Frequently asked questions

Need more information or have a question? Check out the answers to our most commonly asked questions.

The Basics:

  • Circles for Communities is a unique way of bringing businesses and customers together in a way that benefits them both. For customers it allows them to find like-minded businesses in an industry that is relevant to them, so that they can be confident that if they have had a good experience with one business they are likely to get similar from the ones working with them in a circle. And for businesses it allows them to put themselves in front of customers who are known to be interested in their industry and who have already had positive experiences with other members of the circle.

    Circles for Communities also allows customers to join circles and gain access to exclusive rewards from the businesses and services in them.

    See the more specific categories below for more information on the benefits for customer and business members or visit the search businesses or search circles pages to find out who is involved.
  • Business Members are simply users who have signed up on the website and then converted their account to a business one so that they can add one or more businesses to the site. They can create new circles and join existing circles as business members.

    In terms of their relationship to a circle they are the suppliers advertising through the site and the circle, bringing in their clients to the benefit of other circle business members, benefiting from customer members introduced by other circle business members and making special offers available to circle customer members.
  • Customer members are standard users who have signed up for the website but have not converted their account to a business one. In terms of their relationship to a circle they are the customers who are looking for suppliers amongst the circle business members.

    Any visitor to the site (irrespective of if they have registered and logged in) can browse and search both businesses and circles and so can find information about relevant businesses and contact them through the site. However, only customer members can join circles and take advantage of any special offers from the circle and receive the monthly circle newsletter.

Filter Questions:

  • Our aim is to deliver exciting offers right across the country, using themed circles whose members know each other and can recommend each other. We are gradually expanding with circles joining us and we eventually hope to have circles representing all types of industry.
  • The circles are set up around a theme which means that the businesses in the circle are ones that are relevant to that theme and are likely to share a similar customer base.

    For example, our first circle, Pet Hub has partners who have particular areas of expertise in providing services and items needed by pet/animal owners. The businesses in this circle share a pet related theme and therefore offer products and services that are likely to be relevant and of interest to many of each others customers. These could be: Vets, Groomers, Boarding Kennels & Catteries, Pet Friendly Taxi’s, Pet Photographers, Suppliers of Kennels, Coups, Cages and Housing of all kinds, Pet Foods and Accessories, services such as Dog Massage, Trainers and Behaviourists - even Pet Portraits!

    This theming of circles provides benefits to both the business and the customer members of each circle - the businesses gain extra exposure to each other customers and the customers get access to a list of suppliers and service providers who are relevant to them and are likely to provide a similar standard of service to the one you already know.
  • Circles for Communities is a new directory service aimed at any business that has ever had a client or customer ask them 'could you recommend x, y or z' and has wondered how much it would help their business if they could be sure that all the ones they recommend would do the same in return for them.

    On one level Circles for Communities is a high quality subscription based business directory that will help you to promote your business with a superior style listing that allows you to highlight your usps, provide up to 5 images and link to your social media and website as well as contact you directly through the site. It will allow your customers to rate and review you to further differentiate you from your competition. The business directory aspect of Community Circles will help you to attract new customers and clients who find you through searches both on the Circles for Communities website and by leveraging the SEO advantages being part of a large directory type site brings.

    The real power of Circles for Communities however is all about the circle. A circle is a group of like-minded businesses who share a common customer / client base but who are not directly competing with each other. Their products or services are complimentary and likely to be of interest to each others clients. The circle provides a way for these businesses to work together, leverage each others reputations and customers, as well as providing an opportunity for mutual support and allowing them to find further ways to work together. Being part of a circle brings great advantages and the idea is that you should be sure of the other businesses you partner and choose to share a circle with.

    Members of the public will be able to browse and explore a circle and the businesses in it and they will be able to sign up and join the circle as customer members. This will enable them to keep up to date with the members of the circle, the special offers available, as well as find out any news or other activities. In turn the business members of the circle can be sure that these potential customers / clients have an active interest in their products / service areas and are open to hearing more about them.

    Each business member of the circle will be expected to promote it and we will provide downloadable flyers / posters to help them do this. They will also be encouraged to make special offers available to members of the public who sign up to the circle as this ensures that the circles are worth joining for both the businesses and their clients. Each customer who joins the circle will benefit the other businesses in the circle as they are known to be interested in products or services complimentary to yours and you have the implicit recommendation of being partnered in a circle with another business they already know and trust.

    As well as getting information about a circle from the website, customer members of the circle will also be able to sign up for a monthly circle newsletter which will detail all the special offers available to them, the latest circle news and some brief introductions to some of the businesses in the circle. Again this will be of benefit to the businesses featured as it will increase your exposure the potential customers known to have an active interest in your business area. The businesses featured each month will be balanced to ensure all businesses get equal exposure over time.
  • Yes, in fact you need to create your company profile before you can apply to join a circle. If you do this but don't go on to join or create any circles you will still benefit from having a profile on the website and will still be findable by potential customers through the company search function. However, to get the full benefits of the circles for communities site you should go ahead and join forces with other complimentary businesses so that you can get the extra benefits from partnering in a circle.
  • First of all you need to register on the website as a business member. To do this you should create a free regular account and log into it. Once logged in you should go the the business home page ('For Businesses' on the main menu at the top) and on that page you will see the option to 'Create Business Account'. Clicking on this will ask you to enter your business name - once you have done this your company will be set up and you will be taken to the edit profile page for the business so that you can complete your business profile. You can also create a business account from your dashboard.

    Once you have registered your business and paid your subscription your business will appear in company searches but you won't appear in any circles until you create one or join an existing one.
  • Each customer you encourage to explore and join the circle benefits your other partners in that circle and likewise any they can bring will benefit you, so a circle works best when all of the businesses within it are working to bring new customers members in.

    This doesn't have to be a big job - it could be as simple as mentioning it to customers when you speak to them. We also provide each business with a download link (accessible from the edit business profile page) to download a personalised flyer / poster promoting your businesses membership of the circle.

    You could print these and hand them out to customers when you talk to them, add them in when you send an invoice or in any other appropriate way.
  • Absolutely! Circles provides great benefits for both kinds of members so we expect many business members will also want to join other circles that interest them as customers.
  • Circles work best when all of the businesses within them tie in with the circle's theme and are working together to promote the circle and (by implication) each other. This suggests that you are best to join an existing relevant circle if possible rather than set up a new one. However, there is also an implied mutual endorsement of the companies within a circle so you should consider if you are happy to implicitly recommend the other businesses and be recommended by them. Reputation matters!

    Also - although you can apply to join any circle, it is up to the circle's admin (the business that set it up) to decide if they will accept you as a member or not. This means that if you don't already have a relationship with them (or another member of the circle who can vouch for you) you may need to talk to them first so that they can be sure that you will bring the kind of reputation they want to their circle.

    If there is not a suitable existing circle you can create a new one. Please see the FAQ 'How do I create a new circle?' for more information.
  • First of all you need to register on the website as a business member. See the FAQ 'How do I register as a business member?' for help with this if you need it. Once you have registered your business and set up your business profile, go to the circle's home page (you can find this using the 'Search Circles' function).

    On the circles home page there is an actions section on the right hand side. If you have a business account this will include a 'For Businesses' section and in here you can follow a link to find out more about the circles information for business members as well as a link you can use to apply to join the circle with your business. When you click on this link you will be asked to provide the reasons why you should be allowed to join the circle which you should complete and then click on the 'OK' button.

    Your application, together with the reasons you gave, will be sent to the circles admin and they will then decide to accept or reject your application to join the circle.
  • Yes! Many businesses will be a good fit for more than one circle but we encourage you to consider each one carefully before applying to make sure its appropriate. Please see the FAQ 'Should I create a new circle or join an existing one?' for more information on some of the things you should consider.
  • No-one wants to be trapped! Although you can't force your way into a circle as your application has to be approved by the circle administrator, they can't hold you there if you feel it isn't working out for you and you want to leave it.

    In order to leave a circle, go to your businesses profile page and then click on the link to the left of the circle name in the header section. This will bring up a confirmation and if you click on OK in that you will be removed from the circle. Note that the circle admin also has the same ability to remove you from circle at any time and for any reason.
  • First of all you should consider if it would be better to join an existing circle rather than creating a new one. See the FAQ 'Should I create a new circle or join an existing one?' to help you decide.

    Creating a new circle is simple. Log in and go to your dashboard (you can go to your dashboard at any time by clicking on your name in the top right hand corner of each page). If you are a business owner you will see your businesses listed, and just below that you will see a list of circles you are the administrator for. To create a new circle simply click on the 'Create new circle' button under that list.

    This will open a new dialog for you to enter the circle name and specify the circle theme. Do this and then click on the 'OK' button. This will create the new circle and you will be taken to it's edit profile page so that you can complete it's profile.

    If you are not a business owner you will need to create a business account and set up your business profile before you get the option to create a circle.
  • Circles work best when all of the businesses within them tie in with the circle's theme and are working together to promote the circle and (by implication) each other. This suggests that you only accept companies who compliment your circle's theme and, as there is also an implied mutual endorsement of the companies within a circle, you should consider if you are happy to implicitly recommend business applying. Reputation matters!

    You may also want to limit the number of circle businesses who provide a specific product or service in order to limit the amount of competition between circle partners, so you may want to aim to accept only the best companies in each niche to your circle. However, who joins your circle is up to you and you can accept or reject them at your discretion.
  • Nobody likes unwanted guests so we make it easy for you to remove a business from your circle if you need to.

    To do this you need to go to 'Manage My Business Account'. On this page you will see a list of your businesses and of any circles you are an admin for. Click on the Edit icon (a pencil) to the left of the circle name to be taken to that circles management page. At the top of that page (in the header) you will see a button to view 'Circle Members' - this will show you a list of all the business members and customer members the circle has.

    To remove a business member simply click on the remove icon to the left of the businesses name. You will be asked to confirm you want to remove them and if you select 'OK' the business will be removed from your circle.

    Note that businesses also have the same ability to leave your circle at any time and for any reason.
  • No, a single business account can support multiple businesses and those businesses can be in different circles. Each business will need a subscription for their details to be visible to public visitors to the site.

  • Business membership is based on a per-business subscription (so if you have two businesses you will need to subscribe each individually) You need to create your company profile before you can subscribe the business. If you do not subscribe, or if you cancel and let your subscription lapse, the relevant business profile will be retained and you can update and edit it, but it will not show up in any searches and the business profile page will only be visible to you.

    Circle creation and membership does not cost anything extra. We may add additional premium features in the future.

    At the moment we are running a closed testing version of the site with only a few selected businesses taking part. When we open the site to everyone, the current subscription costs will be shown on a subscription costs page.