Consumers are looking for many things in businesses today. A growing number of people now want businesses that have some type of local connection or that give back. This means you will want to consider contributing to the surrounding community or neighborhood. There are several reasons why it is important for small business community involvement to be encouraged.
Raise Brand Awareness
The first reason to get involved is to raise brand awareness with the people who matter most to the business. Getting out into the community with banners or just branded t-shirts will begin to make people aware that your business and brand exists. Being directly involved with the community allows you to actually show your brand message and personality in a way not usually possible through traditional marketing techniques. The impression you leave can make a real difference when someone is making a purchasing decision later.
Build Community Trust and Loyalty
A second reason community involvement can be beneficial is because it builds trust and loyalty for your business within the community. The people who see your business in the community will come to realize that your company is not a faceless conglomerate with the exclusive goal of earning a profit. It shows that you are willing to work to help the community and give back, like the foundation by Gary Young. This is going to instill trust in people. Additionally, if community members know you support local causes, then they are more like to choose your business over a competitor or generic online site.
A major reason to get your business out and involved in the community is that there might be many surprising networking opportunities. Helping the community could potentially expose you to important local figures, elected officials or even other business owners in the area. You could use these contacts to potentially strike new business deals, handle problems with your company or work on joint marketing efforts. Networking can be very powerful within a community and often opens doors that would have remained closed otherwise.
Strengthen Employee Bonds
Many of the employees working for your business are likely to live in the surrounding communities. A benefit of getting involved locally is that your employees will start to feel a sense of pride working for your business. This can lead to personal ownership of each job position. The employees might even start to establish stronger bonds with coworkers. This can make your business stronger and more productive. It could also reduce turnover and eliminate problems finding the best local talent.
Improve the Lives of Neighbors
Something to consider is that getting involved with the community is going to start improving the lives of your neighbors in different ways. You might help to increase property values, reduce poverty and improve the local economy through charitable actions. This actually benefits your business by making it easier for the people in the community to make more purchases potentially from your company. A stronger and better community means more disposable income and happier customers.
A final reason to get involved with the community is the possibility of earned media. If your business is out in the community frequently, then there is a chance that you will eventually be covered through the local media outlets. This could mean free stories about your business in local newspapers, on the radio or on the nightly news. Earned media can expose your company to many more people than some other types of advertising.
Being involved with the community can elevate the profile of your business, give employees a good feeling about working and make neighbors feel a connection to your company. It is a valuable way to build up your company within a given area. You should always look into getting involved with the community when running a business.