty Network Today!No credit card required.


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