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How Will Your Business Inspire Change in 2017?
January is the time we traditionally resolve to exercise more, eat less and challenge our vices. We are inspired by the newness of the year and the fresh opportunity to establish good habits. It’s almost as though we are presented with a blank canvas, a fresh layer of snow or an untouched stretch of sand. It beckons us to start anew; to adjust our mindset and become more purposeful in all that we do.
Well inspiring change is one of my favourite topics so while we are all on the same page, I’d like to share some thoughts. While New Year’s resolutions are all about personal growth, I’m a little more drawn to ways we can inspire change for others. It definitely starts with us, but rather than ending there, I like to think the ripples of change expand outward and impact those around us.
So, once we’ve purchased our meal replacement shakes and booked in with our personal trainer, let’s make a cup of tea (herbal of course) and think about how our businesses could inspire change in others this year.
Many of us want to inspire change in a big way, but our jobs or our business don’t always allow us that freedom. Rather than give up, adapt. Consider ways your current circumstances could be tweaked to enable you to impact others.
Firstly think about topics or causes you’re interested in.
It might be an environmental issue, something to do with homelessness, education or (as in my case) child protection.
Then, think of an aspect that aligns with your business.
For example, if you run a café you may not be able to solve local housing issues, but you may be able to make someone living rough, a cup of coffee. You may not be able to overhaul our education system, but you may be able to provide a safe place each afternoon for students to do homework.
Finally, be creative in connecting the two.
The idea is to make a difference using what you have, and involving your customers in the experience. You could simply support an existing charity with a change jar on your counter or you could run events and activities that benefit your customers as well. Some ideas are:
- Customers could donate an older winter coat and get 10% off your new arrivals.
- Accountants might factor in support for micro-financing projects into their fees.
- Café’s could run a breakfast program at the local school and give customers the opportunity to contribute by adding a small amount to each cup of coffee or sandwich purchased.
- Karate instructors might use part of their adult tuition to subsidise fees for children’s self-defence classes.
- Hairdressers might put aside 2 appointments per week for residents of a local homeless shelter.
- An annual dinner, themed events or a regular trivia night might work for bricks and mortar businesses, but even consider partnering with another organisation for combined events.
A 2015 survey by Nielsen which I mentioned in my last article, found that consumers are more interested in products and services that express a social conscience. That means while you are impacting positively on the lives of others, your customers and potential customers may reward you for it by choosing to do business with you.
I get excited about the unique ways people find to help others. But even if you don’t make the papers, sometimes it’s small acts that have considerable impact on a personal level. The key is to just do something.
I would love to hear your ideas (my favourite topic, remember), so leave them in the comments section below where I can respond.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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