Many service businesses seem to be okay with just being one of many businesses in their community that people might find when they need your service. Businesses that stand out to people are the ones that are making a difference in the community. Yes, they want a good plumber or electrician, but if your home services business has a good reputation and you helped to build the new women’s shelter in town, they’re calling you. People want to give business to businesses that are giving back. How is your service business giving back to your community?
“Giving back” includes making donations and supporting local charities, but it also means being involved in the community, speaking up, contributing, and showing that your business wants to be part of building a brighter future for your community.
A few years ago, Mike Agugliaro interviewed Dave Sanderson, a survivor from the Miracle on the Hudson. On January 15, 2009, Sanderson knew he was exactly where he was supposed to be. He was the last passenger to get off the plane that Captain Sully miraculously landed on the Hudson River because he put himself at risk to ensure that all the other passengers got off that sinking plane. He emerged with a mission to encourage others to do the right thing. Sanderson emphasized to the Warrior audience that our employees have a need to contribute and make a difference in our communities. He said, “The companies that are succeeding are those that are philanthropic and giving back to the community while looking at the bigger picture.” He is so right!
How to make a difference in your community
Making a sizable donation to a big charity fundraiser in your community is a great thing to do and it’s good for promoting your business if the local newspaper publishes a picture of you presenting an oversized check to the charity. But here’s a few other ways of giving back:
- Sponsor a little league (or other sports) team and encourage your employees to actually show up at their games and cheer for them.
- Get yourself on local talk radio (or TV or newspaper) to share your expertise on home security, flood prevention, electrical safety—whatever community concerns you can address as a local expert.
- Encourage your leadership team to serve on local boards and find ways to serve in the community.
- Enter a float in an annual parade, even if it’s just a few of your service vehicles, and have your employees in uniform give out candy.
- Let an employee know that you’ll join them in the walk-a-thon they do every year for a local charity, and encourage everyone on staff to join the two of you in raising money and doing the walk together.
Giving back is good for your community. Your company can’t do all the good that your community needs, but your community needs all the good that you can do. Giving back is good for your employees when they get that pleasant feeling that their contribution has made a difference. That shared experience is good for your workplace culture. Giving back is good for business—for getting your name and brand out there and for attracting new customers. It’s not our motive, but, undeniably, there is a positive payback for companies that pay it forward.