1. Offer Educational Resources
Start by coming up with ways that you educate your community about your product or services and, more importantly, your passion that inspired you to open your small business.
As an SMB owner, you took a risk to open your store, which means you’re passionate about what you do and what you sell. And it’s important that your shoppers recognize this; it helps build your brand identity and trust.
Hosting an educational event is a great way to meet locals and show them what your business is all about. There’s a wide range of different types of events you could host:
- Wine tasting event at a liquor shop
- Baking class at a bakery
- Latte art at a coffee shop or cafe
- Bike repair at a cycling shop
- Writing workshop at a bookstore
- Free lessons at a music store
- Handiwork classes a hardware store
These don’t have to be grand affairs; they should just be an opportunity for you and your team to introduce yourself to people in your community and remind them that you’re a part of it.
2. Sponsor Local Events
Local events are usually a lot of fun and they often rely on sponsorships to continue to operate. Find a few that are in line with your business’s ethos and offer to sponsor them.
- Softball or Little League teams
- Marathons or other running events
- Community days
- Local theater
- Bands, orchestras, or other musical acts
- Small radio shows or podcasts
- Partner with other small businesses
- Small clubs and organizations
There are so many ways for businesses to get involved in opportunities like this and it will pay dividends for your business by improving branding, partnerships, access to new audiences, and more.
3. Take Part in Festivals and Holidays
Most communities get together to collectively celebrate holidays, important local dates, or festivals. These are great opportunities to get involved with your neighborhood and meet members of the community.
- Enter the 4th of July parade and make a float.
- If you’re in the Midwest, join a meat raffle.
- Attend summer and fall festivals.
- Get a booth at state and county fairs.
- Donate to centennials, bicentennials, etc.
These events are usually pretty fun, too. It’ll be worth the prep time and investment.
4. Bring in School Groups
Chaperones might not agree, but kids will take any excuse to leave school. If you can find a way to offer engagement with school groups, bring them in. Not only is it fun for the kids, but it shows the adults that you’re a part of the community for the right reasons. Below are a few ideas to get started:
- Museums can offer free or discounted admission for morning passes.
- Amusement parks bring in school groups during their slow times of the week or year.
- Outdoor businesses, like orchards or farms, can bring in school groups for tours.
- Events or festivals might offer free prizes or lunch to student groups.
5. Host a Contest
People want free stuff. So if you offer some good prizes for a contest giveaway you’ll be sure to get a crowd.
Find some merchandise in your store that probably won’t be selling soon. Every business has slow-moving inventory or dead stock, so use these as prizes. It’ll clear out shelf space and make some people happy. Done right, it’ll turn a few people into loyal shoppers, paying you dividends down the road.
Just be careful not to offer prizes that are too shabby. You don’t want the contest to end up disappointing anyone. So if you don’t have the right product in stock, don’t be afraid to buy some prizes that will pay off in the future. And be careful about any legality involved – you don’t want to be giving away bottles of booze for a coloring contest.
6. Go to City Council Meetings
City council meetings offer a variety of opportunities for small business owners.
First, other business owners and influential people around your town will be in attendance, so it’s a great way to network and show your presence.
They’re also a way for you to present what you and your company stand for. City councils discuss important laws and regulations around your town so use it as a chance to have your voice heard.
Finally, they’ll likely be discussing matters that, at least in part, affect your business. Environmental issues, utilities, new local law, traffic, construction, etc. can all have a big impact on your business so it’s important to stay in the loop.
7. Volunteer Your Time and Money
There are so many ways that small businesses can give back to the community, so find a handful that resonate with your beliefs and values.
- Spend time at a local soup kitchen or shelter.
- Donate to local libraries, rec centers, or other organizations that help strengthen your community.
- Start a scholarship for a local or state college. Even small scholarships can make a big impact for many families.
- Host an event for local first responders.
- Organize a toy or food drive around the holidays.
- Encourage your employees to be charitable individually, too. Offer paid time off or bonuses for completing a certain amount of volunteer work.
- Contribute product or services to a charitable auction. They typically bring in a donation that far exceeds the purchase price of the item.
- Adopt a highway or sponsor another environmental initiative.
Giving back your time and money is just a responsible thing to do for your community. Like everything else on this list, it’s a win-win; you’ll have the added benefit of improving your business’s awareness and image.
Ways to Get Involved in Your Community With KORONA
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