Did you know that SHOWING UP and participating with groups and/or organizations that you belong to is one of the most positive ways to build your business and personal brand?
There is a silver lining to every cloud, and many challenges can indeed provide an opportunity to connect with your community and give something back, while generating exposure for your business and yourself at the same time.
Keeping tabs on industry happenings, the competition, and your target markets is key to survival and growth. But watching those items and ignoring the community just outside your front door is like checking for vital signs without taking a pulse.
Community relations efforts typically can't be directly linked to bottom-line results, but don't discount the intangible connections and halo effect achieved by supporting your community. What’s good for your community is also good for your business.
There are many reasons why being involved with your community makes sound business sense.
Our society’s most celebrated companies, the ones that aspiring entrepreneurs emulate, have sound business models and strong management as their foundations. Those companies also support their communities with gifts of money and time and treat their employees and customers with respect and care.
On the most fundamental level, being involved in your community builds goodwill. Mutual understanding and respect go a long way toward establishing a healthy environment conducive to your organization’s success.
Demonstrating commitment to your community resonates with other businesses and citizens who share your values. Remember, you never know where your next big customer might come from.
Understanding your community and its needs as well as what members of your community have to offer can influence the direction of your business. Identifying customer needs is much easier to do when you're out interacting.
The information that you gather while working in your communities will inform your product and service development. It will help you identify where your organization’s value lies and help you save valuable resources by learning what products or services your customers do not want or need.
You can improve productivity and effectiveness and even learn ways to reduce costs through your interactions with your community.
Your community’s development and changes impact your business and can make or break the economic health of your area. You've invested in your community by establishing your business operations there. As a business owner, that commitment is just the beginning of your relationship.
Changes, both positive and negative, can substantially affect your business. Your business perspective is vital to political and community groups that create and influence legislation. You can help maintain an environment where free enterprise is able to flourish.
Many prospective employees look at potential employers’ community involvement as a part of their evaluation of the organization. They want to understand the mission and whether it would be a good fit for their working style, career development and personal values.
Job candidates who work hard to find career opportunities that align with their personal values become committed employees. They become champions of your organization’s mission, products and services. That’s the kind of employee every business wants.
Investors are also looking beyond financial results when evaluating companies. Many are drawn to companies that are both profitable and conduct business in accordance with principles of social responsibility. That’s why a broad range of socially responsible mutual funds have seen great success.
Above all else, being involved in your community is the right thing to do. When you look back on your life’s work, what do you want to be known for? Remember its not what’s in it for you but how you step out and touch a life and make a difference. You'll sleep better knowing you've helped someone besides yourself.