What is a Community Minded Business?
Small businesses have huge impact on communities. They employ residents, provide needed goods and services. Business districts are centers of commerce and socialization, where people gather to purchase the necessities of life and run into their neighbors. As a small business owner, my consumers' wellbeing is important to me. A healthy community is a happy community and a happy community makes for good business.
What does it mean to be a community minded business?
My events production company, Cafe Con Leche, is a community minded business. It is Cafe Con Leche's business to make sure we know what our followers want to read, eat or experience. We meet a basic need for the Pittsburgh Latino community - connectivity - by providing information and events for people to gather, connect and enjoy culture.
How do you support the community without being a nonprofit organization?
This totally depends on the kind of business that you have. Obviously the first step to being a community minded business is to be a good neighbor. Make sure you take out the trash, keep your sidewalk clean, know your neighbors, etc. However, beyond that, how can you make a deeper impact?
- Community Values. Every business has goals and values that help guide their decisions. Create a list of three to five community or social values that you can use (in addition to the business goals) to help guide your decisions.
- Recognize the work of community leaders and volunteers. People give their time to things because they believe in the cause, but that does not mean they should not be recognized. As a community minded business you can give gift cards, free dinners or discounts to volunteers who give their time to local organizations. If you have a blog you can do short blog profiles to highlight the work of community leaders.
- Sustainable Products + Materials. Many conscious consumers want to see the businesses they frequent use products, materials and services that are sustainable, good for the earth and for people.
- Sponsor community events. Local events are not only great ways to market your products and services, but also contribute to the social fabric of your community. And remember, a happy community is good for business. Plus you will feel happy getting to know your consumer at local events.
- Be a mentor. Sharing your wisdom with other up and coming entrepreneurs is a great way to pay it forward. The young entrepreneurs of today and the successful business owners of tomorrow. Invest in them and you invest in the future of the community.
- Positive Content. If you have a blog or strong social media presence, you can share feel good stories, pictures and information that help communicate your community values. (Tip: It is important to know your audience, focus directly on issues that impact your core customer base.)
Being a community minded business helps to establish your business as a trusted community asset. Your customers will be loyal, they will refer people in their networks and you will have a unique insight in how to best build your business to meet the needs of your core consumer base.
What do you think are good community practices for businesses?