The importance of connecting with and helping your company’s neighbors
Mar 04, 2019 11:32AM
By Kathleen Maris
By Roseanne Dieschbourg
General Manager, Weed Man Greenville, S.C.
Every business has an opportunity to use its platform to serve the community. The service the business provides does not matter. As long as there is a genuine desire to prioritize community relations, the locals and other organizations will appreciate the additional support. In order to successfully integrate a business within a neighborhood, one has to recognize the need to do so and know where to focus his or her efforts.
The number one reason a business owner and his/her team should get involved in the community is to get to know the people around town. By making connections with people, you learn firsthand what causes are important to them. A successful business must be built on relationships, and pouring yourself into the lives of other people without the expectation of receiving something in return is the most effective way to establish those honest relationships.
Locals are able to learn more about the people behind the business when you get involved with community initiatives. By investing time and effort into local causes, there’s a level of sincerity that resonates with people. When I first started working at Weed Man in Greenville, I was attracted to the lawn care company’s culture because it was clear that commitment and responsibility were not confined to business operations. We were encouraged as a team to leverage our energies and resources to frequently give back to the community through volunteering, fundraising, or regular involvement in a local cause.
Knowing that my employer welcomed community relations, when I heard a presentation on Miracle Hill Children’s Home, I immediately wanted to get Weed Man involved. The organization provides a safe and protective home for troubled and abused kids. When our customers heard of it, they too wanted to help. They donated gift cards and Weed Man Greenville matched their total—raising $1,800 altogether. Since then, I have befriended several folks within the community who are tied to Miracle Hill, and we always keep an ear out for new ways to get involved.
By building your business on a foundation of solid relationships, you become known as more than just your company’s name or the service you provide. Then, whenever someone needs your service, the positive word-of-mouth will spread.
Here are some go-to tips for getting started and sticking to it:
- Make Contact: Do some research, understand what causes are active in the area, and start contacting organizations. Keep in mind that some might be more compatible with your business than others. For instance, when we found out that TreesGreenville, an organization that is dedicated to beautifying our city, donated 25 trees to Greer Middle College Charter High School, it made sense to utilize our knowledge of the green industry and join forces. With training, we helped with the planting process, made T-shirts, and auctioned off a year’s supply of free lawn care to the school’s silent auction.
- Start with What You Care About: Find an organization that resonates with you and a cause you or your team have a personal passion for. Once that initial spark is there, it soon blazes. If it’s a cause you truly believe in, then the inevitable obstacles you’re going to face when managing that partnership will not get in the way of seeing it through.
- Get the Team Involved: A great way to bring your staff together is to volunteer with one another. You’ll start to feel the excitement from the people inside your company, and they will take pride in their additional purpose.
- Keep Ears Open: Your network will widen as you start getting more involved, and they will alert you when they need an extra hand. This is how you keep the calendar full. We have an ongoing relationship with a local high school, which we helped raise funds for the Cancer Society of Greenville County, and Greer Relief, an organization fighting to end homelessness, poverty, and hunger.
For local businesses, we live where our business is; this is where our lives take place. That means to be successful, we must sew ourselves into the fabric of the community for the right reasons. The financial takeback is nice, but the greatest reward is the satisfaction of bettering people’s lives around us. By recognizing the need and committing your business to community involvement, your business grows with integrity and the community is positively impacted.