Walk around your neighborhood and you may notice that small businesses are getting more support than ever before and for good reason as they generate jobs and employ a local community. Not only do small businesses often help “keep it local”, but they can make a positive impact on their community by getting involved. Many small business owners may feel that, in comparison to big corporations, their community involvement may be less than noticeable, but there are easy ways to make a difference:
Connecting with Customers
The goal of every business, big or small, is to have a stronger connection with its customer base and what better way to make that connection by finding out what your customers truly want? There are many ways to find out your customers’ needs and wants, such as through surveys or even analytics, but if you really want to make a connection (and make a lasting impression), get out in your community and ask your existing and potential customers what they like or don’t like and how your business can greatly improve their lives.
Not only will your business have a better opportunity to thrive, but your customer base is likely to expand as studies reveal that people are more likely to support small businesses who excel at customer service. As a whole, a small business, who gets involved in the community, is more relatable.
How Can You Help?
Many businesses assume that the only way they can make a true impact on their community is by offering a financial donation. While money does go a long way and always makes an impact, it might not be a feasible option for smaller businesses. If you, as a business owner, don’t think you can afford to donate (remember, you can report it during tax time) there are other ways to give. First of all, ask what you can do. Depending on your community and the type of business you run, one thing may be more beneficial than the other.
A few ways that you can partner with other small businesses or on your own to benefit your community include: sponsoring an event, start a donation box (for organizations such as homeless shelters or food shelves), donate your products or services, and even start a mentoring program.
Join an Organization
A good way to get involved in and have a presence within your community is by joining an organization. Whether you join the local Chamber of Commerce to make valuable connections with fellow business owners or a social/community club like the Kiwanis or Rotary, you are gathering together with many like minded business owners, giving back to the community, increasing your visibility within the community, and creating respected and valuable relationships with existing and potential customers.
Even if you own a specialized business that can only benefit a small amount of individuals in your community, your participation in the community can build a good reputation for your business and others are likely to recommend you even if your services are not relevant to their needs.