Starting a small business is not just about the person with the idea and how much money they can make. Look at the large companies that comprise the corporate profile of this country. Every one of them has a program dedicated to giving back to the community. Entrepreneurs like Warren Buffett instinctively know they have to give generously. They understand the concept that success comes only by helping as many people as possible achieve their goals.
We Wanted to Contribute and Make a Difference
There is more to helping the community than donating cash to worthy causes. In the first couple years of doing business, my Internet marketing company did not have surplus cash flow to make large donations. However, the people in my company had the willingness to contribute and we soon discovered there were countless opportunities to participate in "hands on" activities that made a difference.
We Found Organizations Needing Help
The easiest way for us to give back to the community was to get involved with existing organizations that needed volunteers. Our first big venture was with a club that supported the young people in the area in a number of ways. We helped with the fundraising efforts to compile several thousand dollars to help clothe children in need. Three weeks before Christmas we took more than 700 children under the age of 12 shopping at local "big box" stores to purchase winter coats, hats, gloves, shoes, and outfits for school.
We took a half day to get our safe food handler's license so we could volunteer with organizations that put on outdoor cooking events to raise money. Flipping burgers on the grill was fun to do for a good cause. We helped cook food for the residents at a local men's shelter.
The city where our head office is located frequently has winds that blow plastic shopping bags and other trash onto the streets and open areas. Several times we joined our efforts with teams of volunteers cleaning up the city and pulling unsightly weeds. We also helped paint an elderly person's house that was falling to shambles. The home owner was restricted to a wheelchair, so the city donated the paint and a crew of volunteers did the work.
There has been a very high unemployment rate in our county for several years. We joined a committee and put in hundreds of hours over a six-month period to facilitate multiple job fairs. By the completion of the program we helped more than 800 people find jobs.
Giving to the Community Helps My Small Business
There have been days when it seems the amount of volunteer work we do in the community is more than the time we put into the business. It is highly gratifying to help where there is a need and we volunteer with absolute willingness. It has helped us establish a reputation as a trusted resource and has simply helped us become known to the business community that uses the types of services we provide. Consequently, we have been granted contracts for projects that we wouldn't even had known about, had we not shown up to volunteer our efforts.
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