Join a Group
Getting involved can help build a bond between your business and the community. It also lets you meet others who may share common interests and needs. Become a member of the Chamber of Commerce or civic club to make some business connections, as well as some friends.
Volunteer Time or Space
It doesn't take much space for a small group to meet. Consider volunteering your facilities to local clubs or related organizations. For example, if you sell comic books or other collectibles, loan your space to the local collectors club for their monthly meetings. If you don't have the space, give of your time. If you sell books, offer to read to pre-schoolers at the library's story time. Besides getting the personal satisfaction of helping others, you'll be interacting with a few potential customers.
Host or Sponsor an Event
Whether it's the Relay for Life, Red Ribbon Week or some other local program, most communities have at least one large event in need of sponsors. Read the local newspaper for upcoming events. Can't find a local event that fits your business? Host your own. All it takes is a little planning, support from your suppliers and favorable media coverage and you have the makings of a wonderful marketing opportunity and a great community event.
Teach a Class
Most retailers are experts about the products they sell and have a wealth of information to share. Check with one of our area colleges, Chamber of Commerce or library about teaching a class in your expertise. Another way to share all of that knowledge is by holding your own clinics right in-store. Many large hardware retailers have used this idea with free weekend how-to sessions.
Adopt a Project
Once you start looking for an organization to become involved with, you will probably find your community has many projects, big and small, that could use your hands-on help. Don't forget to contact the media outlets for additional exposure.