In my last blog, I talked about the two main motivators for why you, as a Small Business Owner, may want to embrace Social Responsibility. Because let’s be honest here for a few moments, Small Business Owners are BUSY. You are some of the hardest working individuals I’ve ever met. Given your limited time and resources and everything on your to-do list, if you aren’t truly interested in and motivated to add new elements to your business, it won’t get done. (If you missed “Why Should Businesses Be Socially Responsible?”, I recommend that you read it before continuing.) However, if you ARE interested in Social Responsibility, I want to dig into the benefits of social responsibility – HOW it can help your business.
But before we even talk about how you can benefit, let’s address the elephant in the room…
To Even Start to Benefit from Social Responsibility, You Have to SHARE Your Efforts
Making a difference in the world around you…
Contributing to the greater good…
Being socially responsible…
No matter how you refer to Social Responsibility or the REASON that you embrace Social Responsibility, the outcome is still the same. You are making choices to take small actions in your business, that are above and beyond what is considered normal operations, to benefit others. And, your business, as a result, will also benefit from these choices.
That is… your business WOULD benefit from these choices IF anyone knows that you are making them!!! Through this business, I’ve talked to many Small Business Owners about this concept. More often than not, I’ve found Small Business Owners are reluctant to communicate about their Social Responsibility efforts. They do all these AMAZING things that help make a difference, and yet, they keep their actions to themselves.
The top 2 answers I receive when I ask WHY don’t you share your efforts…
“It feels like bragging”
“I’m doing it because I WANT to, not to help my business”.
The first few times I heard these, I stopped cold for a moment and said “Wait… What?!?!” (in an incredulous voice).
But the more I heard this, the more I started listening to the emotions behind the words and paying attention to the personality of the Small Business Owner saying them. I’ve found time and time again that most Small Business Owners who are taking Socially Responsible small actions are naturally philanthropic. They simply are driven to help others. To contribute more. To pass it forward. Without expecting anything in return. They either don’t feel like they should or don’t feel like they need to communicate about their Social Responsibility efforts. And often, they don’t even realize how much they are doing.
So, if you have found yourself saying one of these two answers, the rest of this blog is for you! If you are one of the few Small Business Owners already sharing or ready to share your efforts, I would like to applaud your awareness and suggest that you skip ahead to the end of this blog.
You Are NOT Bragging
Let’s address Answer No. 1. “It feels like bragging”. When was the last time that you looked at the definition of bragging?
If you were going to communicate about your Social Responsibility efforts, would you use “excessively proud or boastful talk”? Would you go on and on and on about it excessively? Would it sound like you thought that you were better than someone else?
Very unlikely! (or at least I hope not)
Therefore, sharing your efforts is simply NOT bragging. It’s communicating about the good that you do. To inspire others. To be PROUD of what you do. There is NOTHING wrong with being proud IF you are considering the first definition below (since I’m having fun with the dictionary today).
So, can we let this answer go?? I hope so.
It’s Ok to Benefit from Social Responsibility
Let’s address Answer No. 2 “I’m doing it because I WANT to, not to help my business”.
I’m going to be blunt on this response and write just like I have talked to some of my clients… That is GREAT. I love that you are philanthropic! I wish that everyone thought like that. The world would be a far better place.
But, this is your BUSINESS that we are talking about here. If you want to be philanthropic just for the sake of being philanthropic, and your actions have NO connections to your business purpose at all, no problem, that is WONDERFUL! But why are you doing it through your business? You can do that on your own time.
Unless you created a non-profit, which is a completely different circumstance, you are running a BUSINESS. With a clear purpose and direction. With products and services. With target clients. To make money to support yourself and your family. To travel and enjoy life. To be able to give MORE. Whatever your reason(s).
There is nothing wrong with contributing to the greater good AND receiving business benefits in return. In fact, that is the very reason that Social Responsibility was started in the 20th century – to enable and encourage business owners to do both.
And, as I referenced in my last blog, consumers and employees are starting to EXPECT that Businesses do more.
How Can Social Responsibility Benefit Your Business?
Hopefully, I’ve changed your mind on communicating about your Social Responsibility efforts and you now WANT to share what you are doing.
But… how can sharing your efforts benefit your business?? There is a lot of research on Corporate Social Responsibility but not much on Small Business Social Responsibility. As I’ve talked about before, the overall concepts are similar, therefore the benefits are similar.
I’ve grouped the benefits into four categories (each with a link to the associated blog post):
- Part 2 – Customer / Client Benefits
- Part 3 – Employee Benefits
- Part 4 – Brand Benefits
- Part 5 – Financial Benefits
Each category is discussed in detail, with supporting research when available, in the upcoming 4 blogs (links inserted above).