You’ve probably done everything you can to go green as a small business. Energy-saving bulbs, smart hot water and heating gadgets, double glazing, insulation, a general awareness about the value of conserving energy and the willingness to support green issues, even if it’s only signing online petitions, is about it.
What do you do next to make our world a better place? Collaboration and social responsibility are a great way to extend goodwill into your community and beyond, and reap the inevitable business benefits of being an all-round jolly good egg.
Inspired by the ongoing battle for a climate the world’s peoples can live safely and well in, more and more businesses are shifting their focus to social justice. It’s Corporate Social Responsibility. It concerns the way your business produces an overall positive impact on society. And small businesses like yours can do it too, doing the decent thing whether you’re a start-up, mini-business, SME, freelancer or sole trader.
About CSR for small businesses
In a way it’s easier for small, local businesses to make an impact on their area and the people who live in it. You know the place like the back of your hand, you’re aware of its issues and know what’s best about it. You are perfectly placed to pick and choose how to do the most good.
In an ideal world social responsibility is an integral part of the wealth creation process. It makes sense since anything that’s merely peripheral to the main business will always be the first thing to go in a crisis. When it’s managed well CSR enhances competitiveness and also maximises wealth creation to society in general. Even when times are hard, the incentive remains to practice CSR, do more and make even more of a positive impact.
CSR means running your business in a manner that meets and even exceeds ethical, legal, commercial, regulatory and public expectations. It also means deciding voluntarily to contribute to a better society, integrating social and environmental concerns at grass roots level, in every aspect of your business.
What does CSR for small businesses actually involve?
You might run free courses out of office hours to train local people to use business software, or support local start-ups in creating an initial business plan. Your staff might volunteer at a local community garden, care home, children’s hospital or hospice, charity shop or animal sanctuary. And raise funds for it, too.
You might support local campaigns for or against new development, or provide your local newspaper with expert advice for their readers. Take work experience candidates from local schools. Or build cordial links with local businesses and actively support their growth plans.
Does going good really send more good things your way? Whether or not you believe in Karma, and whether it’s donating your time or energy, money or expertise, lending a helping hand makes people feel good. We love to help. It gives us a kick.
When groups of like-minded people get together to support a common cause, strong relationships are built. As a result your entire team is more motivated, enjoys work more and is better able to innovate. Which means CSR is also good for your bottom line.