Why Community Needs to be the Heart of Business Development
Mar 26, 2018
By: Stephanie Lombardi, Smoothie King Regional Director of Marketing
Businesses that are good neighbors tend to do well in their communities for the very simple reason that they are liked and trusted.
It’s important for new businesses to remember this as they plan on setting down roots. In terms of creating brand awareness on the local level, getting involved in the community is just as vital as the grand opening, advertising and customer service.
There are several ways to get involved in your community, which will endear your business to the residents, other businesses and people who work in the area, such as teachers, police officers and firefighters:
- Join organizations like the local chamber of commerce or a civic committee
- Donate your product or service as part of a community event
- Partner with a community-focused charity or non-profit group
People prefer to spend their money with brands that they know and trust. And, being part of the community will help you become a better business owner. You will be able to provide better service because you know who your guests are. Ultimately, community participation can be good for business.
A Good Neighbor is Always There
Community participation should be an ongoing effort, not a one-time event. In order to build trust and a long-lasting relationship with local consumers, your efforts must be constant. It shows you will be there and are serious about being part of the community. In local store marketing, consistency is key. There is so much competition in the marketplace that if you do not make yourself known and relevant in the community you will be beaten by your competitors that are participating consistently.
Building that community network through participation is especially important in small communities that are close-knit. We have seen Smoothie King stores open up in those areas and stay there because the hard-working franchisees are involved or they know a lot of people. Businesses that open and think they will do well just because their product and services are good are mistaken. It’s all about working hard, getting out in the community and meeting your neighbors, telling them why you are there and why your products and services are better than everybody else’s.
Your Community Loving You Back
Being a good neighbor does not only present opportunities to get people through the door, but it can potentially help your business grow. Guests are more likely to become regular and loyal customers the more they trust your business. Their trust has the chance to grow the more they see you as an active participant in the community. Plus, new people in the community can learn about you quicker and begin establishing trust in you and your brand.
Smoothie King’s mission is to inspire people to live a healthy and active lifestyle. So, we, along with our franchisees, focus on getting into the parts of communities where our mission statement resonates. For example, our franchisees will bring smoothies to local races or go to the schools to talk about the importance of including fruits and vegetables in your diet. Our franchisees have participated in nutrition fairs at other local businesses.
Old Businesses Become New Again
It’s never too late to start participating in your community. If your business has been around a while and you have just begun getting involved in the community, don’t be surprised when people assume you’re new. The participation will have a similar effect as it does for a new business – people will take notice, they’ll get to know you and the business, and then the opportunity to develop trust will arise. You might see customers you’ve never seen before start walking through your door and become regulars.
Participating in your community is one of the best ways to market your business at the local level. It’s free, both your community and business will benefit, and you’ll feel great about being a good neighbor.