Businesses today are extremely different from what they used to be years ago. Many of the traditional corporate notions have been shunned nowadays in favor of more modern and dynamic ecosystems. Most of all, it is the communities where a business operates that are driving growth, success, and sustainability.
What is a community?
Although a community in itself can mean a lot of different things, when it comes to business, the term refers to a group that has a direct involvement with the organization and its operations. More precisely, a community for any business is the locals that inhabit the area where they are primarily located. Since most businesses in the US are small, a community for them usually means the population where they are operating.
What are community-oriented businesses?
This trend has witnessed significant attraction in recent times. More and more organizations are now focusing on being able to give back to local communities. In fact, according to the US Chamber of Commerce[AA1], 80% of business owners in the country state that their company has clearly defined it as one of the missions to give back to the community.
Caring for the community is not just about benevolence. It is a strategic move that is backed by the fact that a recent survey revealed that 57% of respondents agreed that they prefer to shop locally. Even Gen Z and Millennials who prefer to shop online, state that they would rather buy from local businesses to support their growth and success.
Businesses that serve the community are known as community-oriented businesses. These companies work to improve the neighborhood’s appeal by involving locals and stakeholders and demonstrating respect for the neighborhood. If you are an entrepreneur looking to build a community-oriented business, you can start by exploring educational opportunities for yourself, such as enrolling in an associate degree in human services online.
Here are a few other tips for you to build a community-oriented business:
1. It is all about building an audience that cares
The foundation of a community-oriented business is a loyal and engaged audience. It’s not just about selling products or services; it’s about creating a network of people who genuinely care about what your business stands for. It is only with this group of like-minded individuals that a company can truly flourish while also giving back to the community.
However, building the right audience can sometimes be a real challenge, especially for smaller businesses. So, in order to do this, focus on building relationships rather than just transactions. Interact with your customers, listen to their feedback, and make them feel heard and valued. When people feel a connection with your brand, they are more likely to support it, recommend it to others, and become advocates for your business. This is how your business can connect deeply with the community and establish a truly community-oriented company.
2. Make it easy for people to locate your store
Of the business aspects that have transformed considerably over the years, the nature of business operations is crucial. Today, many retail operations are moving away from a brick-and-mortar location to a hybrid or completely remote setting. For community-oriented businesses, whether they are physical or online, ease of finding the location is essential.
It is important to note that physical presence matters, even in the digital age. If you have a physical store or office, ensure it’s accessible to your community. Choose a location that is convenient for your target audience, and ensure there are ample parking or public transportation options. A well-marked storefront will attract foot traffic and make it easy for people to find you when they want to.
Similarly, if your store is online, it is still important that people are able to locate it easily. The digital space is even more complicated than the physical location because, on the internet, a store’s website has to master SEO. Unless a user knows something specific about your store, they will get lost in the thousands of search results that show up on Google against almost every random keyword. Therefore, it is important to ensure your business website has effective SEO.
3. Constantly share updates on social media
In today’s digital world, social media is a powerful tool for community engagement. Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect with your audience regularly. Share updates about your business, products, and services, but don’t forget to humanize your brand. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses, stories about your team, and content that resonates with your community’s interests and values. Consistent and authentic social media engagement helps keep your business on the radar of your community.
4. Take creative content generation seriously
Content is king in the digital age, and creative content generation can set your business apart. Share informative blog posts, engaging videos, stunning photos, and other forms of content that add value to your community’s lives. Whether it’s how-to guides related to your industry, inspiring stories, or entertaining content, your goal should be to create content that resonates with your audience. High-quality, shareable content strengthens your online presence and helps you connect with your community on a deeper level.
5. Don’t be lax with respect to legal requirements
Building a community-oriented business also means being responsible and ethical in your operations. Ensure you meet all legal requirements, from permits and licenses to tax obligations and safety regulations. This not only protects your business but also builds trust within your community. Customers who know you operate with integrity and compliance are more likely to support your business.
6. Stay up-to-date with community health and well-being
In today’s uncertain times, community health and well-being are more important than ever. Be proactive in staying informed about local health guidelines and safety measures, especially if your business involves physical customer interactions. Show that you prioritize the safety and health of your community by implementing necessary precautions, such as sanitization, social distancing, and mask-wearing. Additionally, consider how your business can contribute to the well-being of your community, whether it’s through partnerships with local charities or initiatives that support community health.
Community-oriented businesses may be a fairly new concept, but they are highly effective. These companies are built on a vision to give back to the local community in various ways. However, there are certain strategies that these businesses need to follow so that they can achieve all of the objectives that have been set out.
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