It’s true: having an internet presence is of the utmost importance, and making sure your website is flawless is an important consideration. However, there’s more to running a small business than just making your website a piece of art. In fact, a lot of small businesses need a combination of a web presence and local presence in the community they’re located in. Despite the rise of social media and SEO popularity, community networking is not dead, even when your business is mainly an online one.
People Recognizing You Locally is Worth It
According to a recent survey, 90% of Americans actually support local business, and 73% of those respondents actually said they make an active effort to shop local over big box retail. If your local business is in a particular area, and others know about it, they might actually want to shop with you (even if you don’t have a physical location in the city other than your home). However, if you’re stuck on a computer all day and don’t actually try to network in your community, none of that business will ever actually come to be. An easy way to gain some recognition is to host a small party at your office (even if it is your house) or sponsoring a local baseball or basketball team. Your business can even offer a scholarship for a certain disadvantaged group of college students. People will go out of their way to support you if they see you doing good things.
Support Other Local Businesses
There is nothing more valuable than knowing other people who are in a situation like yours. Supporting local business doesn’t even necessarily mean that you’re supporting other entrepreneurs, either. It can mean you have involvement in your city’s Chamber of Commerce. Just by involving yourself with a Chamber of Commerce, you increase the chances of future customers by over 60%. You can swap business ideas with other business owners at your Chamber, and help one another refine business plans and new ideas. There are some excellent opportunities to network and mingle with other leaders in your area right on your back porch.
Motivation to Keep Going
You’re an entrepreneur, so it’s likely you already have tons of ideas going on. If you don’t, it’s probably because you feel stuck in the business you’re doing now, or you’ve been too busy to really think about anything extensive. However, being involved in your local community is often inspiring. Giving a talk at a college or local high school about being a small business owner can help you find your fire again as well. You may just be one small business, but your story is important to share with others for them and for you, too, especially if you feel like you’re in a rut.
In the end, no one can force you to step into your local community. However, by doing so, you’re putting yourself in a position to learn new things, keep your fire going, and you’ll be able to raise awareness about your local business.