Community Relations Strategy for Small Business

Does your company have a community relation strategy? Have you even considered it? It is essential to have policies in place. Having run a small business for years which eventually turned into a multi-state franchise system, I realized early on that a business who is part of the community it serves can survive the ups and downs of the business cycles, making it somewhat recession proof. Nothing turns off the community more than a business which refuses to give back a little and gives some ridiculous excuse of; "It is our corporate policy, sorry!" Many times a volunteer for a club or organization will come in and ask for a hand out. Rather than giving them an excuse, talk with them about what you can do, have a policy which helps them too. Do not just tell them sorry; "No can do" offer them other assistance instead. For instance if they come in a are looking for a donation, you might say. We are not able to give a straight donation, but we are allowed to give you an item or two on the discount rack for a door prize or silent auction.

Your employees and managers of all your stores should have leeway to help you serve the community, which support your business. By having a policy up front and community relations over all strategy you can turn a potentially negative event, which will hurt you thru word of mouth into a bonanza of new discovered customers within that group. I have written an outline, which can assist you in promoting your community relations strategy. Now realize every business is different and ours is unique like yours. We are in the mobile car wash business and are able to do such things as car wash fundraisers and give out gift certificates for auto-detailing. But whatever business you are in you can easily develop a community relation manual by taking this outline below and modifying it and then writing three paragraphs for each item. This will give you an edge on your competition and help you align your business strategy with that of your community and insuring that you attain a larger and more loyal customer base.

COMMUNITY RELATIONS

I. CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS

A. Volunteer Support

B. Maintaining Lists

1. Change Yearly

2. Phone Numbers, Addresses

3. Share Lists

4. Networking With Lists

C. Carry Through

D. Remember Names

E. Environmental Groups

1. Maintain Communications

2. Volunteer

F. Attend A Meeting

II. SERVICE CLUBS

A. Rotary

B. Kiwanis

C. Optimist

D. Elks

E. Lions

F. Women's Groups

III. PTA'S, BOOSTER CLUBS

A. Community Relations Representatives At Schools

B. ASB Clubs

C. Student groups

D. Awards

E. Scholarship Funds

F. Fundraisers

G. Coupons, Etc.

IV. SENIOR CITIZENS

A. Discounts

B. Mobile Home Parks

C. Golf Courses

D. Square Dances

E. Senior Centers

V. SEARCH AND RESCUE

A. Fires, Locusts

B. Floods, Hurricanes, Tornadoes

C. Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Tsunamis

D. Riots

E. Volunteer

F. Other

VI. WHEEL CHAIR WASHING DAY

VII. MISCELLANEOUS

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs

In The News:

Small Business Lifeline  University of Georgia
A guide to getting a small business loan  http://smallbusiness.co.uk
Business briefs  The Hutchinson News

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