It’s harvest season in Hampton Roads. As you take weekend trips to the apple orchards and pumpkin patches to experience all autumn has to offer, keep in mind the bounty of fall’s harvest was grown in the seasons before. Remember the proverb? You reap what you sow.
It’s true in agriculture and it’s true in every business. What you get out is almost always proportional or greater than what you put in, and it’s your responsibility to set yourself up for the best outcome.
Every business has three core responsibilities. First and foremost, businesses are in the business of making money. It’s simple economics, a business that doesn’t turn a profit won’t be around for long. Secondly, in order to be successful in earning that profit, a business is responsible for ensuring it offers the best product and/or service in the market. Ultimately, that’s what generates satisfied customers which lead to repeat customers and business growth.
Finally, and this is sometimes the area that gets overlooked, businesses have a responsibility to their community and society as a whole.
The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce’s primary responsibility is to ensure the conditions in our region are optimal for creating and developing business growth and opportunities. We are devoted to being your business’s champion in local, state and federal government. We work hard every day to pave the way for Hampton Roads business leaders to achieve their goals.
The chamber strives to improve our local economy by working with other regional organizations to attract new business, by helping existing businesses to expand, by working with partners to improve the local workforce, promote amateur sports events and provide leadership training. We want you to make money. We want you to succeed. We also want you to be good corporate citizens.
Any voluntary action a business can take for the benefit of its workforce, local community or society in general will pay incredible dividends. Whether it’s a large donation of time or money to a charitable organization, or a commitment to increasing sustainability in business operations, every business can do something.
A number of our members carry out robust social responsibility efforts. From discount programs and community partnerships to donations, various chamber members support the Hampton Roads community as part of their charitable mission and they’ve seen their businesses benefit because of it. We’ve seen members participate in everything from rounding up for charities at the checkout line and holding food drives, to creating assistance programs and compensating employees for volunteering during the Day of Caring.
It’s our responsibility as your regional business partner to encourage you to find a way to get involved in your community. We want you to become philanthropists as well as business leaders. No company is too small to make an impact. Even a two-person enterprise can find a way to give back.
If you can’t donate money or product, donate your time. Spend a weekend volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, any of the local animal shelters or food kitchens. There are even more opportunities available through chamber member Volunteer Hampton Roads.
Corporate social responsibility is important to your business. With so much of our day-to-day work reliant on technology that can often feel impersonal, businesses with strong social missions see increased productivity from employees and an increase in consumer preferences. People want to work for businesses that influence their communities, and they want to buy from those businesses, too.
The benefits of establishing a social responsibility program for your business are endless. It’s been proven that when companies establish social missions they reap a competitive advantage. Partnering with charities increases your visibility, adds to your marketing efforts and situates your business as a model for others.
As we move into the bustling holiday season, make some time to strengthen your social platforms. You have a responsibility to your bottom line, and a responsibility to your customers, but you also have a responsibility to your community and society in general.