Last night I attended a networking happy hour. Nothing different than any other networking event. Mingle, have wine,
eat food, and try to get to know other business decision makers. However, when it came to going around the group to
introduce yourself, they asked that you say three things: your name, what you do, and one thing you can teach us. That
gave me pause. “One thing I can teach them”? Of course, I quickly go through all the tax stuff I could muster, thinking
that was the only thing I could teach them. And yes, when it came to my spot, I spoke about the ETC and how to opt-out.
But it was some of the other comments that really resonated with me. One of the teaching moments was to remember to
give back to the community you work in. How do we do that when our product is a tax return, tax planning, or IRS
representation? How could that help the community as a whole? Truthfully, I would rather take a weekend in a cabin at
Broken Bow over a free tax return!
So, what can we do to give back? Consider the following ideas:
– Sponsor an event. The local chamber of commerce in your area probably holds annual events and some of those events
may be quite large. For example, the Southlake Chamber has an annual awards banquet and this year my company is
their valet sponsor. With that sponsorship fee, not only does my business get blasted on the chamber website and their
Facebook ads, but I also get an ad in the program handed out to every attendee. Because it is valet, I am personally
putting a bag with my business name and logo, some goodies, a postcard about my firm, and a couple bottles of water in
each car. By doing this, not only am I recognized as a business in Southlake supporting my local chamber, but I my
information is going out to over 400 attendees at this event.
– Volunteer. Yes, time is a precious commodity, however for some of our local charities it is our time that they need the
most. Maybe you and your staff, wearing your company shirts of course, go and help at a local animal shelter. Take
pictures and post to your Facebook business page or website. Maybe your area hosts a local event every year. See what
you can do to volunteer for one of the local nonprofit organizations in your area or for the local schools.
– Gift Cards. Last night the president of Kids Matter International mentioned how much they love receiving gift cards.
She said that she could take some of the dinner gift cards they receive and hand it to the parents so they could go out and
have “date night” or they can take their children to a fun place for dinner. Sometimes the simplest of gestures mean the
– Gift Baskets. Create a beautiful basket representing your business. For example, a travel agent advertised an Italy
destination, and her basket was filled with Italian wine, pasta, tomato sauce, and a gift card to a local Italian restaurant.
An estate planning attorney made a basket called “Death by Chocolate” and her basket was full of wonderful chocolates.
Take the opportunity to get very creative doing these things.
One of the women that attended the event mentioned that she had been going to her dentist for over 10 years but realized
that he and his business had never given anything back to their community. She left him and is now going to another
dentist who is very active in the community. These things can and do matter.
By giving back to the community you work in, you are helping these organizations with your time and money. In return,
you and your business are getting recognized. The more times you get recognized, the less times you are forgotten.