As an entrepreneur, not only is community involvement personally rewarding, but it can also greatly benefit your business, your employees, and the local economy. In fact, in many cases consumers today expect the companies that they support to be involved with meaningful causes. In addition, consumers tend to favor brands that incorporate community involvement and social and environmental responsibility into their company culture. This is supported by several reports, including a study conducted by Cone Communications, which found that 87% of consumers will purchase a product simply because the company behind it supports a cause that they believe in.
Richard Galvan and Sonia Galvan are entrepreneurs from Rio Grande Valley, Texas. They own and operate G5 Internet Services, a local telecommunications provider that delivers high-speed internet and streaming services to residential, commercial, state, and local governments within Rio Grande Valley. Richard’s interest in technology began when he started his first job at Dell in 1994. Working as a regional account manager, Mr. Galvan travelled to almost every country in Latin America in just 10 years of working with Dell. After many years at Dell, he and Sonia settled in Texas and opened G5 Internet Services. Today, they continue to provide their local community with high-speed wireless internet. In addition, they focus much of their free time on community involvement and volunteering. They share some of the top reasons why entrepreneurs should get involved and what can be gained by being an active member of your community.
Improving the Community
First and foremost, entrepreneurs who are actively involved in their community, whether through volunteering or money donations, help to improve it in many ways. Community involvement leads to an improved quality of life for residents, locals who feel more connected to their community, as well as a more robust economy. Richard Galvan of G5 Internet Services advocates that improving one’s community should be the main goal of any entrepreneur looking to get involved. That being said, many subsequent advantages can arise from community involvement that will benefit an entrepreneur’s business. Commonly, when business owners become involved locally, the community experiences economic stimulation. For example, local events bring traffic to the community, helping to bring business to local companies. This benefits everyone involved, including the entrepreneurs and companies who sponsor these events. Also, working closely with other organizations to bring community events to life can result in strong and long-lasting partnerships with vendors and potential partners. In order to maximize the benefit to the local community, as well as your business, it is advised that entrepreneurs focus on events, activities, sponsorships, and volunteering opportunities that will benefit their community in the long run. These may include yearly events, volunteering at a local hospital, or providing a scholarship at a local school. Additionally, any community involvement that relates to your business is helpful. For instance, a local family restaurant might consider sponsoring a youth baseball team.
Building a Name for Yourself
In addition to helping their local community prosper, getting involved also allows entrepreneurs and their companies to enhance visibility. Above all, entrepreneurs and businesses that are actively involved in their community stand out among the competition. This can help promote your business and help you reach potential new clients and customers. In addition, volunteering and local sponsorships help to keep brands top-of-mind among consumers. Richard Galvan suggests sponsoring local non-profit organizations and volunteering to support their causes. Not only does this help the non-profit significantly, but it will also help you, as an entrepreneur, promote yourself and your business. As a result of your involvement, you can expect the non-profit organization to promote you in their marketing materials and to receive attention via word-of-mouth.
Increasing Customer Loyalty
As well as helping you earn new customers and clients for your business, community involvement is also known to enhance customer loyalty. Richard Galvan notes that when customers see that a business gives back, they are more likely to develop into loyal, repeat customers. In addition, they will commonly spread the word to others about the good work the company is doing, especially if they personally support the same cause. This will help to further promote your company through word-of-mouth and results in loyal brand advocates. Nowadays, many consumers expect corporate social responsibility from the businesses they support, especially organizations with a lot of authority and power.
Team Building, Employee Satisfaction, and Retention
By volunteering alongside their employees, entrepreneurs can promote team building and employee satisfaction, for a more cohesive and productive workforce. In fact, when an organization embraces community involvement as a part of their company culture, morale among employees is greatly improved. Also, community involvement gives employees a sense of fulfillment, resulting in happier, healthier team members. This also results in increased productivity, as well as improved retention. Richard Galvan suggests incorporating volunteer hours into the workweek, if possible. This doesn’t need to be every week — volunteering as a group just once a month or every few months will help to boost morale and act as a team-building activity. For those that are interested, volunteering as a team on weekends can also be beneficial.
Richard Galvan on Recruitment
Community involvement can also act as a great recruitment tool. As an entrepreneur, you never know where you might find your next star employee. If your company is able to work with young people and students in your community, this offers an especially great opportunity to recruit potential employees early on in their careers. For example, speaking at a local college, providing high school students with on-the-job training or a tour of your business, or sponsoring events at schools in your area can help you attract new talent to your organization. Even a scholarship that is related to your business can be useful in recruiting new talent. Richard Galvan recommends taking part in or creating a local mentorship program. This will allow you to personally connect with young people who are interested in your field and may lead to finding a future long-term employee.