Business Leadership Builds Community: 5 key foundations

Business Leadership Builds Community: 5 key foundations

Vibrant communities are built on a few key foundations. Citizens in these communities have ample opportunities to live, play, learn, and work close to home. They feel safe in their homes and in moving from place to place. They have a variety of options to purchase goods and services from people that live and work nearby.

Beaverton is a wonderful place to live because it exhibits these qualities. We are especially fortunate to have an abundance of locally owned, community engaged businesses. The owners of these businesses show their commitment to a healthy and vibrant community in many ways.

 

First, they provide outstanding customer service. They get to know customers as neighbors and friends. They adapt their goods and services based on community needs and priorities.

Think about the local restaurant that adapts their menu for customers based on food allergies and preferences. Or the local hardware store owner that takes time out of their day to visit the customer’s home to provide customized guidance with a project.

 

Second, they host and attend events that bring communities together. This might mean staying open late on a Friday night for a local art walk or festival. It might be blocking off part of their parking lot to celebrate a holiday with special sales or a barbeque. They might set up a tent to provide free advice and education to the community or school.

 

Third, they provide support for community organizations and schools.  A restaurant might provide food for organizations tabling at a nonprofit resource fair. A business with a large parking lot and access to water might give space to a local school or sports team to host a car wash to raise money for equipment or travel. Many businesses provide free merchandise to support silent auctions and other fundraiser events for local charities. Some provide paid days off for their staff to volunteer in the community.

 

Fourth, they truly care about their employees and dedicate time and resources to their development and well-being. Great business owners treat their employees with care and respect. They demonstrate leadership through asking questions. They learn about their employees’ hopes and goals and provide support to help employees reach those hopes and goals. They support ongoing education and provide mentoring. They provide opportunities for continuous learning and improvement. They deal with conflict with compassion and respect.

 

Fifth, they provide an environment where all feel welcome. When you visit these businesses, you know they care about you. When you are having an off day, they take time to listen and support you. When you are in a hurry, they help you get what you need and get on your way. They make every customer and employee feel special, every day.

You can probably think of a few local business owners that exhibit these behaviors. The next time you visit, thank them. Your kind words and appreciation are often the primary fuel for business owners’ engagement in their community.

 

By Rob Routhieaux, Director of Small Business Support & Development. For more information about how your business can be involved, email us at info@beaverton.org or call 503-644-0123.