It gives you a sense of pride and fulfillment when you form your own company.
But there is always a sense of reciprocity within the community for small businesses. The smaller the business, the less intimidating it is. Chances are, people in the community prefer to be loyal to smaller stores because it makes them feel at home. In a sense, these people allow the small business to thrive and to prosper. And the small businesses provide the needs, goods and services needed by the community.
The people in the community are the lifeblood of every small business. So it should be second nature for owners of micro, small and medium enterprises to give back to the community. A lot of business owners, though, are wary about giving back because they think it will cost them a lot of money. There is always that notion that giving back is spending money for the community. True, in some cases, you will have to part with some amount, but it’s not going to be intimidatingly large. Still, there are other instances when you don’t really need to spend just to give back to the community.
This is also something you need to think about: Without the people in this community, your business might not survive. So it is your moral obligation to somehow give back to the community. The great thing about this is that giving back will give you some kind of satisfaction you will never get elsewhere. Here are some ways small business owners can give back to the community.
1. Volunteering in community work
Remember when it was mentioned that you don’t need to spend a single cent in order to give back? Well this is the perfect example. Volunteerism means spending your time and most likely your physical effort. Check out the various programs in the community that you can lend a hand to. Among the more popular programs are tree planting, building of houses through the Habitat for Humanity, feeding programs, sports and cultural festivals, fund-raising activities, and many others.
When you are trying to give back to the community, there shouldn’t be any ulterior motives. However, volunteering in the community is actually an opportunity to network with other people and widen your reach in the business. Volunteering in community activities is the perfect time to cultivate relationships with neighbors. Because of that relationship, these neighbors will surely be obligated to support your business. If not, at least they could give you honest feedback on how to improve your products or services.
Having a relationship with the community also means having people to help you out in times of crisis. If you could be there for the community, the community will surely be available for you.
2. Promote local businesses
Even if you are a small business, there might be smaller businesses under you. Promote these smaller businesses. Say you own a cake shop, support local businesses in the community by buying ingredients for your cakes there. The same goes if you own a restaurant: buy fresh produce from your local market. If you have a cleaning service, check out local products for the cleaning products you might be able to use in the business. It’s a symbiotic relationship. You somehow market these small businesses and they, in turn, will market you in order for their products to be marketed as well.
3. Sponsor a local youth sports team
Inculcating sports into the young ones is one way of veering them away from drugs and other negative vices. So when you sponsor a local sports team, that is really something big for the community. And it’s not just about keeping them away from drugs and gangs, sports offer a lot of positive attributes to the youth. For one, athleticism promotes fitness. You can’t succeed in sports if you are not healthy and fit. Sports also teach athletes healthy competition. This can develop into positive attitudes for the youth: the need to win, the ability to accept defeat, teamwork and to work hard for glory.
There is also another advantage to this. When you sponsor a sports team, they will of course wear the uniform carrying your brand. This is such a great marketing scheme. It will not only put your business out there, it will also give you a great reputation for helping the youth.
4. Collection jar
You can link with a local charity organization and set up a collection jar at the cashier area. The jar should carry the poster of the organization. It also helps if you have some leaflets about the organization because some people would be interested on what the charity actually does. And make sure you and your staff are armed with the proper knowledge about the organization so that it would not seem like you are just putting up the jar for appearance’s sake.
5. Organize an event
Think about an event that is related to the business you are operating. This is not necessary but it would be a great link. Say you have a sporting goods store, then the most obvious choice is a sports event. One of the more popular events is the marathon or a fun run. When you do organize such an event, make sure to encourage your employees to participate. You can also link with a charitable organization if your event aims to raise money. This is like hitting at least three birds with one stone: you are marketing your business, supporting locals and raising money for a local charity group.
6. Offer your skill / talent
If you have put up a business, then you must be good at something. Offer your skills through a seminar or training. Offer advice and techniques on how to open a business and what you can do to make it successful. You may even offer short courses on entrepreneurship.
You and your employees can offer another skill set with various organizations you can link up with. If you have a member of the staff that is creative, you can set up an art-making activity with children from the community.
Giving back seems like a marketing ploy. But once you actually do it, it feels more than just that. You will feel a sense of fulfilment having helped the community that shaped who you are and what your business has become.