Entrepreneurs, by definition, are extremely busy people. They have to worry about big-picture things like product development and service delivery while keeping an eye on the competition all at the same time.
Simply managing clients, employees and the business in general takes up just about every second available.
So, as a small business owner, what time do you have to devote to community involvement?
Enough, actually, if you know where to find it.
Why being a civic leader might be good for your business
Recognizing the importance of civic involvement on your part as a small business owner is key to cementing your position in the community — not only as a business owner, but as a leader and trustworthy member of your society. It might even lead to more business as more and more of your community members begin to recognize you and your brand.
What can you do to become a community leader?
As an entrepreneur, you are already a leader. Now all you have to do is transfer some of those skills towards solving other non-brand-centric issues.
Communities are fraught with issues that need the visionary touch of thought leaders. These problems include hunger, homelessness, children who lack of proper role-models and community health issues.
As an entrepreneur, you should be able to identify one issue that affects your community. Focus on this one issue. Use your visionary approach to identify a solution or at least bring the problem to the attention of other community leaders.
What should you do?
First of all, realize that there is no right or wrong way to be involved in your community. As long as you are marshalling resources for the community’s good, you are doing the work of a community leader.
Here are three places you can start today:
Do you come from an area where affordable housing is an issue?
If so, you could team up with other local business owners to build affordable houses for the local community. You will have solved a major issue for your local community by providing safe and secure housing for those who need it, and you will also be providing jobs.
2. Sponsoring a student
There are few things more rewarding than to give a deserving, yet underprivileged child a fair chance at a life full of promise through education.
We all know how expensive tuition can be. You could take it upon yourself to create a scholarship or directly sponsor a child each year. What you will be doing is telling young people within your community that as long as they work hard, good things will come to them regardless of their backgrounds.
3. Being visible within the community
Sometimes, it is not even about what you create for the community, but the fact that you are visible and supporting some of its initiatives. As Lead Change Group points out, it is all about who knows you.
Politicians have mastered this art. They are highly visible in the community, especially during election season. Like those politicians, you should attend local events, be quick to participate in charity events, sponsor prizes for local competitions and be vocal at town meetings. This way, you interact with others, hear their concerns and maybe even pinpoint a problem you could solve.
Community leadership isn't about throwing your money around. It’s about being there for your fellow community members. Your involvement has to be genuine and impactful.
Just take a second to listen to your community and try to find an issue that you think you might be able to help with. Or, you could just support a cause that is dear to your heart, one that just happens to affect a good number of people within your community.
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