Are You Giving Back to Your Community?
In the daily hustle of running a business, it is easy to let handling customers, managing employees, overseeing suppliers and completing the mountains of administrative tasks overshadow the real reason you started this business in the first place…to serve the community by meeting a specific need.
How to Give Back
Too many businesses make the mistake of considering self-serving content or incentives to be “giving back.” An e-book extolling the virtues of your product offerings is not giving back; neither is an event where the goal is to show customers exactly which of your products will best suite them.
However, if an athletic shoe store holds a workshop on knee pain they are serving their community and doing so in a way that does not require the attendees to give something in return. Another great example of giving back is Home Depot’s classes for DIY-ers. Once a week, the home improvement giant holds free classes on everything from building a bird house to laying tile. The attendees learn from the event and build relationships with other class members in the process.
Benefits of Giving Back
The most obvious reason for giving back is that it helps the community your business serves; your success and livelihood are dependent on the support of this group…giving back acknowledges how much you appreciate their support.
In addition to that warm and fuzzy feeling, giving back creates a buzz through word-of-mouth and may even land you some local press coverage. Truly giving back is so rare that it often generates publicity, creates evangelists and increases the perceived value of your business as a community asset.
Finally, giving back builds relationships between your business and the community. Individual customers will be more comfortable turning to you when they have a need because your value and expertise is established. Have a new product that you are not sure about? Give it away for free and listen to the feedback. Positive feedback can give you the confidence you need to launch a new offering.
Last, but not least, there is that whole karma thing…if you want to be served, serve first. Providing value to the community often results in others wanting to do the same thing for you. Robert Cialdini discusses this phenomenon in his book Influence.
Giving back to your community is a great way to recharge your entrepreneurial batteries and remind yourself of why you started this endeavor in the first place. Surrounding yourself with positive community members in the atmosphere and environment of your business does amazing things for your outlook and brand.