Business leaders: Think locally and get involved

Is your business getting involved in the local community? Business owners often talk about the importance of being involved locally, but it’s not always clear that they act on that impulse or know exactly why it’s such a good idea.

With the demanding schedules of a tough market and the ever-increasing competition with online services, it’s not always easy to find the time to participate outside the office walls, but it’s important to make giving back a priority.

It’s well known that volunteering feels good. It helps our neighbors build a sense of community. But it’s also a great way to help your brand and your team—especially members of the leadership team, who can be the face of your business at public events.

Being involved shows you are part of the local fabric

Volunteering your time helps to demonstrate that your brand is interested in becoming a part of the fabric of the community. Just the act of showing up can demonstrate that you care about the people around you—the ones who keep you in business.

Volunteering also helps build trust among local community members, many of whom make important buying decisions based on how confident they feel that their needs will be taken care of. It’s hard to overstate how important it is for your leadership team to develop lasting relationships with the people they serve—during and after business hours.

There are countless ways to get involved

Aside from just showing up and participating in local events, sponsorships and partnerships help increase your brand’s exposure by linking it to community organizations and promoting coordination. Your business could help sponsor a spring concert or parade, or could partner with a local charity to promote a good local cause.

Think of local groups that could use your support. Little League baseball teams look for sponsors and will often proudly display sponsors’ logos on their jerseys and promotional materials. Rotary clubs and other community organizations look for local sponsors to help them finance and organize events.

Does your business have a conference room or an event space that is often left empty? Offer to let local charitable organizations or committees use them for their meetings. It’s hard for small groups like these to find space, and providing one to them could be a huge help.

Community outreach: Do it now!

Businesses in small communities have a great opportunity—and responsibility—to be local authorities on their sphere of service. That often means engaging in events and providing programs that benefit the community.

Many businesses have found success by helping to sponsor educational workshops and contests that benefit local charities or by partnering with local nonprofits or government organizations. These are great ways to stimulate the knowledge of your team while helping the community find resources they need locally.

An opportunity to make a difference

From the Chamber of Commerce to the Veterans’ Day Parade, local groups and events provide a great way to help your business better connect with the community you serve. Your leadership team can benefit by building new bridges with community leaders, who will likely be more than happy to work with your brand to coordinate new and exciting events.

It’s crucial to be seen as a valued part of the community. People do business with people they know and trust. Your customers are your neighbors, and doing business locally is never a one-way street. That is why it’s so important to find ways to give back to the people who keep your doors open.