How small businesses can give back this holiday season

customer satisfaction measurement

It’s no secret that this holiday season will be a tougher one for many people than before. But small businesses have a unique opportunity to help their communities this year. Here are some ways small businesses can give back this holiday season, whatever your budget.

  • Support other businesses as often as possible, both personally and on behalf of your small business.
  • Donate, whether it’s monetarily or via the goods your business makes or service you perform.
  • Show your employees a little extra love, whether it’s more holiday time off or gift cards to use at local businesses in the new year.
  • Investigate charity events your business can sponsor or participate in.
  • Consider giving away a service or resource that you might normally charge for. As an example, your photography business may post a series of “Photography Lighting Hacks” videos on YouTube or Instagram. This could have a ripple effect – maybe another small business just needs great, well-lit product photos for their website but can’t afford to hire a professional.
  • Signal boost other businesses. Make a point of highlighting the other small businesses in your area or indirect competitors in your industry. Word of mouth is a powerful thing!
  • Give referrals to other service providers as often as possible.
  • Collaborate with other businesses to offer bundled services or products. This can help promote related businesses and perhaps introduce them to potential customers who weren’t familiar with them.
  • Show your gratitude. This one might sound overly simple, but sometimes just hearing that someone out there cares can go miles in sustaining an entrepreneur’s determination.

Do you have any other suggestions that we might have missed?

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From the archives: Associate your small business with a great cause

Can your business benefit from associating with a charity or other good cause? We think so, and one study has shown that customers are more likely to do business with a company that’s associated with a cause.

Read more about how a good cause can help your small business in this 2011 blog post by GoForth’s President, Dr. Leslie Roberts. Let us know what you think!

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Associate your small business with a great cause

While I was in Toronto last week, I stopped in to meet the wonderful folks who run Breakfast For Learning, the nation’s leading non-profit dedicated to the development of child nutritional programs. In short, they offer meal programs and nutritional counselling in schools across Canada.

I was stunned to learn that one in seven Canadian children live below the poverty line. Breakfast for Learning served over 41 million meals last year to schoolchildren who had arrived without having breakfast, lunch or snacks. I love it when my mascara runs down my face.

Why the meeting with Breakfast For Learning? Because at GoForth, we’re looking for a cause. We want to give back; we want to show gratitude; we want to show our customers that we care.

For the past two years, I’ve been searching for the right cause to hang GoForth’s hat on. We’ve looked at a number of organizations both in Canada and in developing countries, and have shortlisted a number of noble and worthy causes GoForth could support.

The significance of cause-related marketing cannot be underestimated. If you’re in business, better get a cause. Don’t believe me? Read the CONE study, one of the first agencies to conduct research on consumers’ attitudes and behaviours toward brands and social causes.

Bottom line? Consumers are more likely to buy a product or service associated with a cause than one without a cause connection. If your market is primarily women, your need to connect your business to a cause is even more important.

Do you sell to millennials? Eighty percent of them would switch from a non-cause connected product (of similar price and quality) to another product if it was connected to a good cause. Harness their passion!

However, finding a great cause to support is not about throwing money at something and smiling for the cameras. Consumers can sense insincerity a mile away. Find the heart connection between you, your organization and a great cause. Discuss your needs as an organization and look together for innovative ways to blend your brand with that of the cause. Let’s make 2011 the year of “The Cause.”

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