As their name suggests, small businesses can’t really afford to operate as widely in a global landscape as prominent brands; their operations are restricted to small-scale efforts that directly benefit those closest to them and places within reach with the help of third-party courier services. And given this constraint, it’s a fairly common misconception to think that their ability to influence progress and uphold social responsibility is inferior compared to bigger companies in globalized industries.
However, while there is truth to this claim to some extent, small businesses actually play an integral role in promoting progress, reform, and improvement, despite the difference in business capacity and size. And that’s because social responsibility is more than just an after-thought, but an essential characteristic that defines the future and success of any company, no matter how localized their operations may seem or how extensive their recognition may appear according to market share.
Money Isn’t The Bottom Line; It’s Impact.
Most businesses are rooted in the idea that generating a profit is the bottom line, and while different strategies, frameworks, and documentation are necessary for reaching this goal, it’s a basic definition that most people agree with. But, in practice, emphasizing the necessity of positive cash flows often falls flat in the conversation of sustainability, and that’s why creating an impact is far more organic than monetary gains.
Of course, some would disagree with this notion, but we cannot deny the fact that customers don’t make purchase decisions based on cost-efficiency alone, and the weight of a strong, purposeful, and socially responsible brand is heavier in this regard.
A Business Idea Thrives When It Solves Problems
Nevertheless, a business can’t survive by reporting a breakeven every quarter; that much is a given. That being the case, a company that practices effective corporate social responsibility understands that products and services shouldn’t just meet emerging demand but also solves real-life problems experienced by their target customers. In doing so, a brand is more than capable of surviving economic downturns or geopolitical disruptions confronted in the stock market.
Identifying And Addressing Customer Needs
Firstly, solving problems is directly aligned with identifying and addressing customer needs, a process that requires careful planning and proper deliberation. It can take many forms, like collecting feedback through focus groups, testing a prototype product, or even demographic segmentation of target users. This process provides the business with insight into their planned customer base, giving them that much-needed edge against competition and straightforward design.
When One Door Closes, Another Opens
Secondly, while it may seem like the influx of small to medium-sized enterprises popping all around the world works against new startups, every opportunity that’s taken also creates another. For example, while the increased availability of online services has made everyday tasks and responsibilities more convenient, it’s not without consequences. And with more people at risk of too much screen time, private practices that provide counseling, therapy, and even sex addiction help are becoming increasingly important.
The Advantage Of Community And Connection
In the case of small businesses, they have a distinct advantage over prominent brands and household names that can’t afford to focus their efforts on one area because their operations are spread evenly and decentralized. As a result, taking corporate social responsibility into consideration carries an amplified effect because of community and connection, leading to (1) meaningful job creation for local economies and (2) encouraging innovation and individuality.
Meaningful Job Creation For Local Economies
While any business is capable of creating jobs for the local economy, there’s a certain sense of belongingness associated with working for a local business. And given this association, charitable acts and interacting with community programs give more meaning to your corporate social responsibility, attracting the support of both aspiring employees and potential customers.
Encourages Innovation And Individuality
Apart from meaningful job creation, there’s also the topic of innovation and individuality. You see, in the eyes of bigger companies, they’re always in a race to become the next big thing but often have their hands full with expanding operations and keeping their competition in check. But, smaller enterprises aren’t burdened with these goals and, therefore, can focus on their core functions and stand out as a unique brand image no matter where they end up.
Small Businesses are a Lot Bigger on the Social Scale
At face value, small businesses may not look as much when comparing numbers on a balance sheet or the number of customers they entertain every single day to bigger and more well-known companies. But, when we start discussing social impact, even the smallest startups can create a lasting change with the right mindset and a strong leader in charge.