Social responsibility and community involvement can help your business stand out from the competition. When creating your business plan, efficient marketing strategies and building a well-recognized brand go hand-in-hand. However, more than just a strong marketing presence is needed to build a loyal following and happier working environment. Especially in the real estate and tourism industry, community involvement is key to a successful business plan.
Benefits of Making Community Involvement Part of Your Business Plan
As a small business owner, you wear many hats. However, getting involved in the community should not be taken lightly. There are many benefits to getting involved and showing an active interest in your local community.
Set your business apart from competitors
Establishing yourself as a community supporter by getting involved leads to others wanting to show their support for your business. Genuinely connecting with locals as a small business owner can be the difference between just staying open and having a thriving business.
Create positive goodwill for your community
Making community involvement a priority for your business results in your community being a better place to live. Members of the community see your initiative to improve the places they work, learn, and play and tend to support your company in return.
Strengthening your business’ reputation
When you are known for doing good for the community, you build a positive reputation. Giving back and supporting causes that enhance the local quality of life helps improve your company’s image.
Grow your network
Getting involved in your community provides the opportunity to build invaluable connections. Serving in philanthropic organizations alongside key community leaders gives you the chance to learn of upcoming local opportunities and changes.
Become a community role model
When community involvement is part of your business plan from the beginning, you can become known as a community role model. Your local support will not go unnoticed and become respected for your commitment to the betterment of the community. Having community support means you can count on others backing you up in the future.
Gain the respect of your employees and customers
Being a local business that gives back to the community adds positivity to your organization. Employees respect leaders who do good and are often more motivated to get their work done. Customers are more apt to support businesses that consistently support their community, leading to a loyal customer base.
Reduce employee turnover
Businesses that provide employees a way to give back boosts morale and fosters collaboration. Getting involved in the local community offers employees a sense of fulfillment, often leading to increased productivity and performance. Happier workers mean there is one less reason for them to find another job.
Ways Your Business Can Get Involved in Your Local Community
Regardless of your community’s size and location, there are numerous ways small business owners can make giving back part of their business plans. From volunteering time and resources to sponsoring the local sports teams, establishing your business as a pillar of the community creates immeasurable value.
- Volunteer- Working with only a set number of hours each day, making time to give back to a good cause can signal to the local community that your business is more than about the bottom line. As a small business owner, you can encourage employees and staff to get involved by offering paid volunteer hours or scheduling monthly or yearly volunteer events. Some volunteering ideas could be working at a homeless shelter, donating to the local animal shelters, or supporting service activities like a local park or lake clean-up day.
- Become a Drop-off Location for Charity Collections- Offering your storefront to be a drop-off location for donations to charities or local food banks is a great way to support your community. Your business will gain further exposure while helping others in the community.
- Be a Sponsor- Financial contributions help keep your community afloat and thriving, and as a business sponsor, you’ll be known for creating and supporting the local culture. Examples of sponsorships can range from investing in staple community events to buying uniforms or equipment for local sports leagues to scholarships for local graduates.
- Host a Fundraiser- Organize an event to raise funds for a local non-profit or community organization. Some common fundraisers can consist of a call-a-thon, selling raffle for high ticket products from your business or other small business, or offering specials from your business in exchange for donating to a community cause.
- Serve on Community Boards- From organizations created for bettering the local community to the Chamber of Commerce, getting involved will show your genuine concern for community growth. Connecting with key local leaders and establishing yourself as a respected community role model is a long-term strategy to be at the forefront of community changes.
Find a Local Cause Your Passionate About
While getting involved is the first step, you want to find a cause that excites you and holds high importance personally and professionally. Giving back is a fulfilling experience, and doing good by doing something your passionate about is that much more fulfilling.
As someone dedicated to helping small businesses, I’ve gotten involved in two community groups that align with my mission. I am in Rotary because of my passion for serving others, and I enjoy the way it is organized. I’ve benefited from getting involved in this community group by serving in leadership positions, learning how to deal with challenging people and situations, and networking. The networking has been especially huge as I get many referrals based on my relationships. I also tend to work with Rotarians because I know they do quality business and have values that align with mine. I’m also in a group called The Rising Tide Society, a network of creative entrepreneurs who believe in “Community Over Competition.” While being a part of this group has provided me with clients through referrals, it also helped me gain incredibly useful advice and mentors.
While these are some of my favorite community causes, there are many other ways to get involved. You want to find a way that is the right fit for you and your business. Small businesses are the heart of local communities, so community involvement is essential to include your business plan. Giving back locally helps build a closer relationship with your customers and provides the satisfaction of bettering your community.