On the ground though, we know the whole “backbone” bit is deeper than the dollar signs. You all—Philadelphia’s small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs—are community leaders and change-makers. You treat your customers with respect and respond to the needs of the storefronts, rowhomes, corners, and sidewalks all around you. You’re good neighbors.
For this week’s “How-To Tuesday,” I’m going to outline a few ways in which you can amp up your community accountability. But when I’m done, I need your recommendations. Why are you an asset to your neighborhood? Tell us in the comments below.
- Keep up appearances. Sweeping your sidewalk or painting your façade may sound superficial, but these little things can add up in a big way. Bonus: Customers like an attractive storefront and they like to see you care. Operating a home-based business? Grab a broom and chat up some neighbors while you do a little tidying up.
- Hire Locally. Need to expand your staff? First, read yesterday’s post on effective hiring practices. Then, type up a job description that mentions “neighborhood familiarity” as a preferred qualification. Or post an ad in your store. Or mention the position to regular customers/neighborhood fixtures. Attracting candidates who live in the neighborhood boosts the dollars circulating locally and your customer cred.
- Support area non-profits or community groups. Small businesses boast a unique advantage when it comes to supporting local non-profits or community groups. Because of your relationship with the neighborhood, you understand the needs of the community and the organizations best-suited to meeting those needs. Removed corporations don’t have that sort of insight. You can spend your philanthropic dollars or donate your time in ways respected by your neighbors and attract new business at the same time.
- Join area business or civic associations. Being present and involved keeps you abreast of what’s going on and gives you the chance to influence it. We know you’re swamped, but having a say in neighborhood affairs can be good for your business and your block. It’s worth it.
- Be your block’s eyes and ears. You’re “holding down the fort” when your neighbors are at work or cooking dinner. Your consistent presence contributes to the stability of your surrounding area, and stability cannot be overstated.
No one said being a backbone is easy, but the body can't stand up without it.