Becoming involved in the community is a powerful way to form deeper links with your customers and expand the purpose of your business beyond profit.
Six ways to involve your business in the community
A strong sense of community is what gives Glen Eira’s neighbourhoods and shopping strips life. Small business participation in the community not only plays a crucial role in establishing and maintaining an area’s vibrancy and unique character, but also provides many benefits to the businesses themselves. Getting involved with the community is a great way to network, develop relationships with your neighbours, boost employee morale, learn new skills, receive honest feedback from your customers and boost the profile of your business as well as your area. Here are six entry points for getting your business involved with the local community.
1. Sponsor a sports team
We guarantee that there’s a junior sports team in your neighbourhood who would appreciate your help. Your commitment doesn’t have to be big; it could be anything from supplying the half-time fruit snack every Saturday through to bankrolling interstate competition trips. Sometimes this kind of sponsorship gives you the opportunity to advertise your business on uniforms and merch, but more significantly, it gives you the opportunity to connect with local families in a fun, friendly and pressure-free environment. Who knows? They may even choose to have their end of season celebration at your venue.
2. Reach out to schools
Lending financial or practical support to a school is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to the future of your neighbourhood. School fetes and fundraisers are an easy place to start by donating to a raffle or resources. A longer term commitment, such as becoming involved in the school’s work experience program is not only a good way to connect with students in your community; it could also help you find new employees who are interested in a career in your industry and keen to learn.
3. Offer classes
As a business owner, you have valuable skills and industry expertise that others could benefit from. Consider offering a free class or seminar once or twice a year to young professionals or those looking to learn more about your industry.
4. See what the Scouts and Guides are doing
Scouts is more than learning knots and Guides is more than selling cookies! These groups are extremely active in the community and offer a whole suite of fun and educational activities for young adventurers. Have a look at your local branch’s curriculum and see if there is a skill gap that yourself or a member or your team might be able to fill.
5. Start a skills swap
Initiating or participating in a skills swap program with another business or professional in your community is a great, way to get the goods or services you need without monetary investment. Being part of a local skills swap network also helps you meet other traders in your area and could even lead to referrals.
6. Join or start a trader’s association
Traders associations enable businesses in the local area to support one another, solve problems, and come up with ways to foster community spirit. In Glen Eira, traders associations are also responsible for the holiday-themed decorations that go up each year, as well as many other neighbourhood events and celebrations. Starting an association is simple; just gather together a few interested traders in your strip and sit down as a group to discuss the challenges and opportunities you see in your area. You can start as a group that meets regularly and then decide to become a formal association later. Imagine the possibilities and help you could bring to your area!