We’re all doing our best to be our best in business. I read everything I can get my hands on in terms of business improvement, marketing, networking, etc. Some of us are going gangbusters in business and some of us are barely squeaking by. No matter where you are on the success scale though, there’s always room to give of yourself, donate your time, or help someone in need. Go the extra mile to help a customer or donate something (whether it’s a product or your time) to a cause. A small gift of your time can be a huge blessing to someone in need.
I live in Nashville and our city recently suffered a catastrophic flood. 93% of the people didn’t have flood insurance because they lived in areas that were never supposed to flood. 20 people lost their lives. Hundreds and hundreds of rescues were carried out by boat to people trapped in their attics. People died in their cars in standstill traffic on the interstates as the flood waters surged rapidly. Business in Nashville was devastated. Small business owners who were struggling in this economy before the flood truly have to start from scratch. Damage is estimated in the billions for middle Tennessee.
What has happened in Nashville since the flood has been inspiring. I’ve watched victim helping victim, neighbor helping neighbor, businesses helping other businesses. People who are dealing with their own flood damage are helping others who have more severe flood damage. There are no business competitors in this environment – just a community pulling together.
As you work tirelessly to promote your business, bring in new customers and stay on top of the competition, are you also giving enough of yourself back to the business community, young business hopefuls who need guidance, and your neighbors, family and friends? Do you have a plan for how much of your professional skill you’ll donate back to your community to help it grow? Have you gone above and beyond for a customer in need? Are you active in your church or in community-based organizations? Do you donate products or your time for school activities? When people think of your business do they think of the person who stands behind the business or just the products offered?
In business there are charitable things we do that we know will bring good publicity our way. There are things we give in exchange for advertising and recognition. That’s a part of good business practice. There are also those quiet things we do (or should do) without expecting anything in return. This is the kind of giving that reminds us that we’re all in this together and that one day we may be the ones in need.
My father used to tell me that it’s the things I do when no one is looking that define who I am. So even though I budget for advertising and appreciate public recognition, I continue to challenge myself to give authentically and without expectations. I am writing this not as the expert on generosity or charitable giving or as one who has it all together when it comes to how I divide my time and resources, but rather, as a fellow member of the business community who, just like you, wants to leave this place better than I found it.
Causes Pam Johnson-Bennett Supports
Tree House Humane Society
Winn Feline Foundation