Small businesses owners face many challenges, especially in the beginning. You have to find a way to make your business thrive, often on a limited budget. For most business owners, the budget gets focused largely on improving your product or service, your staff, and marketing.
One aspect that often gets overlooked however, is using some of your money to give back to the local community. While you may think that there is not enough room in your budget to do this, we have a couple of reasons why you might want to reconsider and find some room.
Marketing is a big part of any business, and rightly so. However, marketing does not have to be all about paying for newspaper ads or billboards. When you give back to your local community, your name will be all over the place, and this will give your business exposure.
Look around town and see what events you could sponsor. Maybe a local 5K needs some donors, or a kid’s baseball team needs uniforms. By paying for things like this, you are achieving the same result as a marketing campaign – getting your name out there – but with additional benefits. Local events are always in need of donors and sponsors, so keep your eyes out for any that come your way.
2. Make Connections
As a small business, it is important to meet people in your community. By sponsoring local events, and giving back to your community, you are likely to meet people who are involved with the community as well. These connections may come in handy somewhere down the line.
Making it in the business world can often come down to who you know. And while meeting people in your town for the sole reason of trying to get some benefit from them is the wrong way to go about it, it is nonetheless a nice perk when you give back to your community.
3. Earn a Good Reputation
People like to support businesses for which they have a good opinion. By putting your business name on things like charity and community events, your brand will start to be associated with that community in a positive way.
When people hear your business name, they will remember all of the work you have done with the community, and this will stick with them. Half the battle for a small business is just getting people into the door, and by giving people a positive reaction when they hear your name, you are giving them a reason to do just that.
4. Smart Investment
The fourth reason that you should consider giving back to your local community is that it is simply a good investment. Besides the free marketing that you get out of it, giving to charitable organizations can often be written off as a tax deduction.
You have a job as a business owner to make sure that the money for your business is being spent in the best way possible. Rather than giving the money back to the government, give it to your local community and get all of the benefits that come with it.
5. Repeat Customers
Lastly, by giving to your local community, you are increasing the likelihood of repeat customers. As a small business, you are not going to survive if each customer you get only comes in once, and never returns.
Chris Havlicek, a well-known community leader in South Florida, says “A key for me in having repeat customers is to ensure that they have a good experience for the entire business relationship. When new clients are coming in, and already knowing what you have done around the community, and already feel good about with working with you, they are more likely to stay that way for years. Especially so for clients that also participate in the community with me.”
We know that your budget is probably tight, and that you think there isn’t much room to donate to your community. However, there are so many benefits from it, that you should try to reconsider and maybe divert funds from somewhere else. So the next time you are about to place an advertisement in the newspaper, think about if that money could be better spent in your community.
Photo credit: BMW Guggenheim Lab / Flickr