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The Top Five Ways Small To Medium Businesses Can Give Back! By Jody Steinhauer

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here is a myth out there that charities and donations are the responsibility of large companies. I am here to tell you that I disagree — there is huge value to any small or medium sized business in giving back. The mantra I preach is “giving back makes good business sense!” and here is how it can help you. As President and CBO (Chief Bargain Officer) at The Bargains Group Ltd. (BargainsGroup.com) I have learned through 27 years of being in business, that doing good is great, not only for your local community, but for your business as well. I’m going to share with you how I evolved my business from wholesaling discount items to retailers, to becoming a social enterprise that makes a profit through giving back. 1. Deciding on what to do and whom to help. It is important that your business collectively figures out what they can do to help and to identify those in the community that don’t have the money, time or resources and will benefit from your donation. The important thing is that the message doesn’t come from the President of the company, but it comes collectively from the staff. Writing a cheque and handing it over is easy, and an action I don’t necessarily agree with. For me it’s about figuring out how you can help, and engaging your employees to get involved. This way you can create a story that you can share with other businesses, suppliers, and more importantly, customers. 2. Knowing what to give back. Many small businesses do not have the money to give back, which is okay; you must remember in order to give money back you as a company must be profitable. If you cannot give money you can give time or product, and you can even donate your employees’ time. If you are a product based company why not select four days of the year where you and your team pack up boxes of your product and personally deliver them to not-for-profits you want to help? Mentorship is another great avenue. For instance, if you own or work for an accounting firm, why not reach out to not-for-profits in your community and find out if they need help with bookkeeping. Instead of going in and fixing the problem, go in and teach volunteers how to do it.

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If you want to give money, why not think of a promotional idea or sale? You can give a percentage of the profit made from the sale to the charity or not-for-profit of your choice. A lot of business owners are uncomfortable with making more money when promoting a cause, but you must remember that business is business, and making a profit is the point. 3. Make a production of it. Many a business owner has told me they feel more comfortable writing a cheque and quietly handing it over, and what I tell them is to shout their donation from the rooftop. The more you talk about it the more people will want to do business with you. Once you start giving back make sure everybody knows about it. Share it in newsletters, on social media, get plaques made, and even tell people on the back of a business card. I cannot stress enough that you need talk about giving back. It has been proven that if your company is socially aware and gives back, customers will pay more for your service or product, and suppliers and other businesses will want to work with you, because being associated with a socially aware company is great for all involved. 4. Get everyone involved. I buy products all year round for The Bargains Group, and every year the charity I founded needs 33 items for each survival kit for “Project Winter Survival.” Socks are a must have item for the kits, so when purchasing socks I have no problem saying to the vendor that I will buy this amount for The Bargains Group, but I need 3,000 pairs donated for the survival kits. In most cases vendors donate because they want to support their customer, and this is also their way of getting involved and giving back. 5. Share your story! In our board room we have a wall filled with plaques; awards we have won, newspaper and magazine articles written about us, and we leverage this wall by showing potential customers, and future employees what we do, what we stand for, and what we have done. We make sure that everyone who comes into our building leaves knowing that we at The Bargains Group are socially aware. It is always award season, so make sure you get your company and your employees

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nominated. Whether you are nominated or you win, you will have a great story to share across social media, your website, and newsletters. Winning awards creates the opportunity for public speaking, which is another great platform for you to share your story. It’s literally a free commercial for your company. At The Bargains Group we have a whole business that provides below wholesale bargains to retailers, not-for-profits, and logo’d wholesale products to businesses and customers of any kind. When dealing with homeless shelters and social service agencies, we learned very quickly that more and more of them couldn’t afford to buy products. So by creating “Project Winter Survival” and “Project Water” to help, we ended up bringing together our suppliers and clients, which allowed them to give back, and more importantly allows us to continue giving back. We leverage everyone we do business with to make a donation, and we constantly share the story of us being experts, because not only do we do this, we have also created a charity, Engage and Change, so the story of us giving back keeps on building, and as a result we win awards, and magazine and newspaper articles are written about us. We are kind of the poster child for any small to medium sized businesses in Canada that wants to make a difference, with not a lot of resources. You can do anything you want to, just remember that “giving back makes good business sense.” As President of The Bargains Group Ltd., Jody Steinhauer has mobilized her award winning discount wholesale and promotional products company to revolutionize the business landscape. Pioneering her belief of “giving back makes good business sense,” she has accumulated 27 years of successful entrepreneurial experience by using her network of resources and leveraged buying power to aid every company and not for profit agency that she touches, to maximize their buying dollar. Jody’s achievements include: Canadian Woman “Entrepreneur of the Year Award”, Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40,” and many more. She is also the President and founder of Engage and Change (EngageAndChange.org).

Biz X magazine January 2016. Vol 19 - Issue 1  

ON THE COVER — “100% Local Content Always!” As a locally owned and operated family business, Biz X magazine enters its 19th year of publishi...

Biz X magazine January 2016. Vol 19 - Issue 1  

ON THE COVER — “100% Local Content Always!” As a locally owned and operated family business, Biz X magazine enters its 19th year of publishi...