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12 July 2014 Posted by 


Make a difference and expand your networks

By Tony Eades
Chairman Sydney Hills Business Chamber

A BUSINESS is part of a community, whether it’s a small business and a local community, or a multi-national and the global community.

The concept of business actively engaging with a community and contributing to ‘social good’ isn’t new, but it is one that’s trending upwards.

It seems to have grown from the idea that businesses were obliged to ‘give back’ to the community – a concept that is frequently mentioned, but one that not one everyone would agree with.

Fortunately, this concept has evolved into one of engaging with community for the purpose of improving it.

What’s really great about this is that it’s not simply about donating money. It’s about doing what you can.

It’s about doing something that you have the capacity to do because you run a particular type of business or have access to certain resources – or just because you have a passion for a particular community cause. And it presents a fabulous opportunity for small business.

If you’re looking for a way of incorporating some ‘social good’ into your business activities, here are a few possibilities you may not have considered:

1.    Donating professional services or your time to a charity or community group. Community organisations often need a host of services from marketing to catering.

2.    Developing a social enterprise activity. A social enterprise activity is one that is designed to achieve something worthwhile rather than a profit. While there are entire businesses set up based on the concept (like the Bread and Butter Project), it may be possible to for a profit making business to establish a particular activity that works in this way.

3.    Training and mentoring. I’m sure many business owners would agree with me that we’re privileged. There are many people in the community who would benefit from training and mentoring if only a welcoming hand was extended. For example, refugees are often highly skilled, but struggle to resume their chosen profession here. Help improving their English skills, gaining formal qualifications in Australia, and developing a professional network, can make a monumental difference to their lives.

4.    Fundraising by donating a percentage of sales. This generally involves running a campaign to raise funds for a particular cause or group. While it does involve donating funds, the increased sales and new customers gained from a good campaign can benefit the business. Crowd sourcing style websites are just one way of promoting this type of campaign.

Business benefits as much as the community

Giving is good, but you might be surprised at how much difference participating in acts of ‘social good’ can make to a business.

It can increase brand awareness and create very positive associations with your brand. Internally, the effect can be similar - it can inspire your employees and generate good feelings and loyalty towards your business, particularly if employees can participate in the activity and feel they are doing something that changes the life of another human being.

We all have busy lives and too often we turn a blind eye to the many people less fortunate. We tell ourselves “someone else will help.”

And perhaps they will, but if each and every individual, and each and every business, made a point of contributing in one way or another, we surely would make a massive difference.

The Sydney Hills Business Chamber’s theme for July is “Business & Community” and our Business Breakfast on 9 July and Business After Five Networking on July 23 focus on that theme. Why not join us?

You’ll find details of all the Chamber events and workshops at www.sydneyhillsbusiness.com.au


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.