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Friday, October 2, 2009

Giving Back - A Guest Post

Today is a big day for Let's Talk Business! We have our very first Guest Blogger. Jeff Thomas of Ideal Computer Systems, Inc. wrote the following article titled The Benefits of Investing in Your Community. It is a timely article because during the last interview I did for my upcoming book the gentleman I spoke with talked about how his company donates resources to the city and state Civil Defense organizations and why that's good business.

Here at Let's Talk Business! we (meaning me, since we is me) don't try to sell you anything or endorse any products or services for personal or monetary gain. This article fits in well with the focus of this blog so I am happily posting it. Plus, Wendy over at Your Scrumhalf Connection has several guest bloggers and interns and if I can make any small progress in making my blog as good as hers, I'll give it a try. Thanks Jeff.

Here's Jeff's article:

The Benefits of Investing In Your Community

We’ve all seen them: the small print shop that is sponsoring this summer’s Little League team, the bakery that donated bread and muffins for the town’s Walk for Breast Cancer, or the record shop that puts on free concerts every weekend for local teens.

As a small business owner, you’re in a unique position to really give back to the community you live in. Sure it feels great to do something good for your town. But can it pay off?

The good news here is that yes, it can, in several different ways. If you go about it the right way.
One of the greatest benefits to being involved with your community is that people will start to recognize your business. And in their minds, your business name will be tied directly in with the good feeling of charity. The two concepts, your business and goodwill, are directly linked. When it comes to name recognition and customer loyalty, this is a very good thing.

Another benefit to investing in your community is the sense of satisfaction you get from doing it. You can’t measure the feeling of giving back in dollars and cents, but it’s amazing the boost it can give not only to you, but to your employees as well.

Many large companies, like Google and Tom’s of Maine, give their employees one paid day per month to volunteer however they like. This is a huge perk in those companies, and the employees say it’s a big morale booster.

If you want to make sure your customers know about your involvement then make sure you advertise it. If you send out a monthly newsletter, then showcase what you did and include plenty of pictures.

Another way you can highlight your efforts is to call your local paper. For example, many businesses will donate a portion of their sales for a month to a local charity, and newspapers love to run these features. This is free publicity for your business.

If you become involved in a larger event, then make sure your business name is displayed as prominently as possible. Invest in banners and t-shirts, and have plenty of brochures on hand to pass out to people.

Community involvement is a great way to give back, feel great about what you’re doing, and get some publicity for your business in the bargain. And don’t forget, most of the time you can write off your expenses as a tax deduction.

Guest post by Jeff Thomas of Ideal Computer Systems Inc.


Warren said...

This is a great topic Jeff. I do pro bono work but do not feel comfortable touting it.

I see the benefit as:
I am delivering value to the pro bono client and at the same time try out and work out bugs in processes for paying customers.

Steve said...

I do pro bono work also, for a variety of reasons. To give back to the community and support organizations I believe in. It also allows me to expand my knowledge and skills, as well as network and meet new people. We all win.