What’s the formula for business success? What are the key ingredients? These questions usually result in answers such as; hard work, outstanding customer service, superior product/service offering and positive thinking. Without a doubt, these factors are essential, but one of the most highly overlooked contributors to the overall success of a business is the community. In a sense, each of us borrows from the community we live in or do business in.
“No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction.” Charles Kendall Adams
Why not take a moment to repay the favor? Many years ago, I read the book Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde. This book, which was later adapted into a movie by the same name, illustrates how much impact a simple, good deed can have on the world. The story focuses on a young man who devises a system that can change the world for the better: “If someone did you a favor, something big, something you couldn’t do on your own; and instead of paying it back, you paid it forward to three people… and the next day, they paid it forward to three more, and the day after that those 27 people each paid it forward to another three, and each day after that everyone in turn paid it forward to three more people… in two weeks, that comes to 4,782,969.” Although the system might seem far beyond the realm of possibility, each of us can learn something from the basic philosophy. Most people who are involved in community services will tell you that the rewards are immeasurable. Not only will you feel good about what you are doing, the community will feel even better about you as an individual and as a professional. Pay it forward for what the community or a community member has done for you, and soon enough you will find yourself on the receiving end of the process. The community will pay it forward to you with kind words, referrals and an overall positive image of you and your business. Focus on the ‘public’ in public relations by paying it forward. These days, the variety of community service opportunities is enormous and can be matched to your interests, talents and time limitations. We are now entering one of the best seasons for paying it forward. With the holidays just around the corner, even the smallest act of kindness can make a difference in the lives of others. Listed below are ‘pay it forward’ ideas for individuals or groups.
- Organize a food drive at your office to be donated for holiday meals
- Gather your office staff together to make a holiday meal for a family in need or elderly citizens
- Surprise local families with Christmas trees
- Adopt a family for Christmas in your office, by playing Santa and gathering items from their Christmas lists
- Bake cookies and deliver them to other businesses and past clients/customers with a message from your office
- Organize a charity auction to benefit a local organization