Entrepreneurs come in many different styles. Some small business owners choose to stay focused on their own enterprise, rarely pausing to engage with the community around them. Others go above and beyond their role as a small business owner and actively tune in to the needs and concerns of their community, doing what they can to contribute. Small business owners looking for ways to make a difference in their communities can draw inspiration from these five examples.
1. Fundraisers and Food Drives
One of the most direct ways an organization or small business can contribute to its community is by hosting a fundraiser or food drive for a specific disadvantaged group. Whether it’s raising money for a cause or gathering food for families in need, these efforts can make a big difference in the lives of disadvantaged families. The Chickasaw Council of Boy Scouts in Mississippi recently helped the Mid-South Food Bank to raise food and awareness, improving the lives of many in the 2012 holiday season.
2. Make Service a Priority
Another way a small business can contribute is by making customer service a priority. Emphasizing quality customer service creates a caring vibe in a community, no matter what product or service is being offered. When a business asks themselves, “How can I serve?” or “How can this business make a difference in the lives of the customers?” they’re on the right track to running a business that can truly make a difference through what it does.
3. Raise Awareness
If there’s an issue or current event that would benefit from public awareness, a small business can help. Incorporating information into its advertising and/or product packaging is just one example of how a small business can raise awareness in a community. From public health issues to crisis victims who need assistance to animal shelters in need of volunteers, there is no shortage of causes a small business can help.
4. Be as “Green” as Possible
These days, reducing one’s carbon footprint is necessary to help preserve our planet, and this goes for businesses as well as individuals and families. Choosing to use eco-friendly materials in all phases of a business and utilizing the most environmentally friendly manufacturing processes possible can all make a difference. It sets a good example in a community and will help preserve the planet for future generations.
5. Charity Work
Putting an emphasis on charity work as part of a business ethos paves the way for employees and other businesses to be inspired to take action. Raising awareness about groups in need of volunteers is one way to go about this. Businesses can encourage employees and other members of the community to donate their time to worthy causes. Providing all of the information needed about charities in the area allows people to find it easy to sign on and do their part.
From running a business in a service-minded, customer-centric way to physically contributing money or volunteer services to charities in the area, there is a multitude of ways small businesses can make a difference in their communities. Just like the Chickasaw Council of Mississippi, all it takes is a spirit of giving and a genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of others.