As a business owner or manager, you’re no doubt aware of the importance of community, and of the impact – for better or worse – that your venture could have upon the people and projects that reside there. Businesses have the potential to become powerful vehicles for community change, and can ensure that their locality thrives, following investment in various ventures and people.
On the other hand, communities have the power to push a business to success, offering custom, local insight and constructive criticism should issues arise. There’s a good chance that members of that same community are among your most trusted customers, and that their assistance and cooperation will be called upon time and time again.
Very few ventures succeed without the approval and appreciation of their local community; how will your contributions ensure a successful relationship?
Invest in local businesses and people
One of the biggest and best gestures that businesses can make is to invest in local communities, whether that’s offering support to smaller, family-owned businesses, paying money back into community initiatives or choosing to source employees from the local area. Such a relationship shows that there is so much more to your existence than money, and enables the local community to thrive under your sponsorship.
Perhaps even more valuable is the investment you might be able to make towards your community’s future; youth projects, education, and career opportunities are worth their weight in gold these days.
Choosing to obtain resources locally
Whether it’s fabric, food, office supplies or technology, businesses can contribute to their local communities by obtaining their resources as locally as possible. Purchasing local goods will help the community’s economy, provide employment for local people and place the population on the map as a reliable place to source items from, as well as greatly reducing your company’s carbon footprint, since the goods have little distance to travel. Such a move also ensures that businesses integrate with the communities they now inhabit, and creates a profitable and professional relationship for both parties.
Sponsoring a local charity or charitable project
Charitable contributions are among the most valuable that businesses can make to communities. Whether it’s a non-profit association, community project or local cause, offering assistance with advertising, organization, volunteering or fundraising can be a great way to give back.
The President of Olympiacos FC, Vangelis Marinakis, has given his notable support to the refugees stranded at the Port of Piraeus in Greece, immediately taking an interest in their wellbeing, and lending his support to an issue that has become something of a global talking point in recent months and years. Claiming that his soccer club keeps on, “dreaming of a better future for everyone”, Marinakis’ charitable philosophy is doing wonders for his club’s public image and for the community struggling to support the refugees. Such high-profile support is awaiting your community.
Thanking the community for its support with special events
Nothing says, ‘thank you’ quite like a social engagement or event, and businesses can endear themselves to local people by hosting such occasions at regular intervals throughout the year. Open days and evenings, movie screenings, street parties, themed days and festivals are all great ways to involve the local community, and will ensure that your goods and services are seen by a far wider audience.
Sports teams, such as the Boston Red Sox, are renowned for thanking fans and communities in such a way; with one carefully organized event you’ll be able to support and entertain your local community, while ensuring that your business’s presence continues to be celebrated.
The promotion of local businesses and their people
It’s sometimes not enough to quietly source products and services from local businesses. As a community-backed venture, yours should be seen to take the lead on the promotion of local businesses, and to use contacts and influence to create meaningful, profitable relationships wherever possible. Such action will place the community in a great economic position for the future, and open a number of doors for your business to expand its net ever further.
Customer referrals and company camaraderie follow hot on the heels of one another, after all. Above all, the promotion of local businesses adds value to the community, ensuring that it thrives long after you’ve moved on to your next adventure.
As a business owner, you’ll know better than most just how essential it is to keep your local community at the heart of everything that you do, and to acknowledge the sacrifices that may have been made along the way. Encouraging and appealing to community spirit is a great way to give back to those who may have supported you since your road to success began, while investing in local people and ventures will ensure that your community thrives in the years to come.
From financial support and mentorship to investment and friendship, your business has the potential to become an integral part of its community – don’t waste that opportunity.