If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you should consider opening your business with the intention of making a positive impact on your local community. You don’t have to have a brick and mortar business, either. It doesn’t matter if you decide that your business will be a purely online venture; you will still need the support of local communities to grow and prosper. You can impact your community by investing in it in various ways.

Donate a Portion of Your Profits

If you can demonstrate to your local community that you care, you will truly reap the rewards of it. For starters, if you keep a record of the amounts you have given to charity, you can claim this as a tax deduction. Many businesses do this for this very purpose. You will be killing two birds with one stone. Find a charitable organization like a homeless shelter or struggling rehab institution and give them a hand. You don’t have to donate money; you can donate things like furniture, supplies, etc.

Participate in Holiday Food Drives

So many people are in need these days, especially during the holidays, and you can help make a difference. Contact your local food banks or food pantries and ask them about the kinds of food items they accept. You can enlist the help of your employees, or you can ask your friends and family for help. Be sure you communicate with the organizations you plan on helping. They just might help you with collection boxes, posters and other equipment that will make your food drive a success.

Sponsor Local Events

Using your time and some of your money to sponsor an event will give your business the exposure it needs. Look at it as a low-budget, but effective, way of building your brand and acquiring more customers. Free advertising for your small business is almost always one of the end results of sponsoring a trade show.

Be sure that there is some kind of way for those who come to the event to know your business is sponsoring it. These could be posters, online advertising or even paid time on radio shows. Remember that organizations and causes you sponsor will truly appreciate you and spread positive words about you and your business.

Originally published on JimmyLustig.net