How to Use Community Relations to Grow Your Business

Written by Michele Pariza Wacek

Community relations is one of those marketing strategies that isn't talked about much, even though I venture to say practically everyone ends up doing it at one time or another. Basically, community relations is when you and your business become involved in your community. For instance:

* Your business donates money to nonprofit organizations. * You or your employees volunteer at a fundraising event. * You or your employees volunteer for a nonprofit organization. * You or your employees join a service club. * You or your employees network and/or volunteer at industry association meetings or business functions (such as Chamber of Commerce events). Some people might consider this networking and not community relations, but I would argue networking falls under community relations. Regardless, you getrepparttar idea.

I'm going to go throughrepparttar 148249 pros and cons of community relations in a moment, but first I want to encourage all of you to think about ways to not only add community relations to your marketing strategy but also to get better at leveraging those opportunities to grow your business. But first, let's go throughrepparttar 148250 pros and cons.

Pros: * Builds credibility for you and your business. * Builds personal relationships with customers. * Works well with advertising similar to public relations, community relations is a "soft" sell approach that can make your customers more receptive to your advertising. * Can be a stepping stone for PR. * Creates goodwill (and good karma).

Cons: * Time community relations can consume a ton of it. All that volunteering can suck up a lot of working and/or leisure hours. * Long wait to realize results like public relations, you implement a community relations plan forrepparttar 148251 long haul. And I do meanrepparttar 148252 long haul (even longer than PR). * Difficult to track I'm talking mainly aboutrepparttar 148253 non-business networking activities here. You may never be able to trace sales to community relations. Actually, chances are you probably won't. You need to trust it's working on some cosmic level and let it go. * No payoff at all this can happen if you find yourself donating time and/or money to charities that are wonderful causes but offer little advertising and/or promotional opportunities. Now, that doesn't mean I'm advocating only supporting high-visibility causes. Onrepparttar 148254 contrary, there are many good reasons to have a community relations program in place. For one,repparttar 148255 good feeling you get knowing you're supporting a worthy cause (not to mention allrepparttar 148256 good karma you build).

The three other ways to be a successful coach:

Written by Steve Wright

Until I found out about this, I generally coached everyonerepparttar same. Only in about one out of four cases it seemed to work. Thats because there are three other ways of coaching that I simply did not know about.

Ken Blanchard's Situational leadership II is all aboutrepparttar 148235 leader (read coach) making a conscious decision on their behaviour to best encourage and support each specific staff member.

How logical does that sound? Its one of those statements that is so obvious, and yet I knew straight away its something I simply have never done.

Blanchard has identified four leadership styles to be associated with four levels of staff development. Ah! I hear you say "I treat different people differently, so I already do this. So there aren't three other ways." But there is a catch?repparttar 148236 staff development level is based onrepparttar 148237 specific task. Ask yourself, do you treatrepparttar 148238 same staff member differently when in relation to different tasks? This wasrepparttar 148239 key for me.

I am fine with treating people differently, butrepparttar 148240 same person depending onrepparttar 148241 task just does not feel right. I can recall inrepparttar 148242 past being sometimes surprised at how someone who has normally managed to quite independently complete tasks, stumble their way through far easier ones. I was not consideringrepparttar 148243 person andrepparttar 148244 task combined.

Development Levels Blanchard has defined four levels.

When we start, we know little and are probably not very good at our new job. As an enthusiastic beginner, we are however always keen, showing high commitment as a response to being givenrepparttar 148245 opportunity of a new position or level of responsibility.

After some time, commitment wanes as eitherrepparttar 148246 job is different to expected or maybe harder and progress is slower. This isrepparttar 148247 second level described asrepparttar 148248 disillusioned learner.

As time and experience continue, competence builds, but oftenrepparttar 148249 commitment lags behind. Still carryingrepparttar 148250 disillusionment,repparttar 148251 staff member is not so sure about their ability.

Finally,repparttar 148252 staff member begins to believe in their own abilities and commitment returns to supportrepparttar 148253 high capability and they are then defined as aself-reliant achiever. FOR THAT TASK.

I have to keep reminding myself to assessrepparttar 148254 individual onrepparttar 148255 basis ofrepparttar 148256 work being done. The rules are based on Competence and Commitment. A good action now is to think of a task or goal recently delegated to a staff member. For that task, are they highly competent? - Can they do it easily? Onrepparttar 148257 other side, are they committed? Do they believe they can do it?

Now we know their development level forrepparttar 148258 task or goal, how do we behave?

Leadership Styles Blanchard uses two scales: Directive and Supportive.

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