I believe that every business has the opportunity to “make a difference” in the world today, even if only in a small way.
There are lots of ways of doing that besides merely providing valuable and useful products and services that help people and make their lives better.
By being productive and profitable, a company has the opportunity to contribute to the economic stability of the city and region in which it operates.
Small businesses will also have a number of opportunities to become socially responsible.
Here are a few ideas for the small business owner in that regard:
1. Participate in roundtables, discussions, and local business meetings that deal in local business promotion.
Chambers of Commerce, local downtown or business associations and other such groups provide lots of opportunities for service and giving. In addition, they will be opportunities for your business message to be spread among local business leaders.
Volunteer to serve on a committee or head up the coming chamber event.
2. Volunteer to assist in the mentorship of young people.
Programs like Junior Achievement, 4H, and others provide kids with leadership opportunities and prepare them for possible business careers.
Remember the help from an unrelated adult you received as a young person? No? Then think of how your life could have been better had you been given such direction at a young age!
3. Become involved in community issues of interest to your business and the local economy.
Items of interest come up every month that affect the local business community and the public is welcome to provide input to the city council, planning commission, and other public bodies.
By voicing your opinions and ideas, you will be supporting the great network of mentors and policy makers that help to decide the future of a community.
4. Look for ways to be involved in a service capacity in your market niche.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you own a small business in the flyfishing niche.
Join in with the local Trout Unlimited Chapter and help in the next service project to clean up a local river and make the fishing environment better for both the fisherman and the trout.
Not only will your help be appreciated, but you will gain credibility for your business as one that is socially responsible and genuinely concerned about your niche.
5. Give of your means to local charities.
You don’t have to be a millionaire or give great amounts.
Make a contribution to a local cause in the name of your business and earn goodwill and some excellent marketing for your small business.
Some donations could be tax deductible; but regardless, your contribution will help your business to establish itself as a trusted friend of the community.
6. The local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will have opportunities for some coaching and mentoring of other small businesses.
By helping others to become successful, the small business owner will be making a great contribution to the local community.
Not only that, but there are lots of great ideas and thoughts that you will have for your own business as you mentor others.
7. Some businesses choose to “adopt” school groups, disadvantaged youth groups, sports teams, church groups, etc.
They become an important source of leadership, stability, role models, and even financial contributions.
Of course, there are many other things a small business can do to “give back” to the community.
Get a little creative and earn some goodwill and positive feedback for your company.
To your online business success!