Having a presence in the local community is crucial for any business if you want people to connect with your company. A community-driven business is likely to do far better than a company in its own silo, cut off from the people around.
One of the main advantages of being a part of the community is that your business serves as a badge of honor for the local people, who take pride in the fact that your business is in their community. You can draw on this, to increase support for your company, your community is like a group of brand ambassadors as well as being potential investors in your company.
Building a community-centric business necessarily has to be a core part of your professional philosophy. Here are a few ways you can get involved in your community:
- Serve on a local community board This is one of the best ways to get yourself known in the community. Additionally, a community board that is similar to your professional interests is even more useful in casting your net wide and building your potential customer base. Often, the people involved in these boards are members who have some authority in their respective fields, who in turn can influence your business in more ways than one. Reaching out to them is important as they will ultimately lead you to a potential set of customers.
- Partner with like-minded or complementary businesses This works best as a reciprocal partnership – where the people you partner with benefit from your customer base while your business benefits from theirs. For example, if you’re a startup bakery, partnering with the local neighbourhood school will put you in touch with children and their parents who always like a sweet bite out, and they are made aware of a new find in their community. Later, utilise these relationships you’ve made to build your potential customer base.
- Volunteer with local NGOs Volunteering is testimony to the fact that you think about people in the community and things other than your own business and are willing to be part of something bigger than yourself. Either volunteer by yourself or gather your employees and volunteer at a local NGO as a team. Volunteering is a sure-shot way of building useful and genuine contacts and turning to them in your hour of need.
- Participate in local community activities Towns and neighborhoods often host local events like second-hand sales, sports activities, etc which are great opportunities for promoting your business. Make sure you have an incentive for people to come to you (free food, discounts, etc) and remember to get their contact details so that you can keep in touch with them and get them through your doors when necessary.
- Plan and host local events Planning your own event builds on and utilizes all of the above ways that we told you to get in touch with the local community. By hosting community events, you are not only making yourself more visible but are also sending the message that you are interested in the welfare of the community.
These five ways can lead your business to become more valuable in the eyes of the community. And once you’ve won them over, half the battle is won. Local attention for your business is a strong first step in building your business and if done correctly, can prove to be a huge asset. Remember to make friends along the way and do not just view them as potential customers… advice and insight from local people can build your business in many unseen ways.