Getting involved with the local community is an excellent way to build brand awareness and credibility for your business. According to Small Business Resource, “Most business owners are worried about making a profit rather than making good relations with the community where their business is located.” In actuality, a business’s involvement in the community renders several benefits including: building the business reputation, business recognition, networking opportunities, and opportunities to improve the community.
Why is it important to get involved with your local community? Take into consideration that small banks are an important part of a community and they want to lend to people they know and trust. Getting involved allows you to build this essential relationship with potential lenders and your customers. Lenders want to see that you are actively trying to build brand awareness in order to expand your business. It may also help to show proof that your community involvement has helped generate revenue. This could be done by showing how much business you received after handing out coupons at a community event. The type of information assists lenders with their decision to offer you funding. Of course, community involvement has several other advantages that will also up your chances of getting approved for a loan or another type of financing.
Building Business Reputation & Recognition
Your business’s reputation will directly affect how many customers are willing to purchase your products or services. They tend to purchase from companies that have a positive reputation in their community and genuinely care about the customers who support their business. A good business image will result in customers building trust, confidence, and loyalty for your company. As Greg Bilieu, author of Five Benefits of Good Corporate Image, puts it: “Isn’t it better to be remembered because of good deeds rather than controversial scandals?”
Customers tend to purchase products/services from businesses that they know. Having this recognition is especially important for those businesses that have a lot of competition in the local community. It will ultimately help develop customer loyalty and increase visibility of your business. It will also increase revenue because customers would rather purchase from your business than a competitor. Revenue increase is a key part of your business that lenders will look at to determine if you will be approved.
Taking the time to networking has several advantages including developing important relationships, creating opportunities, and receiving advice and assistance. Networking allows business owners to get to know people on a more personal level and helps develop those relationships that will benefit the business in the long-run. During networking events, business owners should introduce themselves to potential lenders which in turn, may create a lending opportunity. According to Chris Garrett of Chrisg.com, other opportunities may include, “joint ventures, client leads, partnerships, speaking or writing gigs, business or assets being bought or sold.”
The people a business owner meets, not only creates opportunities, but they can offer valuable advice about your business. They may suggest ways to increase sales, create effective promotion strategies, and improve customer retention; all can help improve the operations of your business. These same people may also offer assistance to you and your business such as promoting your business or linking it with their business. Some may assist you by introducing you to other people and helping you make more connections. Overall, as stated in The Benefits of Community Service for Businesses, “succeeding in business is all about making the right contacts and networking with the right people within a community in order to maximize your business opportunities.”
Opportunities to Improve the Community
Being involved will ultimately improve the community your small business is a part of. As a business owner, you can have a positive impact on your community and generate more profit in the process. You can help local members build a better community to increase the appeal to visitors. If more people are visiting the community there are more opportunities for you to increase sales thus increasing your chance of being approved for any type of financing.
Ways to Get Involved
- Develop Partnerships: According to QSR Magazine’s, 3 Ways to Improve Local Marketing, “Potential partners include all businesses and non-business organizations that interact with your target customers.” With these partnerships you can put on joint events or run joint promotions.
- Volunteer Time or Space: You can take time to volunteer at local events or charities, such as the Los Angeles Regional FoodBank or allow organizations to set up a fundraising table in front of your business. This also is a good way to get involved even if you are experiencing financial difficulties since it typically does not cost your business anything.
- Host or Sponsor an Event: Your business can sponsor a school event or local community event which will increase brand awareness.
- Sponsor Sports Teams: There are several sports teams, in local communities, that need funds for uniforms or equipment. Your business can be the sponsor of these teams and you can put your logo on the uniforms and equipment in order to increase awareness.
- Participate in Community Events: You can participate in local community events. For example, you can have a booth set-up at a local fair or festival to promote your products or services.
As a business owner you should decide how you want to get involved with your community. Doing so will benefit your business in the long-run and will increase your chances of obtaining financing from a variety of lenders.