Good Morning Team – Below is an excerpt from a piece Billionaire Richard Branson wrote on Thursday. Remember you are your brand.
When you’re launching a startup, one of your first tasks is to identify potential customers and learn about their needs.
This may seem very different from the goals I have described in previous columns about defining your business’s greater purpose and helping to tackle some of the big problems our society faces today, but in fact they are related. Getting involved in volunteer efforts may help you to find customers and grow a business with deep roots in the community, which may be integral to its long-term success.
When my friends and I were starting up Virgin Records in the early 1970s, we backed a student advisory center in London close to our headquarters, which provided guidance for young people on everything from dealing with depression to getting a job. This may not have led directly to record sales, but our work there did help us to keep in touch with our audience’s concerns and the problems they faced at a time when the culture was changing very quickly.
Over the years, businesses in the Virgin Group have taken part in a number of local projects, though ”local” now means close to our offices, stores and other locations around the world. Experience has taught us that during our Virgin Records days, we might also have looked at lending some of our equipment, manpower and other resources to local school music programs and other music-focused community groups.
What ideas can you think of for your business? Are there groups in your community in need of support, perhaps in terms of mentorship or equipment? Are there skills you could offer to teach? How would your team like to get involved? Just a few hours a month can make a big difference in people’s lives and help with your company’s development.
The point of such activities is not to make money — although, often times this can be an indirect result. Through the relationships you build by doing such work, your business will become a hub for the community, supporting and fostering the people around it. It will help you to build a stronger culture within your company, better relationships with your customers and staff, and ultimately a more successful business.
Take a look around. What could you and your team do? –RB
Bill’s Note: Volunteering keeps us fresh and humble. Julie and I see it as both a Privilege and a Obligation – and we saw it this way before we became authors, business owners, business coaches and otherwise successful. It can also be a form of Tithing because your time and your talents have an intrinsic Value which is magnified by Serving Others.
Live With Intention,
Dr Bill Toth