Your business is an important part of your local community.  It helps foster a sense of loyalty and community spirit every time a customer chooses to shop locally at your store or hire you to provide online services.  

There are so many ways your small business can benefit and contribute to your local community.  Here are just 5 of the ways you can support your community with your local business.

1. Pass Referrals

Here at Biz to Biz, we understand the essential nature of a good referral.  It’s great to receive one from satisfied customers, or other businesses but it’s also gratifying to give them as well.

Do you regularly shop at any of your local stores? Do you have businesses that you love working with? Are you involved in a local networking group, and you see the passion and expertise in some of your fellow group members?

It’s time to spread the word.  One of the best ways to help your community is by strengthening the local economy.  More and more people are interested in buying from local businesses, which keeps communities strong and less money goes to corporations.  Corporations aren’t a bad thing, and it’s nice to support and uplift local businesses as much as possible.

2. Build Referral Partnerships

Referral partnerships are when you recommend someone else’s business, and get rewarded for it.  Sometimes it’s a monetary reward, or maybe it’s an exchange of services or goods. 

Referral partnerships allow businesses to gain something by referring someone, and them following through on that referral.  For this type of partnership to be beneficial, make sure your referral partner runs a business that your audience and network would be interested in and vice versa.  A good referral partnership makes it easy to pass referrals back and forth because you serve similar audiences, or your products and services complement each other. 

After all, you can’t reap the benefits of a referral partnership if you can’t find anyone to successfully refer to that also refers to you. Building a community of business professionals can help you to support your overall community. 

3. Donate

Donations can help establish your business’ values and heart.  Who you decide to support through your donations will tell your customers a lot about who you are as a business and the causes you support.  So first, decide who to donate to.

Is there a local food bank or homeless shelter that needs funds?  You can set up a money jar at your till and ask for donations.  You can also create a sale in which you give a percentage of funds to the charity or community organization you choose.

You don’t have to donate money.  You can also choose to donate products as well.  Do you create or sell a product that someone may need for a fundraiser?  Or that can be donated to a community center?  

Do you have a talent that can benefit the community with charity events?  Maybe you have a talent for lettering and can help with banners for the yearly run for cancer research.

Donating your time and talents to your local community is an excellent way to give back, especially if your business is not in a place where you can provide a lot of monetary support.

Every time we show up and participate with our community, we grow our circle of influence, which can have a positive outcome on your reputation and business. 

4. Host Public Events

If you run a brick and mortar business, this one is a great option to consider.  As a shop owner, this is a perfect option to give back to your community.

Knowledge is an essential part of running a business, and sharing that knowledge with your community will help establish trust and interest in your business.  Ask a speaker to come talk to your community about the industry you’re in, or the products you sell.  Host a networking event and update your referral network.

Although events like this are beneficial, you don’t need to host business-oriented events.  Hosting events like community art projects, or lending out your space to other entrepreneurs to utilize at night for a reduced rate can help drum up business while also benefiting others.

Your store may not have enough space for this, but if it does, consider events you can host to give back to your community.

5. Develop a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are an easy way to show your appreciation for your local customers. Giving them discounts gives them the incentive to keep coming back for more and spread the news to their friends and family.

Loyalty programs can take many forms.  It can be in the form of cards you set out for people to take and stamp when they purchase from you or a membership card where they get coupons after spending so many dollars.  

It doesn’t have to be complicated.  Just something to show your appreciation to your community for choosing to shop from your business.  If your business is mostly online, you could offer a referral program.  If people are buying a service and paying monthly for it, reduce their bill every time they refer your services to someone who becomes a customer as well.  

Every business is different and will have different views on how to give back to the community.  

Giving back is a great way to show your appreciation, as well as to maintain the goodwill of your customers and current network.  People love to shop locally not just because they are helping promote local business, but because they believe businesses like yours have the biggest impact and heart. 

Here at Biz to Biz we believe in the importance and value of small businesses and it’s our goal to help them on their journey as entrepreneurs.  

Want to learn more about who we are and what we do? You can learn more about our networking groups here, and about our certified business partner program, where leaders build business communities that strengthen your local economy. You can also contact us here or via phone to learn more. 

Remember: you may run your business alone, but you don’t need to do business alone.