8 TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS TRYING TO ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY
CHARITIES & FUNDRAISERS Being part of local fundraisers is a great opportunity for small business owners to engage with the community and add a philanthropic facet. Why not set up a stall at the local fundraiser? Or offer up your time to help set up the event? Franchisees who are part of larger businesses should also look at creating long term relationships with charities that have been approved by their franchiser.
DONATE Small business owners with little time should consider donating products and services to charity auctions (make sure they are of high quality!) or making monthly contributions to a charity. Community causes such as clean up days are a great way to get your brand name out there and meet and greet your customers!
SPONSORSHIPS How many times have you seen a kids’ soccer team wearing jerseys emblazoned with the name of a local business? Not only are sponsorships great for your brand image, they also provide effortless advertising. When choosing a team to sponsor, look for clubs and teams that have some kind of relevance to your business. Sharing mutual interests allows for future partnerships and collaborations.
COLLABORATIONS Stuck for innovative ideas? Why not collaborate with local brands, stores and other business owners to create a new product or develop a new offering for the community? For example, if you sell paint, look to collaborate with local builders on a project. This will give you access to their customer base and contacts as well as doubling your reach.
GIVEAWAYS & COMPETITIONS Have some fun by engaging the community through social media competitions and giveaways. If you’re in the food industry, why not ask the community to create a new product for your menu? At the end of the competition, you can host a ‘tastings’ night for the top creations, getting the community together in your store.
START A GROUP Look at starting a community group that meets frequently to discuss common interests and agendas. More formal groups are great for discussing community issues that need to be addressed. Informal groups could focus on a hobby around your product or service offering. For food businesses, hosting weekly cooking classes is a great way to keep your product in demand while engaging the community at the same time.
HOST AN EVENT Offering up your store as the venue for a community event is a great way to show that you’re a ‘team player’ when it comes to community engagement. Not only will the wider community appreciate the gesture, it also gets people into your store and raises awareness of your business.
SHOW SOME SUPPORT Being engaged within the community means that you have to keep abreast of community and social issues. Contributing an opinion piece to your local paper demonstrates a commitment to the community and shows that you care. You can also engage on social media with well informed debates and thoughts on local issues.