Zane Benefits salutes the backbone and job creators in our economy during National Small Business Week (May 4-8). In our continued mission to reinvent employee benefits for small businesses, we want to help ensure they remain strong and competitive. Our featured blog offers guidance on how building community relationships can help strengthen a small business.
It doesn’t matter if your small business has been around for one year or 20 years, if your community doesn’t love you, your business is losing out on a lot of opportunities to grow. Why? It’s a life hack successful small business owners have figured out: be part of something bigger. Be part of your community.
Remember, your community is the foundation by which your small business will succeed or not. Every successful small business started out small with a community on their side and grew their business from there. Your local community members will be there as loyal customers through thick and thin if you show them how much they matter, and find ways to give back to them.
So, to help you get started, we’ve come up with seven ways you can start to get you, your employees, and your small business out in the world to be seen.
Life Hack 1: Volunteer
If you really want to show your community how much they mean to your small business and build a great deal of trust, volunteer. It’s a way to show your customers, potential customers, and everyone in between that your community’s well-being matters and is deeply important to you.
Life Hack 2: Be Part of a Community Board
One of the best ways to get you and your business known is to become part of a community board. If you can, find a board that is closely related to your business. For example, if your small business is an accounting firm, you may want to become part of the Economic Committee or something where you can utilize your expertise advice.
Life Hack 3: Build Partnerships
Ever thought of partnering up with another successful business? We’re not talking about your competitors, rather, we’re talking about other businesses in your community who sell a product or service that goes perfectly with your own. For example, if you own an vision clinic, you may want to partner up with a local boutique that sells sunglasses in order to get your business out there. You never know, one-time partnerships for an event could easily lead to a long-lasting, prosperous business partnership -- one that could bring you more business.
Life Hack 4: Be a Community Event Participant
Adding to the previous life hack, most communities host 4th of July events, expos, etc. in which you can sign up your small business to be a part of. These events are perfect to get potential customers excited and familiar with your product or service.
Life Hack 5: Host a Community Event
You’ve been a part of your community’s event, but what about hosting the town’s event? Of course, this is a big step, but it’s one that could be worth it if the exposure and market audience is in line with your business
Life Hack 6: Donate When You Can
Any size of business can donate to the community, but the way you donate is where it really counts. For instance, if you only have around $1,000 for the year to donate, you’ll want to make it last as long as you can. Donate to local sports, schools, or other small businesses who are just getting on their feet. Why? As you donate funds, your name is attached to the funds. People will start to know who you and your business are. They’ll see that you care about the success of the community.
Life Hack 7: Create a Contest
Lastly, everyone loves a contest. And piggybacking off of donations, you may want to save a portion of your annual donation funds to give away money. A good example of this is a $500 scholarship for graduating students who are entering their first year of college. There are many other types of contests you can create and the options are unlimited. Be creative!
In order for your small business to succeed and grow, having the community on your side isn’t an option, it’s an absolute necessity. Why? Your community is the heart of your business. No matter how large your business grows, you’ll always remember those devoted customers who get you where you are. Remember, be part of something bigger -- be part of your community. You’ll get your name and brand out there, but more importantly, you’ll be giving back to the community that is the reason your business is alive and well today.
What other ways can you think to give back to your community? We’d love to hear your suggestion. Comment below.