Interviewed and written by Alyssa Strickland
When a business first launches, the owner is often focused on attracting customers and making the business profitable. Looking for ways to benefit the local community can give you significant exposure and help you expand awareness of your brand. As Dr. Diana Rangaves, PharmD, RPh, explains, it can also establish you as a good corporate steward and boost the overall economy.
Get Started on the Right Foot
Regardless of the type of business you’re launching. You’ll want to do it correctly. This means getting a business license, establishing your business with the state, developing a business strategy, a website, and a social media presence.
One of the biggest hurdles new entrepreneurs face is producing a business logo. It can feel insurmountable, and you don’t want something boring or too unusual. However, you have some options available to help you craft the perfect logo for your business. If you’re a DIY-er, you can handle this yourself with the help of a logo creator online.
Once you’ve established your business identity, try this product roadmap template to help you and your team map your path forward and objectives. This kind of roadmap can help you save time and guard against mistakes as you bring an idea to market.
Cultivate Customers With Kindness
Many small businesses get started by reaching out to family, friends, and former colleagues to help spread the word and generate first customers. Another way to develop a client roster is to offer deeply discounted or even free services in the community. For example, you likely over-prepare food for each event if you run a catering business. Get into the habit of taking leftovers to your local homeless shelter or food bank.
If you’re a t-shirt print shop, consider sponsoring a local little league team and providing them with t-shirts with their name and your logo. According to The Sponsorship Collective, your involvement will get you noticed!
Select a Charitable Cause
Demonstrate your company’s commitment to the community by finding a non-controversial local need to support. Perhaps it’s collecting backpacks and school supplies for kids who need them via the Fill A Backpack program, running a toy drive during the holidays, or having a pet adoption fair in your parking lot. If you have employees, give them each a set number of paid personal hours away from work in which they can volunteer with their favorite non-profit.
Corporate Citizenship points out that people will begin to associate you with your generosity, which is often as good as, if not better, than paid media advertising. You can also write off several expenses when it’s time to file your business taxes.
Become a Change Maker
You can further integrate your business with your community by patronizing other local businesses, forming business coalitions, running for local office, or volunteering on civic boards. Hire locally, promote from within, and be a mentor. Use your platform to elevate others in your community.
For example, get active on social media and advocate for a strong economy, access to community services, and improved local education. Join industry associations and participate in programs and events held by one of the many worthy non-profits in your area. In other words, aligning yourself with the community needs to place you and your business in a favorable light and make your name well-known.
If you lack the necessary leadership skills to advocate for change, consider taking a few courses to step up your game. You could also consider adding a business degree to your belt, which can give you a deeper understanding of business management as a whole and operations, marketing, and, of course, leadership.
Promote Your Generosity and Involvement
While ideally, you’re a good corporate steward because you have a kind heart, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t capitalize on your community activity from a publicity standpoint. For instance, post regularly on social media, using popular hashtags.
Have a section on your website that highlights your community involvement with pictures and testimonials. If you need content for your website, consider hiring Dr. Diana Rangaves, PharmD, RPh, for her writing services. Or start an Instagram account where people can tag and interact with your business using images and video. When you have the opportunity to speak in public, lift your community in a positive light.
Being embedded in your community as a business owner can reap many rewards. In addition to getting your name out, you’ll truly be helping improve the economy and establishing yourself as a trustworthy business that people are proud to patronize.