Community involvement is a great way to gain awareness for your business and make local connections with businesses, organizations, and residents within the area. It can be tempting to involve yourself in every local organization and attend every local networking event in hopes of making valuable connections, but that’s likely not feasible or beneficial. Read on for three simple ways to get involved in the community in a way that really makes an impact for your business.
Join at least one organization that truly adds value
Whether it is a local chamber of commerce (like the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce if you’re local) or an industry-specific organization (such as FPRA or AdFed within our industry) within your community, join an organization that has an educational component. These groups leverage their members to provide educational presentations, in addition to providing an outlet for networking and building business relationships.
Many of these organizations have a trial period or option to attend as a guest (sometimes free, sometimes at a cost) so that you can “shop around” and get a feel for the group. In this “shopping around” phase, it’s crucial to audit how much value you’d get out of the organization compared to how much time, money, and resources you’d have to put in.
Get involved with a charity
Working with charities not only showcases goodwill on behalf of your company, but it’s personally fulfilling as well. Choose a cause you’re passionate about and get involved with an associated non-profit. There are many capacities at which you can support an organization–join the board, volunteer your time, offer your skills and expertise as pro-bono work, provide financial support, or create a campaign to bring awareness, funding, or resources to the cause.
Again, we recommend you choose one to start. The adage “you can move 1 thing forward a mile or 10 things forward a foot” applies. Join with the intent to help and simultaneously not spread yourself too thin.
Whatever you decide to do, encourage your employees to join in as well. Coming together to support a common cause can be an excellent team-building experience and create a sense of community within your organization. The PTE team has been involved with many charities over the years including volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, offering pro-bono services to the Gulf Coast Humane Society, and hosting an annual canned food drive campaign, CAN IT!, for the past 10 years to benefit Community Cooperative. Being good stewards to our community is part of our core values and this involvement continues to benefit our team culture.
Speaking events, public presentations, and other networking events are additional ways to get exposure for your company in the community. These are ideal ways to showcase your expertise and provide value to others in the area in a memorable way. Whether these events are opportunities you create for yourself or hosted by a local organization, they’re a good way to network with other businesses and residents, exchange business information, and communicate what value you can provide to others.
We understand that the idea of publicly presenting or even just networking with others can sound terrifying to many, but the value that comes out of it is worth it. If speaking publicly isn’t for you, start small by attending networking events and talking to others. Set goals for yourself of how many people you will approach and build your way to being a networking pro. There are also many virtual opportunities, which have vastly increased due to COVID-19, to showcase your expertise. Virtual presentations and webinars remove the in-person pressure that can come with public speaking and oftentimes you don’t even have to be on camera.
Excited to jump in the deep end and get your company out in the community? Keep in mind that you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. Be sure to have a vetting process for opportunities that interest you and audit each to determine the value that can come of it. Be selective with your time and make sure you have the capacity to commit to your community involvement before diving in.
Need additional insight on how to get recognized in the community? The PTE team has 15+ years of experience guiding businesses in Southwest Florida and throughout the country on strategies to generate awareness, build valuable connections, and improve public perception.