Small-business owners know that it takes a village to raise a successful store. Hiring the right employees, developing marketing strategies and properly managing finances are all crucial for running a business, but cultivating relationships with community members is equally important for your brand image.
Partnering with fellow small-business owners allows managers to develop a diverse and highly knowledgeable reference group of business-minded individuals. These partnerships permit people to share ideas, success stories and information between brands, but keeping these relationships happy and healthy is imperative for mutual success between the companies.
One way to establish good rapport with community members is by hosting events in your store that allow people to exhibit their talents or give back to their fellow neighbors. Consider how the following events can positively impact the way your brand is perceived by those in your surroundings.
1. Book fair
Whether you're partnering with a nearby library or bookstore, distributing books to children and residents in the community is a great way to show neighbors that your brand is passionate about literacy. Offer a space for local authors to display their most recent stories, or collect a variety of books to hand out to passersby who are interested in reading. If your company wishes to go all out, you can make the event an evening-long affair, inviting prominent consumers and literary costumed characters.
2. Art exhibit
Alternatively, if you prefer hosting an event to honor community members and their achievements, consider holding an art exhibit. This can be professional - such as highlighting the works of a local artist - or more elementary, like displaying pieces created by grade-school children from a nearby school. Either way, displaying works created by people in the area is sure to build support among fellow business owners and as well as interest from potential consumers.
3. After school tutoring
Want to give back to the community? Follow in the footsteps of nonprofit 826NYC and offer after-school tutoring in your store. Each store owned by the 826 brand sells a collection of novelty items, but the real benefits stem from the free tutoring it gives to neighborhood children. The organization provides workshops to young learners at all of its physical sites throughout the U.S., including Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., The Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute and The Time Travel Mart. Your brand doesn't need to develop workshops quite as extensive as those offered at 826, but it can look to adopt similar measures to help students in the area.