How to Run a Business that’s Sensitive to the Needs of the Community

business professionals

Ideally, you want to become an entrepreneur, not just for profit. You want to operate a business to give back to your community, to promote goodwill. While this can be considered a tall order, it’s perfectly doable.

First, your heart should be in the right place. You should not consider social responsibility as another marketing strategy. The effort should be informed with untarnished intentions. That will be enough to guide you in the right direction. Here’s how to carry out a socially conscious business enterprise.

Social mission

The first order of business is coming up with a social mission. Most likely, you already have your corporate mission and vision statements. A social mission statement is similar. Only with it, you focus on how you want to help your immediate community. Create a core team for your social responsibility efforts. You can hire a dedicated staff or if you can’t afford it yet, ask for volunteers from your pool of employees.

Realistic goals

You cannot put forward goals in broad strokes. You need to follow the SMART method. Your social mission should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This method will ensure that your plans are actionable, and you’ll have the means to determine your progress.

Active customer relationship

To come up with realistic goals, you need to listen to the voice of customers and create a program for the members of the community you’re trying to influence. What do they need outside of the stuff you’re selling? What pressing concerns need immediate attention? Conduct surveys if you must. Actively engage your customers, and your community in general, in conversation. You can do this both online and off. Just make sure you approach the matter with sensitivity and in earnest.

Knowledgeable staff

Invest in your employees’ personal growth. And by that, we mean not only in terms of how they can contribute to expanding your business. Your staff needs to share your passion for social causes. So give them opportunities that will open their minds to your organization’s role in community building, in which they are stakeholders.

Ethical labor practices

Your workforce is made of employees from your immediate community. The easiest way to show that you care for your community is to put ethical labor practices in place. Offer a remuneration package that will allow your employees to lead a dignified life. Remember that your social responsibility efforts outside your organization won’t mean anything if the people that make your goals happen are not taken care of. You do not want your employees to have the impression that you’re insincere.

Sustainability

sustainability

Aim for a sustainable business practice. There’s a misconception that transitioning to sustainable business systems is costly. But that’s far from accurate. In fact, you can reduce business costs via organization-wide sustainability efforts. Something as simple as reducing paper waste or abstaining from using single-use plastic sends your employees and customers the right message.

Collaboration

You have a better shot at hitting goals regarding the social causes you choose to champion if you partner with the right people and relevant organizations. So do not go through the process favoring exclusivity. Collaborate and make the job easier and more fun for everyone. Share the fruits of your social labor.

Consistency

Again, you’re not engaging in social responsibility to look good. You’re doing it because you believe your business has the power to impact society positively. With that said, your efforts should be consistent. And they should be carried out as long your business still exists. Who knows, this could turn out to be your legacy.

Aligning your business with social responsibility is not entirely a thankless strategy. You’re bound to reap the rewards from your efforts. For starters, customers have become more discerning. They want to patronize brands that champion social causes. They won’t mind spending on you if they know you find means to give back to society.

Plus, your internal customers–your employees–will find meaning in the job that they do. They will be conscious of the privilege of working with an organization whose priorities include positive social impact. You’ll have loyal employees sharing your vision.

Finance-wise, you’ll have a competitive edge, too, in the eyes of investors. You won’t have a hard time convincing people to put their money into your socially conscious enterprise. And if that’s not enough, the government can even provide you with tax breaks.

Yes, no matter how you look at it, you win with this business approach. Just make sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important.

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