“If someone gives you one hundred percent, give them back two hundred percent!”
When is the right time to give it back? NOW!
Now that we have landed on the last chapter of this book, I want you to understand the value of generosity. Business owners who practice paying back to the society and encourage community involvement have a unique and highly reputed image and they can be easily distinguished from their competitors. They witness various benefits, entailing loyal clientele and happier employees.
Cone Communications and Echo Research conducted a study back in May 2013 that stated,“82 percent of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility (CSR) when they decide as to which products or services to buy and where to shop”. Judging it from a business owner’s point of view, I would say that sounds just like another reason why to focus on community development and its prosperity.
When people hear that your business is not only about accumulating profit but about a social cause, they begin to connect on an emotional level. But I do not want you to do it for this sake. Do it because you can, for “Your greatness is not in what you have but what you give.”
Develop sustainable relationships with your community and help them evolve!
Look, observe, and identify what your community longs for? What is it that they don’t have but you do and how can you bring more prosperity to it? Watch out for tragic events like if the schools are struggling due to lack of financial support or human resources.
Does any animal shelter require donations? Often it happens that there are people who want to volunteer for such services but the money factor seems to create a bit of problem. Get out of your chamber and walk the streets, talk to people – local people. Seek their advice and learn about ongoing trends. This way allows you to serve the community in a better way.
“Charity begins at home” is one of my favorite quotes and in this context, it is quite literal. All you have to do is set up a collection jar. Just choose a charity that is significantly important to your team and collect donations in a high-traffic area inside your business. This way you will not only collect a handsome amount of money but also you will be spared with any time commitment issue.
Reach out to the common public and interact with them. You never know when a random stranger would give you another million dollar idea.
You can channelize your own ways to reach out to people. One interesting way was discovered by an UberX driver named Paul, who also happens to be the co-founder of Kayak, which was sold to the Priceline Group for what turned out to be about $2.1 billion in 2013.
His sole purpose of driving the Uber is research. So far he has picked up only 26 customers. Once in an interview, English said, “We are rethinking how people book their travel, from how they envision travel, who they take advice from, where to go, how much work it takes to book it.” Further elaborating his statement he said,”I always said even when we were at Kayak that we sucked less than other websites. I was trying to make it simple, but even with Kayak there was some work involved.”
His research goal with Uber is quite fascinating, he says he wants to learn what the rating experience feels like, basically. “I wanted to study what it felt like as a driver, realizing the fact that at the end of every ride, you were rated on a scale of 1 to 5, it is quite interesting actually, and the drivers rate their passengers as well. They are trying to reward kindness. I think that has been really good,” Paul says.
The point of reaching out to the common public is to understand the demand on the global scale. You will not relate to something unless you have been there, period. So if you are a business person who wants to seek the real audience poll, I suggest you go among them.
Involving your employees can enhance your productivity.
Providing your employees with an opportunity to give back is significant to morale and develops a collaborative and inspired team. When your employees love what they are doing, they seek not stress but solace in it, they do a better job.
Volunteering also offers leadership opportunities for employees, which leads to enhanced staff performance, fulfillment, and ultimately, increased productivity and sales.
Businesses owners should evaluate their business and employee strengths, likewise, empower them, and based on their skill set choose volunteer activities that draw upon those strengths. For example, if you own an accounting company, you could volunteer to help a nonprofit organization by helping them with accounting practices or teaching them a bit about taxes.
Likewise, if you own a hotel that has a restaurant in it, consider catering a police staff meeting to show your appreciation for your local policemen. These kinds of practices open the door to future catering opportunities that can prove to be an incremental way to increase revenue. Determine the amount of time your employees contribute to volunteering purpose through the business on an annual basis, taking into account your operation demands. Reward them accordingly.
If you get, give, and if you learn, teach.
Having said that, when you reach a level where people consider you as an established business person, it is about time that you acknowledge others as well. And one of the prominent ways to support your community is to promote small businesses in the area.
Purchase local commodities as often as possible and refer the local companies if you believe they have the potential to do the particular job. Provide links to those local companies on your website. Cross networking with non-competing companies with same markets always helps the business owner to reach more people and help out other local business owners just like theirs. It is a win-win!
As a leader in your industry, you likely have an area of expertise that is of value to others. Consider teaching classes on entrepreneurship to local residents or offer to teach a specialized skill that could be of value to those who have been out of the workforce for a while.
Another way to increase your CSR is by participating in holiday food drives. What you can do is, encourage your employees to bring in non-perishable, unopened canned and boxed foods and collectively you can donate them to the local food banks. Feeding a hungry stomach is a fantastic way to help your community, and it requires very little additional ties. You will only have to spare a half hour or so just before Christmas to transport the items.
Similarly, you can sponsor a local sports team. But how do you find one? It is quite possible that one of your employees has a kid and he plays for a local basketball team, you just have to ask your staff. What about a repeat customer that plays for a team? Now once you have the team and you reckon they are in need of some financial support, just fund them so that they can win tournaments and in return, you get the publicity. This is a simple way to help out with very minimal time investment.
Not only sports teams but you can also sponsor a college fest or a cultural fest organized by locals. You can ask the organizers to call some influential personality from your industry or any other. It does not really matter but if a motivational speaker talks about the kind of work you do and the way you have been serving the society it will help you a great deal. (THIS IS NOT INTENDED FOR FAKE ADVERTISING, RATHER CREATE AWARENESS AMONG PEOPLE).
You can hold different kinds of contests. This way you address two major purposes, recreation for your employees and collecting money for charity. This is a way to support your community while enjoying yourself. Encourage your employees and associates to participate in such contests. Each employee can select a local charity and instead of prizes, money will go to the charities chosen by the winners.
Nowadays business owners are now persuading and encouraging their staff, associates, and other employees to volunteer by offering them “paid time off for volunteering”. Yes, it is actually happening. You as a business owner can open-heartedly show your support for the community by giving employees a pre-defined amount of time each month, quarter, or year for volunteer work. This will not only boost up the morale of your staff but also increase a business’s community involvement.
There are a few multinational corporations among some of the biggest firms on the planet that provide a pre-defined number of hours ever calendar year that are fixed for a company to volunteer at a charity of their choice.As a significant part of your community, it is rather important to constantly support the local residents and businesses that have been supporting you.
By researching different ways you can partake in local events and organizations, you will be able to come up with your own unique way of giving back to your local community and trust me it feels good indeed.
Hopefully, you now have a properly ordered list before you that clearly defines the causes you are passionate about, things that interest you, how you are looking to give back and how often. Now all you have to do is unearth a place to volunteer and start! Reach out to people you know who are active in the community and be utterly explicit about what you are looking for, you can also take the help of social media to inform your friends that you are looking to volunteer and asking them for help finding the right opportunity. Do your online research! And get started!
This is THE END of this series.