Small businesses should include kindness in their culture

Acts of kindness within the community and beyond can be helpful for small businesses who seek to build a strong brand and positive reputation. 

Natalie Peace, a Forbes contributor, owned three Booster Juice businesses, and in order to promote them began a campaign called 22 Days of Kindness. She wrote that while it may seem like a difficult and unworthy task – doling out resources for acts of kindness – the idea of promoting generosity through small business can actually be worthwhile.

Peace wrote that she paid members of her staff to spend their shifts doing random acts of kindness. These included washing windows for other businesses in the neighborhood and handing out flowers to strangers. The campaign went well for Peace, her staff and her business in a number of ways. Her employees felt great about what they were doing, which led to a more productive and happier workforce. 

In addition, the 22 Days of Kindness campaign afforded the Booster Juice businesses plenty of media coverage, according to Peace. Local news outlets all wanted to cover a story that was uplifting and fun, and Peace was glad to oblige. She estimated the coverage her stores received may have cost thousands of dollars through other marketing means. 

How other businesses can make kindness a part of their culture
Other small businesses can easily find their own ways to contribute to th
eir communities in order to receive similar coverage and bring in more foot traffic. A community bank can organize a day when financial tips are given to individuals in need, or a pet store can set up a monthly station where cats and dogs are groomed for free. 

Making a small business more generous starts with the owner. Rene Lacerte, CEO of Bill.com, wrote on Inc. that he strives to be a role model. Remember that your employees won't always be vocal about giving back, unless you are as well. Lacerte wrote that while it sometimes may be difficult to open up about matters such as one's own personal generosity, it may be necessary in order to push employees to do the same. 

This is important because a great way to promote small business generosity within the community is to provide employees with a forum through which they can vocalize the things they care about, Lacerte explained. One employee may want to volunteer at a homeless shelter, while another may be thinking about organizing a food drive. For example, Lacerte's company has an internal newsletter that highlights employee volunteer work. 

Your small business can even take it a step further and ask that customers pledge to ask an act of kindness. This, Peace wrote, is what she and her employees did at her Booster Juice stores in order to help promote the 22 Days of Kindness campaign. She wrote that people who signed the pledge really enjoyed the challenge, and even told friends about it. This brought in new customers for Peace and her three businesses. Peace even started a website where customers could discuss the campaign and share acts of kindness they'd witnessed. 

But, if you decide that your small business and employees could use a spell of generosity, make sure that you are not forcing it on anyone. These acts need to be voluntary, Lacerte explained. He explained that for small business philanthropy, the effort must come from within. Creating a foundation within the company culture based on kindness will lead to every interaction being tinged with a bit of generosity, he noted. 

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