small business

When you think of your business, you probably think regarding your goods and services, and your profits. That, in a nutshell, is what most companies boil down to. But if you take all of the color out of life, then it looks terribly drab.

As such, you shouldn’t just think of your business as a profit-generating machine; you also need to recognize it in terms of its wider standing in the community.

There are a number of reasons why you should think this way, including building better relationships with your customers and all the good PR that’ll come your way. But also, it’s about engaging with your workers and your customers, creating a business that works for everyone, not just the bottom line.

Finding Your Local Angle

There’s a story behind your business, and why you’re located in a community-centric part of the country. This shouldn’t just be a narrative that you bring out at dinner parties: it should form part of your business narrative.

If you leave this story untold, then you’re letting one of your most powerful tools – your unique angle – go to waste. Even if you’re not from the town that you eventually set up a business in, you ended up there somehow and fell in love with it. Use this!

You’re Not the Big Guys

Life as a small business owner is very rarely easy and can be altogether tough if you’re always doing battle with the massive corporations who want to suck up your customers for their own.

While this isn’t enjoyable, you can use it to your advantage. Just by the sheer virtue of your size, you’re not one of the big guys. Local communities still appreciate this quality, so make sure you emphasize that you are not the enemy when it comes to your business. People love rooting for the underdog if they have a chance.

Speak Their Language

You’re in a powerful position as a small business, one that bigger companies couldn’t hope to be in. You exist within your community: you’re not outsiders trying to break in, you’re one of the people on the inside.

As such, you need to find an advertising agency that is also capable of speaking the language of your target demographic. Companies like Auburn Advertising target their marketing towards the population that lives there; it is not a “one size fits all” approach, like you often see with large corporate advertising campaigns.

You’re already like the other people in your town to a certain degree; don’t hide it.   

Hosting Events

Why wait for someone else to bring the fun to your community? If you host a company event, then you’ll be drumming up interest in your business, and also making sure your potential customers have a great time.

What you do is up to you: you could host a family BBQ, summer concert, or have a concert inside your store. So long as it gets the community out in force and everyone enjoys themselves, it’ll have been a success.

A Local Charity

Of course, being involved in the community isn’t just about bringing people to your company. It’s also a chance to give back to the town that has given your business a base.

One of the best ways to do this is to dedicate a portion of your profits to a local charity (or host an annual charity drive). You’re part of the community, and you know the challenges that it faces in a way that a big corporation couldn’t.

Of course, this is also an opportunity to gain some good PR. However, so long as you pick a charity that you have a real and vested interest in, your intentions will be clear.

In Tune With The Surroundings

People take pride in their surroundings, and rightly so. They don’t like it when a company comes along and doesn’t treat the town with the same respect that they do.

That’s why it’s a good idea not only to make sure you have a minimal negative impact on the environment; but also to go above and beyond to show that you’re committed to preserving the land.

You could set up green initiatives at your work, such as ride-sharing or cycle to work schemes. If you’re thinking about building a new office, consider having a “green” section with vegetables.

Finding Interns

The youth are the future, as everyone knows! You can become part of the education system – and maybe spot the next big talent – by ensuring all the interns, you take on come from the local area. You’ll be a valuable stepping stone in the development of the community.

Plus, it’s hard to ignore that interns might work harder if they’re at a company so involved in the local life. There are reputations to uphold, after all.

Listen to the People

Any company ignores its customer’s opinions at its peril, but this is even more important when it comes to local businesses. A local company that turns its back on its immediate surroundings won’t be around for too long.

Do your best to hear the needs and wishes of the local community, and then find ways to incorporate them into your business. You won’t be able to take every suggestion on board, but the crucial part is the listening and letting your customers know that you value their opinion.  

Thinking Local, Dreaming Big

Of course, there’s such a thing as being “too” local. As an entrepreneur, you should have ambitions that stretch beyond your local surroundings. It’s a global world, and there’s no reason you can’t expand across your border and even overseas.

If you retain your local qualities, however, you’ll remain true to your original vision even when you’re in the middle of creating an empire.

Back and Forth

Ultimately, being engaged with your community is mutually beneficial: you give back to the people who are helping you along the road to success, and you’ll be ensuring you have the support of local patrons. Win-win!

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*This is a collaborative post.