As a small business owner we are often faced with many tasks and decisions – often all at the same time, or so it seems! After 35 years in business now, you might think that I have figured out all of the right things to do. Whether it be when it is best to invest in new equipment or technology, or what new markets might be right to jump into. Of course hiring new employees is a fun responsibility too – and while you genuinely look to hire the right individual, the truth is that you never really find out if it is a good fit until after they have started!
One area that I believe I have done well in though, is in taking the opportunity to give back. Over the years I have made it a priority to help support the community and the clients we serve. Not all business owners do this however, and admittedly it can be a direct result of all of the many requests we receive. “Please won’t you help support this cause? Would you consider buying an ad in this program? Your sponsorship can help us start a new program!” It can be a little overwhelming at times, and yet it is a choice that I make, and a very gratifying one that can go beyond just the pure dollars and cents.
In looking at other small business owners, it is pretty neat to see when someone does something for the community! I happened to take part in a 5K Fundraising race this month, and the gentleman that had first initiated it 19 years ago – Mike Splitt, has not only continued to take the lead role in this event, but has actually gone on to start 2 other races that help raise funds for very worth causes as well. I also see many countless individuals who take the time to sit on nonprofit boards – as I have done as well, and without these individuals the organizations they serve would surely be struggling. But instead, with the help of business leaders, they are able to raise funds and build recognition within the community.
Another way in which I have given back over the years, is by participating in fundraising events. A good portion of our business is with nonprofit organizations, so when we have the opportunity to work on their gala materials, it becomes a natural for me to also take some time to attend the event. While it can be hard to make each and every one of them, I do take pride in making 3 – 4 per year. This can be a little expensive, but again a great way to give back. When attending these events, it also becomes a great way to learn more about the impact these groups have within the community and for the people they serve. It is also fun to see many other individuals and business owners who have likewise made the decision to help out!
Giving back might not be a requirement of being a business owner, however when given the choice, it sure seems like the right thing to do. Each of our communities rely on the many people who are willing to lend a hand, or even some money now and then. While I may not be in the same playing field as Bill & Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg or many other business owners, it does feel good to do what I can.
How is it that you give back?