Spending $40k on a community platform before you even have a community is stupid.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to launch your community. Don’t create a bespoke website. Don’t hire any of the major community vendors, not for the launch. Launch it on the cheap.
Send personal invites to 20 or so people to a forum you’ve set up. Try to get a group of 10 people talking to each other. If that works, invite a few more. Then a few more. Then ask members to invite anyone great they know to join.
One of three things will happen if you do this;
- It won’t work. Either it’s not possible to bring members together, or you can’t sustain conversations. The good news is that at least it didn’t cost you $40,000 to find this out.
- It succeeds. You grow a good-sized audience at high speed. In less than a few months you have a thriving forum of active members and it didn’t cost you a $40,000
- It grows too big. Yes, if it grows too big and you want to add more features than a forum can provide then you can pay for a unique platform and migrate your members.
All communities should be launched on the cheap. The only time to spend $40k on a community platform is when you already have a community to use it!