The US has the third-highest entrepreneurship rate amongst 21 high-income economies worldwide, only lagging behind the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia but surpassing Canada and the United Kingdom. This is unsurprising, considering nearly 20% of adults in the country are either in the process of founding a business within the past 3.5 years.
While this is mostly good news, as entrepreneurship leads to business innovation, job creation, and increased market competitiveness, challenges are looming ahead, and experts warn that many recently established companies may be approaching a critical turning point. Factors such as economic uncertainty, increased costs, and a decline in consumer spending pose significant threats to these emerging enterprises – a recent survey even shows that more than 50% of small business owners perceive the economy to already be in recession.
Fortunately, these businesses have this one dynamic resource that bigger corporations may have a hard time taping into the strength of the community. As a small business owner, leaning into your local community can be a powerful ally for your business growth, even amid threats of a recession.
The potential of your local community is a significant leverage that can be used to support your business because your neighbours aren’t just customers; they can also be your most passionate advocates. In times of recession, these relationships can provide much-needed support to help you navigate challenging economic times, and by tapping into the power of your local community, you get involved in a network that’s as invested in your success as you are.
What you can expect in this article:
Creating A Buzz Within The Community
Your community is much more than a location – it’s a wealth of potential customers, supporters, and collaborators. After all, your success is intrinsically tied to the vibrancy and prosperity of your community. It’s time you realised this and harnessed its potential to give your enterprise that much-needed boost. Here are some strategies to get you started:
1. Understand Your Community
To fully tap into the potential of your community, you must first take time to uncover its members’ needs, wants, and aspirations. Understand their lifestyle, habits, and preferences through direct conversations, as well as by observing trends or conducting a survey. Once you have this information, you’ll then know how best to serve the people in the neighbourhood, creating products or services that impact their lives positively.
You could even take this a step further and invite community members to participate in your decision-making process. Solicit their opinions through brainstorming sessions and informal chats, or ask them to test out new products and share their feedback. Aside from giving you opportunities to improve your offering further, these activities will also make you feel valued and more likely to support you in your business endeavours.
2. Engage And Involve The Community Members
Engaging and involving your community not only gives you visibility but also shows that you value their presence, thus helping you earn their trust and loyalty. You can do this by showing genuine interest in their activities, sponsoring local events, holding community activities, or running promotions that cater to the community members.
Another effective approach is forming collaborations with other businesses in your community, partnering with them for shared benefits. It could be for mutual promotion, sharing of resources, or combined events, which can open up new customer bases, give you fresh ideas, and cultivate a thriving business environment within your community.
3. Actively Participate In Community Awards
While continuously promoting your product or service, try to join local recognition platforms such as business in the community awards that highlight the positive impact certain organizations have on their communities. These awards are not just for show but also testify to a company’s ability to foster socio-economic growth in their community while setting a high standard for other businesses.
Winning this kind of award elevates your company’s reputation because it shows that you value social well-being as much as the bottom line. It also demonstrates your commitment to social responsibility and community development, which will help earn you the support and loyalty of its members.
4. Leverage Local Influencers
The digital age has made it easier for businesses to advertise, so use social media to your advantage and share your content, promote your products or services, and engage with your community. Use these two-way interactions to get feedback from the community and understand their needs better while encouraging your community members to follow you on these platforms to keep them updated with your company’s progress and offers.
Additionally, you can tap into local influencers within the community. These are individuals who command respect and have sway in the community, such as a respected elder, a famous blogger, a local politician, or even a successful entrepreneur. Leverage these influencers to endorse your business, and you’ll naturally appeal to the community members they influence.
5. Patronise Local Services
In the spirit of reciprocity, remember to further support the community by patronizing other local services. Think of it not as just spending money but rather investing in the local economy and fostering a network of mutual support. As you use services offered by other local businesses, you’re encouraging an ecosystem where local businesses support each other.
This enhances the local economic resilience and helps foster understanding, cooperation, and a sense of unity within the neighbourhood. When the members see that you support local enterprises, they are more likely to support you, too, thus spurring economic growth for everybody while also helping your business thrive.
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