When you give back to your community, your community gives back to you. Supporting local businesses and neighborhood initiatives are a key part of building a thriving environment for your business. Here are five easy ways that you can get your small business involved with the local community, especially here in NYC:
1. Join your local chamber of commerce, business improvement district, or business alliance.
A membership into one of these organizations immediately widens your community network. Create connections with other business owners, participate in city or community initiatives, and be the first to learn about business opportunities. Don’t know who your local organization in NYC is? Find it at the NYC BID Association.
2. Use local suppliers and vendors.
Whenever feasible, try to source materials and contract services from local suppliers who do business in your community. You’ll not only foster better vendor relationships and ensure better quality control, you’ll also be helping to boost the local economy and support local jobs. Not sure where to look? Made in NYC has a database to help you find locally made products in the areas of construction, interiors, apparel and jewelry, food, machinery and metals, printing, and more.
3. Support local community events or initiatives.
Many BIDs host their own neighborhood events that are open to the public, such as DUMBO’s First Thursday Art Walk or the Downtown Alliance’s Game On! summer block parties. Supporting these types of events can give your company great exposure to local residents and businesses. It’s also a good idea to keep a pulse on city business initiatives by organizations such as NYEDC—you never know how one could possibly benefit you, such as this high-speed Internet expansion initiative called Connect IBZ.
4. Become a local expert or business mentor.
Volunteering your expertise or becoming a business mentor is a fast way to build your professional reputation. Consider hosting “Lunch & Learn” presentations at local coworking spaces, or join a mentoring program such as Business Mentor NY to connect with other entrepreneurs.
5. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
There are super simple ways to “go green” with your business while also benefiting the local community. Collect food scraps for compost at your local community garden, host a yearly clothing drive to benefit local nonprofits, or schedule a spring cleaning of old electronics for proper recycling. NYC has many recycling and reuse resources that you can take advantage of on their website.