It’s not uncommon for small business owners to be concerned about large, nation-wide chains and massive online retailers. To say it's hard to compete against the services, the selection and the prices they offer is an understatement.
Instead of being threatened by these large companies, however, many small business owners look at the competitive landscape and see an opportunity to redefine their business by becoming a vital member of the community.
No matter what kind of business you run, whether you're primarily B2B or B2C or you have a highly visible storefront or merely a serve a niche industry, maintaining an active and visible presence in your community can be a fundamental part of your success.
Engage with your back yard
Your local community is at the heart of your business, and it's here where you can create a close network and make the connections you need to thrive. The following are some of the simplest — but most effective — ways to reach out and become a visible leader in your community.
- Organize volunteer days, where members of your office take the day off to give back. Some ideas include working at a food shelter, a Habitat for Humanity work site, cleaning up a local park, or organizing an ongoing charitable endeavor.
- Sponsor athletic events, such as 5K runs or bike races. You might even have a team of employees participate in an event and have custom jerseys made for them.
- Seek out opportunities for public, in-person exposure at neighborhood block parties or fairs. Set up a tent and be ready to introduce yourself and get to know those around you.
- Host events that might have nothing to do with your business, such as networking events, art showings or a monthly speaker series that will interest members of your community.
- Join the local chamber of commerce. Small businesses do better when they are supported by other small businesses. Through the resources, events and connections you make as part of the chamber of commerce, you can partner with others to make your community stronger and better for small businesses.
Everyone who owns a business is busy. There's no doubt that it's hard to find time to get away from the numbers, demands and details that go into your daily operations. But taking the time to position your company as a prominent member of the community is both rewarding and good for the bottom line.
For more information on how to successfully manage your small business, visit usbank.com/smallbusiness.