No business is an island, which is why it helps to give back sometimes. Your venture shouldn’t just be about profit but about principles as well.
Ethical entrepreneurship improves your reputation, builds customer loyalty, and draws in new investors. On that note, here are a few ways your business can empower your community:
Support Local Enterprises
Charity should always begin at home, even if it isn’t exactly charity. From hiring via a disability support organization to purchasing from small local businesses, social procurement allows you to support your community from a variety of angles.
If customers ask you about products or services that are outside your scope, point them in the direction of other local business owners whose offerings are a good match. In the end, such support will come right back at you, and isn’t that what you want?
By putting the needs of your community above your own, you can do everyone a favor, including yourself. As you promote and purchase from other local businesses, you gain the trust of customers while also indirectly promoting yourself as a trustworthy and caring figure in the community.
You don’t want to seem like you’re only in it for the money, even if you are (wink wink). Making a material contribution to the community is a great way to get people on your side.
From labor to supplies and cold, hard cash, there are many ways you can go about it. It’s even better if the charity, organization, or individuals you’re giving to are connected to your business and its values somehow.
If you’re running a pet store, for example, you can give a percentage of your proceeds to a conservancy. Or, if your business is in the hospitality industry, you could provide free meals to an orphanage or the homeless.
If you’ve got a liquor store, donate a portion of your profits to a rehab center that’s genuinely helping people. Don’t just donate randomly – give with a purpose and with a bigger picture in mind.
Eco-friendliness is becoming a status symbol in the world of business. With climate change and resource depletion to contend with, it’s easy to see why. You could do something as simple as switching to bulk bag packaging, or you could go all the way and make your business zero waste. Whatever route you take, by caring for the environment, you’re doing your customers a solid, and they’ll love you for it.
Engage with the Community
Nothing makes people feel more supported than genuine human interaction. Rather than being a nebulous presence hovering above everyone, take the time to mingle. Get a stall at a trade show, host a seminar, or have a guest speaker session. The goal is to rub elbows with local people, build rapport, and let them get comfortable with you.
Make Your Values Clear
Customers love an honest and transparent business. If you can figure out a way to publicize the philosophy driving your business, that’s a win. Don’t just end there, though. It’s important that you show exactly how committed everyone in your company is to that philosophy. Having a code of ethics is an indication of how honorable and upright your business is.
It Takes a Village
Hopefully, you can now see how easy it is to empower the community and win them over. Try one of these ideas, or try them all. Just do it with sincerity and be as enthusiastic as you can. It may sometimes seem like you’re throwing money away, and that’s okay. In the end, you’re going to benefit from being socially responsible.