social responsibility
©2015 Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success

You’ve likely heard about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but have you ever heard of Small Business Social Responsibility (#SBSR)? Probably not because the term didn’t exist until recently.

Just so we’re on the same page, let’s look at a definition for CSR:

Corporate Social Responsibility: “A commitment to improve community well-being through discretionary business practices and contributions of corporate resources.” (Philip Kotler and Nancy Lee, Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the Most Good for Your Company and Your Cause, 2005)

So, how does SBSR differ? It doesn’t. Just substitute “small business resources” for “corporate resources” and you get the picture.

There are overwhelming data that demonstrate how customer affinity rises for socially responsible companies. According to the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study:

  • A majority (91%) expect companies to do more than make a profit.
  • 84% say whenever possible they try to purchase products or services that are socially or environmentally responsible.
  • 90% would like to see more responsible products and services offered from companies.
  • 88% expect companies to report on the progress of their CSR efforts, and nearly as many (86%) say if a company makes CSR commitments, it should be accountable for producing and communicating results.

Small businesses have been involved in social responsibility long before the term “corporate social responsibility” was coined. They didn’t necessarily broadcast their practices and did them for altruistic reasons, not realizing there were business advantages, too.

Practicing SBSR has many benefits for your small business’ brand. It can:

  • attract, retain, and motivate employees while engaging them in SBSR activities
  • enhance the company’s brand reputation as a good “corporate” citizen
  • promote customer and brand loyalty
  • increase customers and sales
  • save money (recycling, turning off power, retaining employees)
  • expand the company’s visibility in the community
  • provide good stories and content to share with target audiences
  • build up competitive advantage
  • foster greater public trust

Here’s the infographic I created for SBSR:

©2015 Elaine Fogel

So whether your company is a sole proprietorship or has employees, it has much to gain from SBSR by engaging in responsible business practices and getting involved in its local, regional, or national community. Not only is it beneficial for your business survival and brand, it’s also good for your soul.

This post is excerpted from Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success by Elaine Fogel

Read more: Why Corporate Social Responsibility is Important Today