It has never been more important for a business owner to be actively involved in their community. In fact our customers expect it - and to be really honest, they should expect it. Entrepreneurs are doing extraordinary things in every corner of the world to make a difference. And of course, at same time, there is not a lot of trust for corporations or governments, meaning consumers want to do business with organizations that are ethical, contributors to society, protectors of the planet and ethical in every way.
So the question is, what are you doing to make a difference in the community where you live? And the community where your business makes money? These is almost as important as the products and services that you sell.
Every community has a host of organizations where people give their time freely to get behind good causes that need some help. They may be charities, they may be environmental groups, they may be groups trying to improve conditions for particular members of the community. The choice is up to you. If you have a particular passion, use it to get involved.
Who has the spare time to get involved in community based groups? Generally none of us but typically the people I meet who are doing the most in their community are the busiest of all. They run their own businesses, manage their families, try to find time for themselves and yet they still get involved. Why? Because they know it is the right thing to do. They want to make a difference. They know that their customers expect it of them.
If you can't find the time to get involved yourself, support community groups with the products or services your business offers. Donate money to them or let them use your facilities to help raise money.
I choose two or three special events to offer my firm's services free of charge every year. This means that at any one time we will have a project we are working on that is community based. I am happy to cover the cost of this and my staff get behind it as well. We all feel great and to be honest the events have a greater chance of succeeding if they have access to professional event management and fundraising advice.
Whatever level of involvement you can offer, embrace the community where you live and run your business and play an active role in making it a better place for everyone living there.
How involved are you in your community? A lot or not at all? If you are involved a lot, you can sit this one out--you deserve the break. If you're not involved at all, today is the day to get involved. Talk to your staff about what you would like to do and ask for their suggestions on how you could get more involved in your community. It might be something as simple as sponsoring a junior sporting team or it may be ambitious, such as raising a pile of money to build a facility for disabled people.
Most importantly of all, do something that aligns with your values and don't be afraid to tell your customers what you are doing and why you are doing it.