When done authentically, participating in local networking can be an investment in the future success of a business.
No matter the business — whether it is primarily B2B or B2C, has a highly visible storefront, or serves a niche industry — engaging in the community and maintaining an active and visible presence can be a fundamental part of its success.
Community is at the heart of your business. Playing a prominent role locally helps a business create a close network and make the connections it needs to thrive. The following are some simple ways a business can become a visible leader in its community.
Join the local chamber of commerce
Businesses do better when they are supported by other businesses. Through the resources, events and connections that a business makes as part of the chamber of commerce, it can partner with others to make the community stronger and better for businesses.
Organize volunteer days
Create opportunities for employees to take a day to give back. Some ideas include working at a food shelter, cleaning up a local park or organizing an ongoing charitable endeavor. Invite members of the community to join your efforts, and make sure to share on social media! Bonus: Volunteer days can double as team-building opportunities.
Sponsor athletic events
Consider sponsoring 5K runs or bike races, particularly those that support or raise money for important causes. Have a team of employees participate in the event while wearing custom jerseys featuring the business name or logo!
Participate in community events
Seek out opportunities for public, in-person exposure at neighborhood block parties, fairs, parades or local events sponsored by the chamber of commerce. Set up a tent and be ready to introduce the business (and yourself!) and get to know those who live and work around you. Consider handing out small items to advertise the business and choose items that will benefit those attending the event – think fans for hot summer events or hot cocoa in branded cups at cooler events. Not just stuff that will get thrown in a junk drawer.
Even if the events don’t directly relate to a business, activities such as networking events, art showings or a monthly speaker series will interest some members of the community. They might just become future clients and vendors.
It’s hard to find time to get away from the numbers, demands and details that go into daily business operations. But taking the time to position a company as a prominent member of the community is rewarding, conducive for networking and can be good for the bottom line.