Successful small businesses need the support of their local communities. By learning to make the most of this local advantage, an entrepreneur can compete with even the largest companies in the same industry.
Because an SMB's success is often so closely tied into the local community, it's important to also remain an active participant. As a busy small business owner, however, it can be challenging to squeeze another minute into your hectic day.
It's important to make the most of every opportunity, boosting your community involvement while finding ways to motivate your employees and network with other professionals in the community to give back a little.
Looking for ways to get started? Here are ten great ways a small business can give back to the local community.
Promote Local Businesses
One of the best ways to support your community is to help out other businesses in the area. Buy local as often possible and set aside an area of your website to link to your favorite local companies. Cross networking with non-competing companies with similar markets helps you reach more people and help out other local business owners just like you--a win-win!
Participate in Holiday Food Drives
During the holidays, many businesses encourage employees to bring in unopened non-perishable canned and boxed foods that can be donated to local food banks. This is a fantastic way to help you community, and it requires very little additional tie. You'll only have to set aside a half hour or so just before Christmas to transport the items.
Sponsor a Youth Sports Team
Chances are someone on your staff has a child on a youth sports team. By finding a local team to sponsor, you'll be able to help with the funds it needs and get publicity in exchange for your support. This is a simple way to help out with very minimal time investment.
Set Up a Collection Jar
This is a way to support your community with no time commitment. Simply choose a charity that is important to your team and collect money in a high-traffic area inside your business.
This is a great way that I have seen children be able to participate in their own way. You can teach them important values that will last with them for all time.
Hold a Contest
You can support your community while also encouraging your employees to have fun by holding a contest. Each employee chooses a local charity and instead of prizes, money goes to the charities chosen by the winners.
This was one of the most successful ways that I've been able to help some of the local charities around my business. Popular TV shows like the Apprentice and other shows have done this as well to help out charity organizations.
Sponsor an Event
Sponsoring a participant in a local marathon can be a great way to show support, especially if you can support your own employees who are participating in such events.
Adopt a Brick
Occasionally new civic buildings will offer local residents the option of purchasing a brick or stone, either on a walkway or building. Such a purchase gives you the opportunity to contribute to progress while also enjoying a little publicity.
Build a House
Organizations like Habitat for Humanity offer businesses the opportunity to participate in construction projects that benefit disadvantaged residents. The best thing about this type of volunteerism is that many builds are done on weekends.
Offer Your Skills
As a leader in your industry, you likely have an area of expertise that's of value to others. Consider teaching classes on entrepreneurship to local residents or offer to teach a specialized skill that could be of value to those who have been out of the workforce for a while.
I personally help with the Open to Hope foundation on a daily basis. This has brought me some of the biggest personal wins. Helping be apart of something that's bigger than yourself will deliver happiness in your life.
Encourage Employee Volunteerism
Many businesses are now encouraging employees to volunteer by offering paid time off for volunteering. A business can show its support for the community by giving employees a specific amount of time each month, quarter, or year for volunteer work, which boosts morale while also increasing a business's community involvement.
Some of the biggest corporations on the planet allow a specific number of hours each year that are allotted to a company to volunteer at a charity of their choice.
As a vital part of your community, it's important to regularly show support for the residents and businesses who support you. By researching various ways you can participate in local events and organizations, you will be able to come up with your own unique way of giving back to your local community.