Building Better Business With Generosity: Ways for Self-Storage Operators to Give Back to Their Communities

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There are many more examples of creative ways to be generous. Look around your neighborhood and community. How can what you do every day become more evident and beneficial to others?

Little Things Count

“Giving” actually multiplies what you are “receiving.” Walk into most Sam’s Clubs or Costcos at 1 p.m. on almost any weekday and you can basically have a free lunch—and not by ordering at the counter. Just walk down the aisles, and you’ll find hot foods from pizza to burgers, cold beverages, hot beverages, sweets and treats of all sorts—freely and gladly handed out. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are doing the same for their customers.

Why this generosity? The truth is, even if the goal is not necessarily to be generous (as we think of it), generosity can build sales. Coupons for free items, free bonus gifts and prizes have always worked to gain attention and build sales for products from cereal and soap to jewelry and big-ticket items such as automobiles and even homes.

Generosity pays these dividends:

  • It’s attention-getting.
  • It’s cost-efficient.
  • It builds top-of-mind awareness.
  • It may increase sales.
  • Customers or clients perceive a benefit.
  • There is a spillover effect to other areas and products.

But how can you be generous when your cash is low, your business consists of products or services you can’t give as samples, or you have few employees to volunteer? What then? Here are some ideas:

  • Offer discounts to charitable organizations.
  • Give time or funds to community projects.
  • Participate in a community event that’s not business-related.
  • Offer your place of business for community use, seminars, calling-marathons, a meeting room, etc.
  • Lead a class on your specialty for the chamber of commerce or any local organization or nonprofit.
  • Speak to senior citizen clubs, retirement communities, schools and PTAs, and let the group charge participants for your valuable information and keep the revenue.

Customers and potential customers will take note. Positive publicity is generated. Commit to generosity in the true sense of the word, and it will make a difference that can pay dividends for years to come while building your balance sheet in ways that simply can’t be quantified.

Remember, your bottom line may not only be measured by revenue received but by resources shared. Generosity is a business vitamin that will build a healthier bottom line.

Stan Craig, founder of the ForeTalk Seminar, is an accomplished financial planner, executive coach and keynote speaker. He’s the author of “ForeTalk: Taking Care of Tomorrow Today.” As a finance professional, he’s enjoyed a 27-year career at Merrill Lynch, which included positions as national sales manager, first vice president and senior director of the office of investment performance. For more information, visit www.foretalkseminar.com.

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