Community involvement is something we see a lot of business owners do when they first get started. We mentioned it in the tried and true article because the activity typically wanes as a business matures. Why? You get busy. You get older. Your kids get older and have fewer activities. The reasons are many, but our focus is not just how "you" can be involved in the community, but how your "business" needs to be involved in the community. Once again, this is a team activity and these ideas should be shared and discussed with your staff.
- Be a member of (fill in blank here) - First and for most, to be a member of the community you need to show up. Your team has interests and passions that will help influence how they're involved in the community. Start discussing those and the passions and hobbies that your target market has as a way of creating a list of organizations that should count your team as a member. Organizations could include: VFW, Elks, Rotary, Boys or Girl Scouts, School Organizations (PTA/ PTO, Boosters), 4H, etc. If you're business is serious about staff being involved, make it clear by offering volunteer hours or providing a flexible work schedule when needed.
- Be Proactive - When something happens in your community, be one of the first people to respond. If your city is in danger of flooding, close the doors for two hours to fill sandbags. If there's a natural disaster heading your way, figure out beforehand how your business can help and be prepared to serve clients, employees, and the community. Make it a point at staff meetings to discuss what's happening in the community.
- Hold a fundraiser - Heard of something horrible that's happened to a client, an employee, or just someone in the community? Don't wait for someone else to do something. Be proactive. Either start a fundraiser or talk to someone who is to see how your business can help. A little activity goes a long way.
- Sponsor a (fill in the blank here) - It could be a little league team or a local event. The goal isn't to just give something money so your name shoes on the sponsor list, but something that your business and team can get actively involved with throughout the year. If you sponsor a little league team, make an effort to get to a few practices and a game or two. Perhaps schedule an outing for ice cream near the end of the season. If you sponsor an event, figure out how you can be involved. Perhaps your team can volunteer or hand out flyers during the event. The 10 Minute Marketer's Secret Formula is a great resource for this topic.
- Plan an event - It can be time consuming, but if there's not an event that you and your team see as a great opportunity to become involved you can always create your own event. All events have to start somewhere and it might as well be with you. Think about events that would logically pair with your industry, your team's strengths, your community's needs and plan from there. Great news is the E-Myth way can be applied to the event so that it runs like a well-oiled machine. Again this is a great way to get cross promotion and work with other businesses that would benefit from the same target market. You want to be involved, but you don't have to do it all.
- Show Appreciation - Let people in the community know that your business appreciates what they bring to the community. Groups of people you might show appreciation to include, but are not limited to: Teachers, military, police, first responders, hospital workers, fire fighters, etc. Show your appreciation by dropping off a treat, offering some type of discount or special event, or even dedicating a percent of profits to a special profit in their name. Also don't forget to show appreciation to your clients. Host a barbeque or luncheon and invite current clients and their friends.
- Adopt a (fill in the blank here) - You've seen the signs on highways or even at zoos or park benches. There are a lot of different items your business can "adopt." It's a great way to get your name out there. You get bonus points if it's something that will make you proactive in the community as well.