Thursday, 12 August 2010

Businesses and Community Contributions

With the various hats I have, or have had, both in community and business voluntary groups, such as Chamber, Federation of Small Businesses, School Governor, CAB and others I have often been asked why? Why do you do all these things?

In the last few days this has become even more evident as the business world is debating the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships, or LEP's, to replace the RDA's such as SEEDA.

So why would a business engage with an LEP, or equivalent, what is there in it for them?

In all cases where a business is investing resources the shareholders, directors and owners should be asking, what is in it for us, will being part of this for example result in any of the following?
Reduced costs
Improved staff retention
Reduced marketing spend
Increased awareness of our organisation
Lead to new enquiries
Giving an edge over competitors not involved
Ticking a CSR box as required by a client(s)
Providing critical business data
Bringing procurement advantages with other members of the group
Providing access to more affordable financing
Adding value to tenders and business plans
Delivering a return on Investment - time - money - resources
Improving employee morale or job satisfaction

These are the tangible, measurable outcomes of an engagement that sound management should be looking at.

What business leaders, as against managers, should be looking at as well are the less quantifiable reasons to participate. What might be referred to as the soft fluffy warm feeling of just doing something for no reward. Sometimes the right thing is just to do it, for no reason, just say yes and see what happens. You might be surprised at just what comes from being involved and you will have demonstrated, to new and potential clients, staf and the wider world that you want to be a leader in your community - business or geographical.

The truth is personally that I enjoy being a part of things, making a difference and joining up a wide range of contacts, being a hub to bring about connectivity, that for me is reason enough to participate, but what would and does motivate you?