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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
Using Your Business to Serve the Community
There are a large number of possiblities when it comes to getting involved in your community. In fact, there are a number of ways your business can get involved, such as donating some of your profits to charity or donating the product/service you provide to those in need. But have you ever considered actually using your business itself to serve the community?
Allow me to premise by stating what I consider the difference between a “job” and a “career.” A job is a position someone holds in order to make ends meet, and most people, when they are desperate to put food on the table, will settle for whatever they can get whether they enjoy the position or not, such as flipping burgers. Alternatively, a career is a position held in a business/market that someone has interest in, a position they enjoy, and it carries the hope of advancement, such as a law clerk.
Our nation is, unfortunately, full of people who the average business owner won’t even consider hiring, such as the homeless, those recently released from prison, those recovering from substance abuse… and the list goes on. Often times people in these unfortunate situations, regardless of how they are making an effort to or have changed their lives, are forced to settle for a what I consider a “job.”
With that in mind, there are a growing number of small (and somewhat larger) businesses who are contributing to their community by providing an alternative to just a “job.” They hire new employees with the understanding that they will not be staying with the company long term. Instead, these business owners hire those recovering from substance abuse, working to get their US citizenship, just released from prison, or victims of domestic violence.
The intention is to provide an income as well as allow the employees to begin building a new work history. The business owners provide counseling and furthers their employees’ education by providing training in common and necessary job skill and classes on interviewing and creating resumes.
The turnover rate is typically high, as most of the employees come in with the intention to move on to something better suited to them. Occasionally an employee will develop loyalty and stay, here or there, or will jump on the wagon and want to stick around to pay it forward, but not often. The business owners don’t mind, though. They are providing a service to their community and helping others to start over on a good foot – something that can never be replaced by a longer turnover rate.
To Read More About These Community-Geared Businesses:
• BusinessWeek.com: A New Model for Community Service
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