Be an Advocate for the Community
Yes, helping in the local community is a great way to promote your business, but I submit that the reason you want to be an active advocate for your community is that it is the right thing to do. Let’s face it, the stronger your community is, the better chance you have in building a thriving business. Of course, as a small business owner your time is at a premium, but serving on the board for a local charitable organization can give you great insight into the challenges that some of your neighbors in the community face. A better understanding of this cannot help but give you closer ties to the people your company serves. Another way to serve the community without pledging your personal time is to encourage your staff to become involved. Allow them a certain amount of time each month for volunteer purposes; and promote it. My guess is that your commitment to efforts such as this will pay off in the long run.
As the mother of a son with special needs, I have tried to devote as much of my spare time as possible as an advocate for his community. For over twenty years, I have served on non-profit boards and state-wide councils. In that time, I have connected with a lot of people I would never have met; and yes, in some instances it has turned into business for the companies for which I have worked. Obviously, this by-product is not the reason I chose to commit my time to these efforts, but I certainly do not begrudge the results.