Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
As a lifelong member of the Richardson community, I know firsthand how we like to think of ourselves as a jewel in the DFW area with small town connections and big city amenities. Regardless of the booming size, community really comes down to relationships and attitudes.
When the small and mid-size business community collaborates with each other, wonderful things can happen. Here are a few ways businesses of all sizes can help each other and help themselves.
Connect with each other on a real level. Whether you do this through the Chamber of Commerce (Richardson has a great one, and several smaller chambers focused in a variety of regional and diversity-focused chambers) a business networking group or even through the various charitable groups like Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Clubs; connection is key. Meet people with the goal of getting to know them, their business and their passions, not just as a business card to add to your lead list. The Richardson Chamber of Commerce and its Leadership Richardson program has been a great fit for me personally and our company.
Share opportunities. Once you know folks in your community, you will inevitably know your competitors. Not every sale or opportunity will be the best fit for your company. Don’t be afraid to have some folks on speed dial to find out what is best for the customer. The better your relationships are, the more likely the other business will reciprocate. And sometimes the best customer testimonial is the customer that you didn’t take. This also means you know your strengths and play to them – and it helps you carve out your niche.
“Like” each other. Social media algorithms are changing and complicated for small business who don’t have specialists or advertising dollars to allocate to them. Interacting with other businesses’ social media presence is imperative. Connect on Linked In, “like” the company’s page on Facebook, and when you see posts that are interesting to you – be sure to interact with that post and share it if appropriate. These things not only boost the one post, but help the person and company in the larger system’s algorithms. So, don’t be shy to share the like.
Share expertise. Knowledge is power. If you are running a business it is unlikely that you have all the expertise and skills in the wide variety of areas needed to run a successful business. A digital marketer might not be up on the latest and greatest accounting strategies but they can sure help an accounting firm improve its social media presence. Help each other out and the communal ship rises.
Use their services when you can. Want support from other businesses? Give it! Find ways to become a customer of your clients and neighborhood businesses. Lead by example and in all likelihood it will come back to you tenfold.
Karen Springs is an agency producer for the Montgomery Agency of Farmers Insurance. She is an active member of the community serving on the Richardson Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board, Leadership Richardson Alumni Association Board and a member of several local RISD PTA groups. You can connect with her via Linked In or like the Montgomery Agency Facebook page today.