Making a success of your business can be a cut-throat game. It’s a battle for survival at the beginning, and it’s very easy to get caught up in doing things that create maximum profit, rather than things that are ethically right. (Image Credit: picjumbo.com/Pexels)
Your business is built on a foundation of it’s vision and values. It’s these that are the foundation of your brand, that allows customers to connect with what you do and who you are, and turns them from casual sales prospects into loyal clients or even brand advocates. So a sense of guiding principles and values is actually essential for long-term survival in most of today’s business world.
Giving Back In Business
When you’re up and running comfortably, your thoughts may even turn to giving back. If we feel fortunate ourselves, it’s much easier to be generous and think about how you can pay it forward. To some people’s way of thinking, altruism and profit-making can never go together, but that simply isn’t the case anymore.
You simply have to look at the rise and rise of lifestyle brands which include a socially conscious element and how popular they are with today’s consumers. Everything from ethical accessories brand Tom’s, who started off donating a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchases, to trendy clothing labels like Free People who source their materials with minimal impact on the planet.
Brands with a conscience are something that consumers are actively seeking out, and if you operate in the business-to-business world, corporations also want to know that they’re dealing with suppliers who have moral commitments and a cause they are passionate about. It’s clear that altruism is the way forward for smart businesses, but it needs to be more than just lip service. What other ways can being kind also be good for business?
We all know that networking is essential, especially when you’re first trying to build up a business. But how many times have you gone to a local networking event and struggled to kindle a meaningful contact? Participating in charity projects with other companies can help you to make that deeper connection. Whether you get involved with helping the homeless like Cynthia Telles, or you dedicate time to mentoring young people from difficult backgrounds, when you have a common cause with other businesses, you get a deeper connection. It becomes easier to start a conversation that isn’t transparently about getting that sale or client recommendation. If you get into the planning of the event itself, you have a natural starting ground to talk to others in a natural interaction – it’s a great way to build lasting business relationships.
Gain Happier Employees
Studies show that employees are happier when they work for an organisation with an altruistic edge. It makes them feel connected, and part of a bigger picture. When people feel like they’re giving back, they’re actually more likely to feel good about their own situation, and getting your team together to work on a project that gives back is a brilliant way of team building. Happier employees are more productive and stick around longer – reducing your recruitment bill and boosting your bottom line profits. Talk about a win-win situation!
Anchor To Your Community
No business is an island. We all operate within the context of our communities, and there’s no better way to join in with those than with a little altruistic contribution. Giving back to your community improves it for everyone – residents, your employees and your company too. Keeping it local is a great idea, and there are usually lots of great causes to be found on the doorstep. It tends to be more personal when you stay in your area, and that often means that you forge deeper and longer lasting bonds. This authenticity can really add value to what you do in so many ways – it can drive you to improve operations, give your business a vision and values and help win over customers. All at the same time as helping others.
Give Your Marketing An Edge
People are interested in brands that have a story to tell, and getting involved with a charity project will give your marketing an edge. The trick is to find a cause that neatly aligns with what you do – think fashion boutiques helping single mothers to get a new look for a job interview, or a dentist performing work at no charge for the jobless. The skills and services that you have can help someone out there – you just have to fi d the right connection.