As a political/business consultant, I often suggest that small business owners become as active as possible in their local community. There are certain benefits that small business owners can reap when they participate in the local community that those that do not will not usually be able to take advantage of. These opportunities and advantages can be major at certain times when you might need them.
What Getting Involved Entails
By saying, “getting involved in your community,” I am discussing those times in which you might be able to sponsor a local event, purchase an ad in the local high school’s newspaper or many of the other ways that small business owners can spend a little money to help some kind of community project or event. These businesses will usually find themselves looked upon differently in their community. This interest brings about the opportunities and advantages that I spoke about earlier.
The easiest advantage to participating in the local community is the advertising that it can offer. People are often more likely to pick the restaurant that just funded an event at their local park than one that did not. People like it when local businesses get involved in their area, and they sometimes feel like they are helping the community by giving you their business. I had one client who noticed a 135 percent increase in business the week after supporting a local children’s play.
City Council or Commission
I can tell you from experience that city councils and city commissions give preferential treatment on a regular basis to those small business owners that get involved in their community. There are three reasons for this. First off, council and commission members know that if they do not give preferential treatment to these owners, members of the community will call them out on it. Many members of the community believe that small business owners that get involved should be treated better than those that do not.
Next, local politicians worry that if they do not give preferential treatment to small business owners who get involved in the community that bad things might happen. These politicians worry that the owners might tighten up the belt and not give as much to the community over the next year. They also worry that a small business owner might pull up stakes and head to another community that is more appreciative.
Finally, your town politicians know that if you like to get involved in the community, you might be able to help them with some of their plans. Maybe you will help fund some type of community project that politician A wants to get off the ground. Maybe a fundraiser can be held at your restaurant for a political campaign. These politicians want to make sure that you stay happy in case they need your services.
You might be surprised to know that many national politicians know who the most active small business owners are in their districts. I have found that there have been times in which I needed something from a Congressional Representative or Senator for a client in which I realized that the politician knew exactly how involved my client was in the community. Sometimes, you never know who is watching. Someone smiling on your business in Congress can help you in more ways than you think so get as involved as your budget will allow you to.
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