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Support Your Local Small Business Community on National Neighborhood Day
  • 10 September 2018
  • Tiffany C Wright

Support Your Local Small Business Community on National Neighborhood Day

You may not be aware of this, but National Neighborhood Day is the third Sunday in September. Take this opportunity to reflect on how your firm can help your local small business community grow and excel. According to National Neighborhood Day, this day "inspires, builds, and sustains the neighborhood relationships that provide the foundation for civic action and the building of stronger, more caring and effective communities." When there’s a strong sense of community in cities and towns large and small, and neighbors that know each other and work together, there tends to be lower crime rates and higher performing students. What can you do as a small business owner to help reinforce the neighborhood relationships that form the fabric of your own community?

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Know the neighbor

The nonprofit behind National Neighborhood Day advocates for getting to know one another by first name as a highly effective first step towards building stronger, more cohesive communities. Knowing this, as a business owner, you and your employees can easily communicate that you care by recognizing your regular customers and knowing them by name. Take that one step further and focus on knowing more about your customer's favorite items, hobbies, or even family. Doing this will elevate this sense of community and connectedness even more.

As you get to know your own customers, you’ll be better positioned to offer then products and services that really meet a need or solve a problem for them. By being a trusted resource that provides meaningful, valuable services – you can build loyalty and differentiate your business from the larger, publicly traded corporations that may operate in your area. Look at an example like Ace Hardware. Despite significant competition from big box home improvement supply stores, Ace has survived when many of its competitors did not. This smaller, independent chain has focused on providing friendly and highly knowledgeable service to business and residential customers and is known for being conveniently located in the neighborhood.

Be neighborly

According to Forbes, reaching out to your neighbors – both other small businesses and local residents – can build goodwill and loyalty. Of course, after initial introductions, you need to stay in touch. How to do that really depends on your neighborhood's character and demographics. If your business is surrounded by Millennials, consider using social media. You could solicit photos from customers in the neighborhood and post them on your business' Facebook page. If you are located in a neighborhood with mostly retired folks, you could offer different daytime activities targeted towards this group. Be unique and creative. This neighborly approach could also smooth disagreements that could arise over crowds, parking or noise issues caused by or related to your business. You never know when that goodwill you built up may come in handy!

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Build a transitioning community

Like people, communities evolve and change over time. If your community is experiencing this type of transition, you can help build or re-build a vibrant, healthy small business community by reaching out to other like-minded business owners in the area. There are revitalization stories happening across the nation, where members of the local community band together with local business owners to improve once distressed areas and bring them new life. Is there an opportunity for you to get with other owners to create or join a local business district or neighborhood business association and, through these organized efforts, focus on driving development and beautification in the area?

Small business owners like yourself already have a greater tendency to focus on their surrounding community much more than larger corporate counterparts. Committing to building a strong small business local community can not only help strengthen the ties that bind your neighborhood, it can provide local businesses with many benefits. Whether it’s an increase in revenues, enhanced security, business partnerships for your firm, or lasting friendships and better health – all part of the fun and collaboration in your neighborhood!

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