BBB Tip: 5 ways local businesses can make a positive community impact

Local businesses provide a host of benefits for communities across the nation, contributing to a diverse and dynamic marketplace that strengthens and reinforces ethical business practices. In addition to the charm and personality local businesses add to a community, they also provide practical benefits such as economic and charitable contributions. As they grow and succeed, local businesses bolster the surrounding area and can make a positive impact on their community in five main ways.

Give back to the community

A common way that a local business can make a positive community impact is through community involvement. Community involvement can take a variety of forms, including:

Charity drives. By organizing and hosting a charity drive, local businesses are able to promote causes that are important to them or the community they serve. BBB recommends using a Wise Giving Alliance accredited nonprofit organization, which must pass the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, and for local businesses to research a chosen charity on to verify their legitimacy.

Partnering with local organizations. By partnering with local organizations, local businesses can give back to their community through donations, sponsorships, volunteering or promotion. It is also a fantastic way to meet local officials and community leaders, strengthening the relationship between the business and the community they serve.

Volunteering at community events. Interacting and volunteering at local events, such as holiday events or park cleanup initiatives, is a great way to demonstrate a local business’ values and dedication to their community. It is also a fantastic networking opportunity for a local business to understand the needs of their community and how best they could serve those needs.

Create a unique community identity

A street block of local businesses has a much greater cultural value than one with large chain stores. Each small business brings a measure of unique character to the community, and long-established local businesses eventually become a part of the community identity, history and culture.

Local businesses are most often owned by members of the community themselves and form meaningful relationships with their customers. Communities take pride in their unique culture and identity and often appreciate local businesses that they feel personally invested in as customers and employees.

Contribute to a community’s economic health

As a business becomes more successful and profitable, this success is recycled back into the local economy. Due to the fact that a local business must pay local taxes, a portion of their revenue goes directly back into the community. Additionally, many local businesses source services and goods that they require from other businesses in the area rather than from large corporations, strengthening the overall business community.

When local businesses are more successful, they create new job opportunities for the local population. These workers will often spend the money they earn through the job in the local market, promoting business growth and contributing to local economic development.

Inspire, innovate and compete

As a local business grows and succeeds, other community members might be inspired to start a business of their own. When those new businesses grow, they generate competition and the need for innovation, resulting in a diverse set of local businesses that are all striving to meet the needs of the community in unique ways.

Small businesses can also provide hiring and training opportunities to the community, teaching people the necessary skills to eventually run their own local business.

Promote environmental friendliness

Local businesses tend to have a lighter environmental and infrastructural impact than large chain businesses. Small businesses can usually take advantage of original or remodeled historical buildings and can often be operated from home, minimizing the environmental impact of office buildings and travel.

Local retailers and manufacturers can also produce, access and distribute goods in more sustainable ways. Manufacturers can access materials locally, restaurants can source their food and supplies from community farms and businesses can distribute goods locally, lowering emissions from transportation and freight.

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