As a busy small business owner, you may think that it would be nice to be more involved with your community, but you just do not have the time. However, several studies have found that it is imperative for you to make the time for community involvement if you want to be competitive. PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES®, your small business tax services expert, will guide you through involving your small business in your community.
Businesses can do a lot of good for communities, from sponsoring events, to offering free community meeting spaces, to volunteering for community improvement projects. What you might not consider is the good this presence in the community does for your business. In a recent poll by Clarity, 87 percent of American customers stated that they think companies should devote equal resources to business and society, and 41 percent buy products specifically because they are associated with a cause. Consumers want businesses to contribute to their communities and are willing to reward those that do with their business.
Not to mention that community involvement gets your name and brand out there and attracts the attention of potential customers who will be inclined to think of you positively. Finally, community involvement is good for your employees. A survey by A Net Impact found that employees who are able to contribute to society or the environment while they are working are two times as satisfied with their jobs as those who do not. Also, volunteer work can hone and add skills to your employees’ repertoires and increase teamwork.
So what are the steps to building a meaningful community involvement program that benefits your neighborhood and your business? First, take a look around. What does your community need help with? What problems are your neighbors experiencing? Is there a high unemployment rate? Are school programs being cut due to lack of funding? Is the animal shelter overfull and underfunded? See what is needed and what you feel compelled to help with. Now that you have a few causes in mind, consider what you, your employees and your business have to offer. For example, if you run a computer repair shop, you could:
Donate a few PCs to the public library
Teach a free class on computer skills for unemployed people
Offer a space and free internet access in your store for unemployed people to job hunt online
The key is to find a cause and a contribution that fits with your business. If you ran a fitness center and sponsored an eating contest, that would send a mixed message. However, if your fitness center sponsored a 5K run-walk event for a local charity, that would be a perfect fit. You may want to poll your employees to find out what causes or contributions they would like to make. Chances are that some of your employees already volunteer or donate to community causes in some way.
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