Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States. Being such a densely populated region means local businesses have a unique advantage over those located in most other cities around the country. There is an incredible opportunity to engage with the community on a large scale, allowing for even a small business to make a huge impact. Here are four ways it can be done.
Provide for the community
If your company has a resource that the community may benefit from, one of the easiest ways to make an impact is by sharing. For example, besides offering the Chicago community an alternative to blockbuster releases by showing quality independent, foreign, cult, and classic films, the Music Box Theatre hosts numerous non-profit events, and donates tickets to local organizations and schools.
The flip side to offering your business’ resources is to buy in the community. For example, if you have a restaurant, purchase your food from area farmers. Green City Market does an incredible job of connecting the community to local farmers through its sustainable market model.
The most obvious way to engage with the community is by giving back. Flowers for Dreams, a local online venture, not only offers free delivery, but a portion of every sale also benefits a local charity. The company sees the gesture as a reinvestment in Chicago.
A clever way to deliver value to your community is to provide some form of cultural enrichment. Display works from local artists around your facility, and you not only provide your business with free quality decor, but also offer much needed support to the arts community. Milt’s Barbecue for the Perplexed goes above and beyond by “featuring speakers from around the world to address issues of politics, history, spirituality, humor and more.” Think of it as a TED Talk with food!
This article was written by Laurie Jo Miller Farr for CBS Small Business Pulse
For more tips and inspiration for small business owners, visit Small Business Pulse Chicago.