Small businesses, as a group, make up the backbone of society. New ideas, entrepreneurial spirit and the go-get-em mentality epitomize the American dream and fuel many local communities. When those small businesses find success, many want to give back to their communities. Not only is this a grateful gesture for those customers who may have helped get a new business off its feet, but it’s also a great strategy for future success.
Be a Partner
Partnerships represent loyalty, longevity and commitment. In today’s business world, many companies talk about partnerships with their customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Partnerships in the community are just as important. Creating a partnership between a business and a local nonprofit is an excellent way to create meaningful, long-lasting relationships that can blossom. A business may donate a certain percentage of its profits to this partner charity. Its executives could volunteer their time to sit on the nonprofit’s board of directors. Employees can be given paid time off to help with its programs and events throughout the year.
Be a Mentor
Although mentors, by their nature, are individuals and not business entities, establishing a mentorship program can help employees take on this valuable volunteer opportunity. Mentors can teach life skills such as reading or financial planning. They can work with the students in the community to guide them on future career paths and provide opportunities for real-world experiences within the company itself. Executive mentors can help entrepreneurs or other small businesses get off the ground or reach a new level of growth. Being a mentor is about relationships, and these relationships can lead to finding future employees, customers or business partners as well.
Providing time, talent and treasure is certainly an altruistic and worthy reason for community involvement. However, being involved in nonprofits or providing assistance to those in need can also be an excellent way to build a positive image within your community and marketplace. An easy way to take advantage of these opportunities is to get a business name out there. Whether it be listed in an event program, visible in nonprofit advertising or etched in a permanent monument or plaque, a business can continually be associated with good causes by being visible.
According to a study by the Journal of Consumer Research, companies who participate in good causes and charitable activities are perceived as producing higher quality products and services. As a result, community involvement can translate into business success.
Participating in nonprofit and charitable causes as well as involvement in a local community is the right thing to do for small businesses. The fabric of society is woven together by all these organizations working together and helping one another. An additional benefit of doing the right thing is often a more positive public image, which can translate into higher sales and more loyal customers in the long run.