Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is often perceived as the duty of large firms. However, the absence of deep pockets and plentiful resources should not prevent small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) from giving back to their community. In fact, these endeavours can actually prove beneficial.
CSR as a business model
Identifying societal concerns and building business models to solve them is a window of opportunity for SMBs and startups.
Of course, businesses are set up to fulfil the unmet needs of consumers. But these needs may not always be material. Social entrepreneurship can help address larger issues. In this era, this is especially true as we witness how technology enables entrepreneurs to respond to causes close to their heart. Today, there are digital platforms for budding creative people, medical care, empowering women and more.
As nimble setups led by owners and founders who tend to be well-informed and digitally savvy, small firms can be socially responsible by leveraging technology to serve those in need, while at the same time innovating business models that generate revenue and create employment.
CSR as a chance to make the planet greener
Green tech startups globally are helping make the earth a better place. However, there are also business benefits for any SMB that follows green practices. Environmentally friendly lighting, for instance, will help you save on energy bills. Responsible waste disposal will save you money through recycling. It will also keep the neighbourhood clean, earning your firm the respect of your community.
Seeking green certifications for your processes also makes business sense. This is because larger firms are increasingly becoming environmentally conscious. As a supplier or partner, compliant practices will help you cement such relationships.
As a manufacturer, if you use raw materials from sustainable and organic sources, it may require a greater investment. But you could gain environmentally conscious consumers who are willing to pay more for the resulting products.
CSR as a way to build trust
An SMB may not have the large advertising and marketing budget of a corporate giant. However, it has something that’s possibly even more valuable – a finger on the pulse of its community.
Whether it is offering part-time jobs to those in need, discounts to customers dealing with lean times or complimentary gifts for neighbourhood celebrations, SMBs have an enviable connection with the local scene. This giving back will in turn go a long way in earning your business faith and goodwill.
Thus, CSR is extremely practical for SMBs. It is possible for a small business to carry out its social responsibilities despite limited resources. In fact, as lean operations with minimal red tape and an ear to the ground, SMBs can respond quicker than large firms to social needs around them. These efforts can help the company save costs, connect with its consumers, win the loyalty of its employees and build a unique brand identity, all eventually leading to business growth.