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Small Actions Greater Good Blog

Social Responsibility Is Not Worth It for Small Businesses (Psstt… It’s a Myth)

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Written By Tanya Quinn

Take a free business assessment to determine your level of Social Responsibility.

Have you ever heard someone say, “Social responsibility is not WORTH it for Small Businesses?” Trust me, I have. And way more often than you might think.

This statement is one of six common myths or limiting beliefs I encounter when discussing social responsibility with Small Business Owners.

But with this myth, I can’t simply answer that social responsibility IS or IS NOT worth it. 

Why? Because the answer is entirely dependent on each Small Business Owner. What is worthwhile is a uniquely personal decision. 

So, How DO You Define If Something is “Worth It” for your Business?

As typical for me, if you have yet to read any of my other blogs, I will start with a definition from the Cambridge dictionary:

social responsibility is not worth it worthwhile

Whether something is “worthwhile” for business can NOT be generalized. Only you, as the Small Business Owner, can decide if Social Responsibility is worth it for your business.

As a note, this conversation applies to ANY business decision you make – not just social responsibility. 

But Still, How Do You Apply “Worthwhile” to Social Responsibility?

Let’s look at the definition more closely. There are two components you need to ask yourself (this approach can be used for any business decision, but I’m focused on social responsibility here):

1) Is social responsibility “useful, important, or good enough”?

To answer this, you need to understand your personal motivations. 

If you are not motivated to do something, even if you think it’s something you “should do,” it’s unlikely that you will dedicate the time, money, or resources necessary. 

Why you are motivated to do social good through your business is a bigger discussion I’ve already had in another blog. If you don’t know your answer to this question, stop and read the other blog – “Why Should Businesses Be Socially Responsible?“. 

If you WANT to do good through your business, no matter the reason, the answer to part 1 of the worthwhile consideration is yes.

2) Is there a “suitable reward for the money or time spent or the effort made”?

This second question comes down to determining if the benefits of the action outweigh the effort. 

Sounds simple, right?

However, this is the part most often missed with Social Responsibility.

Very few business owners consider the possible benefits of their social responsibility actions and then evaluate if these benefits will outweigh the effort.

I can tell you unequivocally that social responsibility has been PROVEN to benefit businesses. It absolutely can, but only IF you connect your actions with the potential benefits (which most people don’t). For example, it can improve customer relationships, employee relationships, brand awareness, and business finances. If you want to read more about the potential benefits, read another one of my blogs – “What Are the Potential Benefits of Social Responsibility?

So the answer to part 2 can only be determined when you understand the potential benefits and plan how your action can benefit your business. Then you can determine if there is a “suitable reward for the money or time spent or the effort made.” 

So the alternative truth to this common myth is that…

Social Responsibility CAN BE Worth It for Small Business Owners

But only for Small Business Owners who are motivated to do good and make efforts to ensure that the benefits outweigh the money, time, or effort. 

Making sure that social responsibility actions are worthwhile for motivated Small Business Owners is a major component in the Small Actions Framework, my unique approach to Small Business Social Responsibility.

6 Most Common Small Business Social Responsibility Myths

This article discussed one of 6 myths or limiting beliefs that prevent Small Business Owners from embracing social responsibility. You can watch a free 40-minute training to learn about all 6 of the myths and why they are not true:

Sign Up for the Free Training

Cheers to doing more good!

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About Small Actions Greater Good

Small Actions Greater Good provides education, resources, and training to make it easier for Small Businesses Owners to do more effective social good that benefits their business, makes them proud of their efforts, and inspires others (also known as Small Business Social Responsibility).

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