How to build a corporation from the ground up is a question that has been around since EVE’s inception. For the most part, whether your intentions are to recruit a bunch of highsec missioners to farm them for taxes or build a group of PVPers to move out to null, the basics remain the same. A few questions you need to ask yourself before you start the journey: what is the purpose of your corporation? What do you have to offer that similar groups don’t? And, are you at least a little bit crazy in the head? Above all else, make sure that you are willing to commit most (or all) of your time in game to this endeavor because you will only get as much out of it as you put in. If you try to recruit players and you have no real interest in what your corp will be doing, then it is doomed to fail.
When players are looking for a new corporation to join, the two biggest factors they take into account are: corp direction and perks of joining. If your corp has a similar direction to the one they are interested in, they’ll be more apt to join. Past that, there has to be something that makes your corp stand out from the rest. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to recruit people from all over New Eden that have different interests because you “want to appeal to a larger group”. Depending on your recruitment standards and how active you are, the corp will start small and you don’t want to have five or six active members who all have different interests.
Once you’ve established the corporation’s direction, you have to answer the question “why you?”. There’s a whole array of aspects that make groups across New Eden unique. Brave Newbies, Karmafleet, and Pandemic Horde pride themselves on having a low barrier to entry and getting new players out into Nullsec to experience their side of the game. Others like The Tuskers, Exodus, and Pandemic Legion are on the opposite side of the spectrum and offer older players with more experience a place to put their skills to use.
I could go on and on describing what different groups in New Eden offer, but I think you get the point. You won’t be directly competing against larger groups like the ones listed above, but the concept is the same. Find a similar size group in your area of interest and give players a reason to join you over them. If you are trying to start a highsec mining corp can you offer a buyback program for your members? Do you offer easy logistics services to and from your staging? Can you fund a ship replacement program if people die to gankers? Note that you don’t necessarily have to offer all, or any, of these services, but the more you have to offer the better.
One of the biggest problems I faced when recruiting was trying to tackle the problem of ups and downs in activity. I never crossed the threshold into a “large” corporation and with a limited number of players, you will have some weeks where people are occupied with things outside of EVE. Regardless of if you are a tryhard PVP corp or a Highsec industrial corp your recruitment and member activity is only as active as your content creators. In most cases, this burden will also be on you unless you are lucky enough to have a recruiter or know friends that are active content creators. For a PVP group, I found that killboard activity was a huge help when reaching out to players interested in joining my corporation. You can offer all the services in the world, but if you portray yourself as a PVP group, and your killboard is inactive, people will continue looking for a group that can meet their expectations. The burden of content creation doesn’t have to lay solely on you though. Recruiting other content creators is a possibility but definitely a rarity.
Once you have established yourself as a corp, it is more common to reach out to groups around you and see if they’re interested in being allies – or even contacting an alliance with similar interests and joining them. Joining an alliance is not a small step to take and there are a few things to consider before you do. Having similar interests and goals is the first step. Your ability to merge and contribute to an alliance is directly tied to you and your corporation’s interest in their activities. Another equally important aspect of an alliance that often gets overlooked is the culture. If you’ve built a community around friendly banter, you don’t want to find out about a strict no nonsense policy after you’ve already joined and started moving in. Think of an alliance as a loose extension of your corporation. It is rare to find a perfect match, but the more your corporation has in common with a prospective alliance the less likely it is you’ll find yourself at the wrong end of the other director’s firing squad.
And all the rest…
EVE Online has always been in need of more content generators and being a successful CEO puts you at the top of the content pyramid. Whether you’re encouraging people to jump in the deep end and become a fleet commander or building a network of mission runners you have the future of EVE in your hands. But at the end of the day building a corporation comes down to how well you manage your time and your ability to delegate. Between recruitment, logistics, corp services, and content generation you have to enjoy yourself. The growth of your community and New Eden starts and ends with your interest in it; no pressure!