It may seem odd to think of Corporate Social Responsibility as a small business owner, but I think that there’s no better time that now to start thinking about more than just your financial bottom line. If you give thought to how your business is impacting the world environmentally and socially when you’re small, you will have systems in place that will grow as the business grows.
Whether it’s choosing a cause that your business supports because there’s an alignment in each organizations core values or ensuring that you operate your business in an environmentally friendly way that reduces your carbon footprint, you don’t have to have a big operating budget to make a meaningful contribution. It can be easy to think that practicing social responsibility is something only large companies need to worry about because they have the resources to do “big things”, but small business has a role to play as well. While big business can do things on a national or global scale, small business owners can contribute on a local scale, supporting the communities that support them.
Success in business is all about relationships. It’s about building trust with not only your customers, but the community within which you operate your business. I’ve heard it said that a relationship without reciprocity will die and I believe that to be true for us as entrepreneurs and small business owners. We can’t become so consumed by the desire to turn a profit that we forget to give back to the community that supports us by buying our products or services.
When our local communities are thriving, as citizens and business owners we can’t help but benefit. It is in our best interest to build into our businesses a strategy for how we will give back. What can you do to make your community better? Maybe you can do a fundraiser for a local cause, or do a review of your operational practices to see where you can make “green” changes. You don’t have to figure it all out at once, but it’s something that you want to consider.
You don’t have to be a corporation to practice corporate social responsibility. I believe it may actually be easier to practice CSR as a small business owner because we have massive manufacturing plants to reconfigure and retool. We make small, but meaningful changes that will be sustainable as we grow and expand our businesses. What are you going to do to give back to the community that’s supporting you and your business?
Sandra Dawes is a certified life coach specializing in helping women who feel unfulfilled with their 9-5 follow their dreams and pursue their passions. She holds an Honours BA, an MBA as well as a certificate in Dispute Resolution.She has completed her first book,Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve!