It is no secret that it takes a village to raise a child, but it is less widely known that it takes a community to raise a business. Many small business owners may feel as if their business is their baby, and your community is there to help your baby grow! Since you likely don’t have too much time on your hands, I went out and did a bit of research for you! Without further ado, here are some ways to get the community involved in your business:
1. Host Events!
Many people are either not aware of or not interested enough to become involved in your business, so put yourself out there and get your community involved by hosting something specifically for them! The types of events you host will vary depending on what your business is about, but virtually any idea will do as long as it is fun and gets people to come and enjoy themselves. I also suggest incorporating a contest into your event because they are fun and people are likely to get involved. Carlo’s Bake Shop did a great job of hosting an event for the 100th anniversary of the bakery where the entire community came together to celebrate and eat some good food!Whatever your business is, get creative and have a blast!
2. Team up With Other Small Businesses!
Your community doesn’t consist only of people; it is made up of other small businesses like yours. Getting involved in other businesses and, in turn, having other businesses become involved in your own is a great way to get the community engaged. For instance, you and other local businesses can agree to recommend customers to each other and encourage customers to shop locally! You can also buy your own supplies from local businesses and have them buy from you. This is completely doable, just ask the Vermont Brownie Company! They make it a point to buy as many ingredients locally as they possibly can. This will ensure that you have the community be part of your company and also allow you to help out your community.
3. Provide Internships.
Internships have a way of attracting people—particularly students—to your business. The best part is it is fairly easy to set up an internship. Need someone to update your website? Set up an internship! Need some help with paperwork? Set up an internship! Almost anything that you might need help with in your business can be done with or by someone in your community interested in gaining experience through an internship.
4. Have a Suggestion Box
It is sometimes easier to get your community’s opinion if you let them leave it anonymously. Simply having a suggestion box, not only provides a way to get feedback from your customers, but also gets them involved. Your suggestion box can even be designed into your website! Many businesses already have a place on their website where customers can ask questions or leave comments. However you want to incorporate it, this is a cool way to hear the voice of your community.
5. Fundraise/Raise awareness for a local charity!
It is always a good thing to help out good causes, and if you can get your community involved in both these causes and your own business at the same time, why not?? You can even combine this idea with hosting an event and have a contest where the goal is to raise as much money as possible for a certain charity, and then you could even match the amount! The more you do for your community, the more they will be willing to do for you. In fact, over 80% of Americans want more businesses to support different causes and charities. This way both you and your community will feel better about your business!
There you have it! If you’ve been wanting to get your business and the community more involved but have had no idea how to do so, get out there and try some of these tips. Remember, however, that you can get as creative as you want; who said taking care of business couldn’t be fun?