Building Community Goodwill Leads to Small Business Longevity
Forget the business-speak for the moment. Let go of the marketing, advertising and sales plans you have tirelessly worked on for 2011. Look at the core value of your business plan, the foundation on which everything else is built.
If it does not focus on investing in community goodwill, you are missing a chance for long-term growth. Investing in goodwill is community development at its most basic, grassroots element .
The arts are a popular choice for building goodwill. Look to add local artists work to your walls and get involved with First Friday Art Walks. They now have them in just about every corner of the world.
Start a monthly acoustic music series (ours was called the Community Concert Series) and invite local musicians to perform. Charge a minimal door fee of $10 or less and give 50 percent or more to the band. Every local group has a local and diverse following.
Eclectic events cover a broad spectrum of your community, so tailor events to their needs. Just make sure you hold events you have a passion for, it shows.
The goal is to break-even, your local residents know when they have a devoted local business. Pay the performers and artists; your payoff is the long-term sales growth and countless, positive recommendations for your business.
Each time you advertise your community events on local bulletin boards, websites and public radio stations, you are building goodwill. Over time, customers become your best sales force, because they believe in your company, not just in your products or services.
Include other small businesses to help with your events. Local coffee shops, bakeries and music stores will often send over vendor carts or share event costs in exchange for being added to the advertising.
Support other companies in their endeavors. Small businesses are a healthy part of communities. Their success leads to a stronger economic climate that helps everyone; goodwill comes around to those that work to create it.
Take a quick look at your 2011 plans and make sure investing in your local community is a common theme that flows through them. Building goodwill is giant step towards developing strong and vibrant local neighborhoods for the small businesses that depend on them.