Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

Small Businesses Discover Value in Paying it Forward

Published on Dec 30, 2010


Read 'Small Businesses Discover Value in Paying it Forward' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Just because the holiday season (a.k.a. the season of giving) has passed, doesn't mean you have to give up on giving.donations In fact, goodwill is timeless. And for small business owners, supporting charitable causes goes a long way. The Los Angeles Times recently released a story on how many businesses are pursuing a charitable tie-in "that makes sense for their business and helps their bottom line." For instance, the article references restaurant owner, Jim Roman, "who said he has given away hundreds of meals of barbecued ribs and chicken to support neighborhood charities and school clubs in the 18 months his small eatery has been open, even though he is barely breaking even." So why does he do it? Jim responds, "But you know what, it's always harder to give when you can't afford to, but it's the right thing to do and it's opened a lot of doors for us." That's right. Giving can be a part of creative marketing. I personally appreciate what a regional fast food restaurant down South did to support community while promoting their business. They joined forces with a local Christian radio station to launch their goodwill campaign. The local Christian radio station then posted a "note" on their website in a PDF format. Participants would then print it out and hand it to the drive-thru teller at the fast-food place. The certificate tells the cashier that you, as a participant, are paying for the car behind you. The cashier then hands that piece of paper to the car behind you which explains why he or she receives a free meal and about the radio station. It encourages him or her to call the radio station and record a response to what happened. And here's why it's a win-win situation:
  • The restaurant is advertised on a local radio station with an attentive audience
  • The restaurant gives away nothing
  • You, as a participant, could promote your small business as the buyer of a customer's meal - small investment for free publicity
  • Patrons as well as non-regular customers will go there in the hopes that they will be the lucky receivers of a free meal
  • The radio station has its name, call letters and phone number handed to someone who just received free food
  • The note promotes engagement, inviting the customer to call the station to share the experience.
Try adopting one of these methods to work for your small business and share in the pay-it-forward phenomenon. P.S. Did you know Random Acts of Kindness Week is Feb. 14-20?