Business Growth Strategy – Practicing Practical Generosity

Generosity, charitable giving, and social responsibility are win-win's for any business, but you need to think strategically about it.

Doing good begets more good.

Being in business doesn’t mean you have to be selfish or vicious. In fact, a generous nature – or lack of it – speaks volumes to people around you and can affect your bottom line, not to mention your personal sense of well-being.

When practicing generosity, think broadly. Your top clients deserve thanks. Your employees appreciate a kind gesture. Your community responds positively to social benefactors.

Give other people something to smile about, and you’ll reap more than just a warm, fuzzy feeling. Read on for tested ways to spread the love.

Think before you give

People are pretty perceptive. They know when you’re throwing a gift at them to be socially correct versus a sincere expression of gratitude or generosity. The difference between tacky and tasteful is the thought you put into the gift or gesture.

Generosity is defined by your willingness to do good, and no amount of money can equal an open heart.

When you have a loyal customer, be sure to show how much you value their patronage. A nice business lunch deserves a handwritten thank-you note. The trust that customers display with repeat business should be recognized with gifts tied to their interests – a round of golf, a day at the spa, amusement park tickets for young families.

Showing generosity to your employees engenders goodwill and is motivation for even better job performance. As with any gift, show care in your choice of item or activity. Not everyone enjoys socializing with co-workers, so throwing an expensive bash may not be as appreciated as you might think.

During December, give each employee a day for holiday shopping. Or, set up a gift-wrapping room outfitted with paper, ribbons, tape, scissors and tasty beverages. Write a personal note about how much you value a special employee and mail it to their spouse or kids. Order a catered dinner for the employee’s wife who just had a baby. Buy a subscription to House Beautiful magazine for your assistant who loves interior decorating.

The list is endless; the trick is to give thoughtfully.

Have a social agenda

Giving to the community isn’t always about money. Share the love of what you do with others. One idea: Invite local elementary school kids to play business owner for a day and let them shadow key employees.

A couple of important considerations in getting involved on the outside:

  • Pick a charity that melds with your business niche.  Your fitness facility could host the local Special Olympics event. Your supermarket could provide a special donation program for a food bank. If your niche is strictly geographic, your Florida real estate firm could sponsor a cause that focuses on Everglades conservation.
  • Learn what your employees value. Forty percent of U.S. citizens volunteer at some point in their lives, so there’s a good chance many of your employees are already involved somewhere. Even if you’re a solo operation, think about your personal interests to find the right fit.

Word to the wise

A blind donation may seem more sincere, but it doesn’t build business. Ensure that each giving opportunity will foster relationships.

Our Bottom Line

Generosity is not a specific tactic, but a life-philosophy. Your business is an expression of you. Use your company to practice the virtue – and practicality – of giving.

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