Being civic minded has its advantages for small business.

Small Business Promotion through Community Involvement

Image may not be everything, but it counts for a lot when you’re a small business struggling to develop an identity, market on a budget, and get some effective word of mouth advertising going. Enhancing your public presence can get your business noticed without spending a fortune, and it can establish you as a community leader, a benefit that conventional marketing and mere money can’t buy.

Bonding with your community also helps you network strategically and forge important links with potential clients and other like-minded business people in a way that positions your brand as responsible, involved, and approachable:

Be a good neighbor. A fundamental precept of community is being involved with your neighbors. Never underestimate the power of face to face contact and a willingness to roll up your sleeves and pitch in when the situation calls for it. Whether it’s a potluck dinner to help the homeless or a weekend push to beautify your community with a volunteer road cleanup, being part of the solution to local challenges will get you noticed and remembered. To get started, subscribe to your local paper and check out county and community websites for the latest news. Get your employees involved and enthusiastic about contributing their time and passion to a worthy cause. It won’t take long for you to make the contacts necessary to stay in the know about upcoming events and other ways you can help your small business by helping others.

Be the expert. Local news outlets are always looking for industry experts with ties to the community. Send out regular press releases whenever you have a new product roll-out or noteworthy hire to announce. Without much effort you’ll become the go-to company for topical opinions, explanations and recommendations.

Use your voice and your vote. Be aware of local politics and participate in the process.

Be a sponsor or contributor. It may cost a little, but the goodwill is priceless when it comes to becoming a sponsor for a local school sports team or other worthy cause. When you get your name out there, the opportunities will start rolling in. If you have a chance to contribute to a charitable cause that’s a good match for your products or services, pursue it aggressively. Just remember to vet anything new and unfamiliar. When in doubt, stick to established charities that get good local press coverage.

Join the Chamber of Commerce. Your subscription will buy more than a directory listing. Chamber of commerce activities offer networking opportunities that can be invaluable.

Pursuing community involvement as a method for growing your business is a strategy that works best if you take the long view. You’ll get more than you give, but it will take six months or more to see results. Big businesses leverage community involvement into brand enhancement brilliantly. With a strategy and some community spirit, so can you.

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