Let’s face it, your reputation in the community can make or break your business. And while no shop sets out to be the most avoided business on the block (at least, we hope no one does!), it’s not very beneficial to be the most overlooked business on the block either. When you advocate on behalf of customers, it will drive customer satisfaction and help retain those customers. So how do you get involved in your community and be a part of connecting community members together? The possibilities are pretty limitless, but we’ve put together a short list to get you started.

1. Sponsor local events: Work with your favorite local charity and sponsor a fundraiser or a 5k race in their honor. Find a local sports team to sponsor/co-sponsor. Does your town have a minor-league baseball team? Sponsor a family night! Located near local schools? Sponsor the youth soccer team. Not only will you be supporting youth athletics and promoting healthy living, but having your name on the back of 25 little pint-sized jerseys will definitely gain you some exposure and build your brand.

2. Send out a newsletter: This can be done online, in print, or both. Make sure your content is both helpful and entertaining, not simply a way to promote your business. Encourage readers to provide feedback and interaction by providing links to your social media platforms, your phone number, email and business address.

3. Host community meetings: Paying for meeting space can often pose hardships for local groups. Whether it’s a Girl Scout Troop or the local neighborhood watch group, providing a space in your office or store for them helps establish a positive relationship with the members. You will be helping them and in turn they are more apt to think of you first when they need goods or services. Are you a local non-profit? You can use our space for free!  

4. Join your Chamber of Commerce: Create connections with other area business owners by joining your local Chamber. Research shows that when a small business belongs to its local Chamber, consumers are more likely to view the business favorably and thus are more likely to purchase goods and services from it. Belonging to your Chamber can provide you with the tools and resources you may need to help with strategic issues and gain new ideas and insights. Local to GB area? Check out the Chamber of Commerce website.

5. Take part in “Shop Local” events: Help create and market events that will stimulate your local economy and provide awareness about shopping locally. Find other small business owners in your area and brainstorm ideas for Small Business Saturday or sidewalk sales, etc.

6. Be your local Go-To expert: Whether you’re a chiropractor or coffee shop owner your knowledge is what builds trust among consumers. It doesn’t matter if it’s espresso roasting or sciatic nerves, if you’re known as the local “go-to” person on a topic, people will be more likely to come to you when they need help. Be on the look-out for new ways to reach the community. Write articles for the local newspaper, host a local radio show, have a booth at a local trade show or street fair to answer questions and garner interest. The more the community sees your face and brand in positive environments the faster your reputation will grow.

Take a good look at your community and figure out what it needs. Figure out the feelings you want to evoke in your customers and provide ways to make that happen. You owe it to your community to give back and get involved and in the end, you’ll have happy consumers and a positive impact on your business’s bottom line.

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