I am reading an incredible book by John Jantsch entitled The Referral Engine (affiliate link). In my reading today, I came across the case study of a company that needed plastic bottles for the packaging of their first product. In order to meet their need, they decided to work with area schools and pay them to collect plastic bottles for to meet the demand.
As I read this story three things came to mind about the convergence of business needs and community involvement:
- When creative businesses look at the community as a source of value rather than just one for sales/profit, great ideas that benefit both can be brought to life. (This company got the bottles that they needed and the schools and organizations got the money they needed to better their efforts in the community.)
- This convergence of the needs of a business and the needs of the community can spawn whole new ideas beyond the one that originally brought them together. All that it takes is a continuing effort between business owners and community leaders.
- Businesses that create this built-in community component will create a level of good will with the community that will certainly spark a word-of-mouth campaign that will bring referral customers into the business.
As I thought about these three things, I wondered how I could promote this kind of community involvement in my business model? How about you? What ways do you or could you engage the community in the development of a built-in community component?