Building a business requires lots of focus and hard work, there’s no doubt about that. Amidst all that labor, however, there’s another element of entrepreneurship that unfortunately goes overlooked by many. Philanthropy is, now more than ever, part of the complete package for businesses both large and small. Your company might be performing at the highest heights, but if you’re not giving back to the community at the same time, you’re failing.
Effective philanthropy is more than simply cutting a check, which is good news for the budding entrepreneur. Even for a growing business that’s still pinching pennies, there are creative ways to help your community without a major financial outlay. Consider offering your company’s services pro bono to needy families or organizations in your area. If that doesn’t apply to the work you do, you can take your team out into the neighborhood for a day of service, cleaning up a local park or running a canned food drive. Even for the youngest businesses, giving back is never out of reach.
While it shouldn’t be your primary reason to give back, there are ways that your charity outlay can even assist your business goals. There are marketing and networking perks to be had when engaging in local charities, as your fellow business leaders will likely be doing the same thing you are. Your customers will feel better about doing business with a company that’s engaged with the community, as well. It’s a nice fringe benefit to the primary goal of philanthropy: serving your community in a non-transactional way.
At the end of the day, every successful businessperson should be able to pause and look at themselves in the mirror, and honestly say they’re proud of what they do. Creating value for yourself, your family, and shareholders or business partners is one thing, but if you’re not also helping those in need around you, those gut-checks should feel like a punch in the stomach. There’s no satisfaction like the kind you get when you help out others. Success rings hollow when it’s not shared.