When it comes to making an impact on the local community, small businesses often have the advantage over large corporations. Not only do they help to boost the economy in the town where they operate, small businesses help to unite communities. Owners of small businesses are often fiercely loyal to their communities and the people who live and work nearby return the favor with their patronage.
Maybe the idea of serving a community and earning their loyalty in return sounds ideal to you but you’re not quite sure how to go about it. Let’s explore three ways you can build a sense of community from the earliest days of operating your business.
Let Your Business Neighbors in on the Plan Before You Start Development
Both residents of the community and other business owners may have pre-conceived ideas of your business that just aren’t accurate. Unfortunately, any negative ideas, or even just a lack of any opinion at all, could cause them to oppose or be indifferent to your business development before you even move into the neighborhood. The best way to avoid conflict and build support is to be proactive. Hold several community meetings where you answer questions and address concerns honestly and fairly. Here are some specific ways you can ease concerns and help community members feel invested:
- Let people know you’re committed to the community and you intend to stay and grow long-term
- Describe how you hire employees and that you pay fair wages for their work
- Ask people to describe any potential concerns that you might not have heard about yet and what they would like to see from your business
This approach sets you up as a partner in the community from the beginning rather than an outsider coming in and taking over.
Collaborate with Other Small Companies to Improve the Business District
Keep in mind that you become part of something larger when you move your small business into an existing community. Like most towns and cities, the business district where you now operate could likely use some improvement. You might be new, but you can lead the charge to keep sidewalks clean, bring in other new businesses, install benches for people to rest, and generally make the area more attractive and inviting. Consider inviting other small business owners to a meeting to learn more about the ideas they have as well.
Support Small Business Yourself and Encourage Others to Do the Same
If you expect people to support your new small business, it’s important to set the example by purchasing products and services from other small companies. Let people know that shopping locally and small helps the community grow so it remains healthy and vibrant for years to come. No one wants to drive downtown or into a business district to see a bunch of vacant or boarded up buildings.
We would love to hear your story and help you find the best strategy as you open or grow a business in an established community. At Business Partner Alliance, we provide targeted coaching, consulting and business advisory services to help small and medium sized business owners achieve new heights. We put our passion and experience to work to help business people achieve their goals. Let’s meet for coffee to see how we can network together.