Get Socially Responsible and Watch Your Bottom Line Improve


Social responsibility is how businesses make a concerted effort to enhance society and the environment where they live and serve. For example, some larger corporations use renewable energy resources for their manufacturing plants or find ways to divert waste from landfills. Others focus on charitable giving campaigns that give back to the community (or globally) in different ways.

But whether you’re big or small, when you practice authentic social responsibility, you have the opportunity to move your brand forward, increasing profits over time and simultaneously make changes where needed in your community. Furthermore, as a small business, you’re perfectly positioned to help in more specific ways within the community you serve than a larger corporation — you can genuinely make a difference.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

    • Get engaged with your community. Take some time to see what’s happening in your local area to find opportunities to pitch in and make a positive difference. Start with the non-profit organizations in your area. Assess their needs and reach out to those that pique your interest or make sense for your business. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, consider ways to dispose of leftover food responsibly to local shelters or homeless centers. Additionally, you should participate in local events and collaborate with other businesses in the area to make an even more significant impact on your community.
    • Start small. You may not be able to make a huge impact today, but you can over time. For example, suppose you recycle or find other ways to minimize the waste of resources at your company (such as green marketing). In that case, you can take a significant step toward being socially responsible in your community. And if you add a recycle logo to your tagline, you then let others know what you’re doing, which may encourage them to do the same.
    • Offer your time or knowledge if you can’t offer money. As a small business owner, cash flow may be tight; however, money isn’t the only resource you can offer. Invest your time or expertise in an area of need in your community. For example, adopt a school in your area and teach students and teachers basic business skills they can use to enhance their future — and encourage your employees to do the same.
    • Make it personal. As a small business, the advantage you have is that you’re likely your company’s founder. That means everything you contribute (whether locally or globally) reflects your ethical compass and strategic direction. And that makes any contribution you make feel more authentic to the community you serve.
    • Give employees time off to contribute. Create a policy at your company that encourages employees to contribute time and other resources to local causes. You can adopt a cause as a company (using feedback from your employees) or allow them to pick and choose. But encourage participation and help them find ways to contribute. You’ll find that, over time, your employees will be happier and more committed to your company.

Why does social responsibility matter?

It can be challenging to compete with larger chains on price alone. But if your business is more socially conscious and engaged in your community, consumers will buy from you instead. As time progresses, you’ll experience more sales, happier employees, and a more substantial competitive advantage, no matter how large or small you may be.

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