The pandemic has had a drastic impact on many aspects of our lives. And, undeniably, small businesses have been among the hardest-hit entities by the most recent economic crises. However, the events of the past two years have changed the way consumers shop. In 2021, two-thirds of UK consumers committed to shopping locally, leading to a 63% rise in local spending. In the US consumers shopped locally 58%. Learn how your business can improve your community.
So, if you are running a local business, your community might have become your greatest asset. Not only that but the most important supporter during the crisis that hit the country in the past months.
Now that the economy is quickly bouncing back, there has never been a better time for your business to give back to the local community. It can improve the local environment for everyone.
If you are unsure about what your business should be doing to improve your surrounding community, get started with the easy tips below.
Focus on Building a Greener Business
It has never been more important for small and local businesses to switch toward a greener model.
But from a business viewpoint, it is also important to look at what the customer trends are and what drives your users. Creating a greener business is an excellent way to save money while also improving your brand reputation and upholding the same values as your audience.
Your Business Can Improve by Making It More Accessible
Whether you run an online business, a brick-and-mortar store, or a government office, it is essential to work towards making your services more accessible for everyone in the community.
Of course, you should start by designing physical premises that are more accessible for people with disabilities and reduced mobility.
But you might also consider redesigning your website for greater accessibility and invest in government translation services to create a more inclusive, multicultural community for the future.
Support Charitable Initiatives
Today, over 75% of small businesses participate in charitable initiatives, mostly through donations. However, whether you are running a successful business or a small passion project, there is plenty that you can do to support local charitable organizations in ways other than giving donations.
For example, you and your team can help out at a local soup kitchen or help run local events. Alternatively, you might decide to help by providing supplies for free or at a reduced cost.
If you are unsure about the best ways to help local charitable organizations and non-profit initiatives, just get in touch with them! Not all of them are just after donations, and some might appreciate the help of volunteers and the availability of supplies.
Partner With Other Businesses in the Area
Partnering with charitable organizations and government initiatives can help your business gain a positive reputation and improve the local community. But another strategy that you might consider involves a partnership with other businesses in the area.
In particular, you might consider working with other local small businesses to provide local buyers with discount and loyalty schemes. Or, you might collaborate with businesses that offer complementary services to yours to provide a better service to consumers.
Lastly, you might consider networking with your local competitors. Depending on the relationship you wish to build with them, you might consider working on different unique selling points.
You could also create an alliance that will benefit everyone.
Support Local Employment
The pandemic has had a drastic impact on the local economy and might have disrupted the local employment environment. However, as a business in the area, there is a lot that you can do to improve the local employment rate. As well as create career opportunities, and help younger professionals develop their skills.
If you are a growing business, the best way to help the local work economy is to hire young talents in the area. From graduates to STEM professionals looking to further their training.
At the same time, not many businesses are able to employ a large number of workers. In this case, you might consider running beneficial initiatives such as:
- Collaborate with schools and support the creation of local laboratories.
- Provide work experience opportunities for your workers interested in a career in the field.
- Make available opportunities for internships and traineeships for everyone in the local community. Especially those who are starting a career in the industry you operate in.
- Provide your current and future employees with education and development opportunities. These can help them develop their skills too.
Pick Your Suppliers
Whether you are running an online eCommerce store or you are operating a small physical store, the way you pick your suppliers matters.
Of course, today, both consumers and business owners are interested in finding the best value for money when shopping for supplies and labor.
However, the landscape is changing rapidly. Not only consumers are willing to spend more for higher-quality products, but they are also looking to become loyal to businesses that uphold their same values.
So, make sure to choose your suppliers and material wisely! In particular, make sure to focus on items, services, and materials that are sourced locally, sustainably, and ethically.
Your Business Can Improve by Taking Part in Local Initiatives
No business can survive alone. It is extremely important for small ventures to take part in the life of the community.
There are many ways to do so successfully. As we have seen above, you might consider taking part in charitable initiatives, including beach clean-ups and shifts in the local soup kitchen.
However, you might also consider becoming an asset and helping others in the community-run local festivals, markets, concerts. As well as other events that can draw the people in your community together.
Don’t Forget About Aesthetics So Your Business Can Improve
Lastly, you should do your part to ensure that your business contributes to creating an aesthetically-pleasing community.
From keeping your storefront in order to choose your advertising material wisely, you can help create a beautiful local area that is both diverse and well-kept. Don’t forget that the look of the local environment can impact the entire community’s wellbeing, morale, mood, and happiness!
What can your business do to improve community? I’d love to know more in the comments.