When you list a home for sale and forget to include a few bullet points about the attractions, amenities, and resources in the area, you’re missing an opportunity to reach motivated buyers. Likewise, if you’re running a business without taking full advantage of local resources, you’re leaving money and opportunities on the table.
There are lots of ways to drive business success by using the local resources your area has to offer. Let’s unpack some of them and explore the benefits.
Trade Shows and Other Events
So getting involved with local trade shows and industry events is probably a no-brainer, as they deliver all of the benefits without quite so much of the preparation as traveling out of town to make an appearance. Trade shows and local events come with a motivated audience built right in, and they let you study the competition right alongside potential value-adding partners.
Designing a trade show booth, having your assets shipped to a conference center, and then traveling there yourself with your team are all time-consuming tasks. Conferences and trade shows take work, especially when they occur out-of-town and the distance adds new wrinkles.
Giving Back to the Community
A study of almost 400,000 employees across hundreds of employers found that companies which make it a habit to give back to the community enjoy improved employee enthusiasm and retention as well as more employee and customer “brand ambassadors.”
Turning your business into a pillar of the community through charitable giving and activism is an excellent way to win the hearts and minds of the public, too. Most members of the public today prefer to give their business to companies that take local and national citizenship seriously and that maintain good stewardship of their piece of the environment.
Need some ideas? How about some of these options to get the ball rolling:
- Partner with a local charity (or a charity with a local presence)
- Encourage your executives and professionals to donate their time; leave the monetary gifts to the company proper
- Sponsor a fundraiser in the area or create a lasting sponsorship with a team or organization
- Donate your company’s space to an organization or charity that needs a place to meet
- Create scholarships or grants for local individuals who meet certain criteria and whose interests align with your company’s
You can also hold a meeting with your team members to see which of these efforts resonate best with them, or field entirely new ideas you might not be aware of.
Financial Incentives and Financing Solutions
Another way to jump-start your business success is by finding out which organizations and institutions in your area offer financing solutions and economic incentives. It’s not uncommon for business owners to face potential funding gaps between what they’ve secured from private investments and their total cost to launch, re-launch, or expand a business.
There are hundreds of local, business-friendly agencies throughout the country. Groups like this specialize in finding out about, and helping entrepreneurs and businesspeople apply for, all kinds of grants, loans, and gifts for businesses that are expanding, buying new machinery or “greening” their processes.
Joining the Chamber of Commerce
And speaking of local agencies: Have you considered the benefits of joining your local Chamber of Commerce? Small and medium-sized businesses have a lot to gain by getting involved with their Chamber.
By definition, Chambers of Commerce exist to support local businesses, create and sustain new business opportunities, and generally strengthen the “fabric” and networking capabilities of businesses within an area or a specific niche.
Here are just some of the work they do and the help they offer:
- Chambers of Commerce provide online and physical resources intended to educate business members about what it takes to start a company and keep it running successfully. Such resources might cover topics like choosing and buying real estate, identifying target markets, getting started with digital marketing, and navigating the business tax code and other laws and regulations.
- Local Chambers of Commerce regularly host conferences and other events, such as the Summit Conference in Washington, D.C. This event alone boasts hundreds of attendees, dozens of guest speakers with rich and successful histories in entrepreneurship, and tons of opportunities to learn about business best practices and emerging trends and to expand your professional network.
- Entrepreneurs and business people who are active in civics and politics usually find their interests well-represented by their local Chambers, who help represent the business community in local, state, and even federal government deliberations.
If you need another reason to consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce, consider the potential positive optics: In some surveys, around half of surveyed consumers indicated thinking more positively about a business after discovering it has a membership in their Chamber of Commerce.
Local Resources Fuel Ongoing Business Success
Hopefully, you have a few ideas now to get you started with tapping your local area for useful resources. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and you’ll almost certainly find other resources on your own as you explore.
For example, partnerships with local schools can make great pipelines for motivated and talented potential interns and employees. See what else your region has to offer. Whatever your goals in business, there’s probably a resource in the area that can help you realize it.