Many of us grew up knowing business people in our community, such as the pharmacist, the butcher, and the person behind the counter at our favorite convenience store. When those businesspeople helped with the school fundraiser or donated goods to the local shelter we could recognize their contribution. They developed a great reputation in the community and that increased their business. It was considered a badge of honor to be invited into service organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimists, and Lions. Those clubs were thriving and the top professionals were eager to join.
Now it seems that between “big box” stores and online marketing, we often don’t really know local business owners. As a result, many businesspeople do not see as much benefit in devoting their time, treasure and talent to the community. It is harder and harder to attract customers or get referrals from volunteer work. The needs of the community, however, have never diminished. We need our business people to continue their participation and engagement in the community. How can that be encouraged?
We need to adapt to the changing times. If you know a businessperson that volunteers at your kids’ school or donates to your favorite charity or works hard to host events for the public, then go onto their business Google or Facebook page and thank them. “Like” their business and encourage your friends to patronize them. Tell them that you appreciate what they do for your town. You will find that the online positive feedback and support of the community will be a good incentive for business people to become active in local events and community service.
Businesses are an integral part of their local communities whether they acknowledge it or not. Even global corporations have a local presence in one or more communities. As businesses, we should be looking to engage with the community in meaningful ways that go beyond the provider-to-consumer relationship. With just a little effort we can join our clients, our customers, our employees, and our business associates in improving the community. At The Kastrop Group, we have chosen to donate to and volunteer for programs that support youth and education, but many other types of non-profit groups are also seeking business sponsors. A business is bound to its community, and a vibrant community leads to personal satisfaction and business growth.
Vice President, The Kastrop Group, Inc. Architects