Now that we think of it, there isn’t plenty that separates us, humans, from the inferior or baser beasts. What’s more, we reckon you could count the basic differences on just one hand. For one, there’s the thing about the opposable thumbs, the other is the sense of community and society, and the third being superior intelligence.
Returning to the sense of community and the fact that humans are a social species, it stands to reason that organisations, whether a start-up, a large company or a multinational, cannot ignore the community and the environment they exist and thrive in. To this end, some form of community interaction and community work is nigh on essential. Not overly convinced about this, or need more than a nudge in this direction? Why, your luck’s just come in! Let’s see if some of the reasons below cannot convince you.
Being in business is tough, especially at the start. Besides, this aspect is even more evident at startups, where it’s like approaching ‘exam season’ all year round. Sometimes though, it feels like the people at startups live in their own world, without keeping a tab on the world outside. Now, while this feverish introspective, self-involved intensity is necessary and even a prerequisite in some cases, it does make sense for the people at the startup, to on occasion, take their blinkers off, so to speak, to slow down and sneak a peek at the world at large. And as taking the blinkers off and changing gears go, they hardly come much better than a bit of the good ol’ community service. This exercise will help widen their horizons, besides also giving them a new viewpoint which can be instructive and edifying in the long run. This knowledge, wisdom and understanding can then be ploughed back into the business.
Who are they again?
Having just discussed the importance of community service, and the unhindered ‘exposure’ to the real world it provides, we must highlight another advantage which this exercise could bestow upon startups in particular. Put simply, it is the ability to directly tap into the customer or your target audience! Let’s explain ourselves – as a startup, typically, you should choose some community work or service which has a connection to the type of organisation you run, or the kind of ideals you uphold. For instance, a startup dealing with kids, can do some work with schools and kids, and this will provide them with a treasure trove of knowledge which they can apply to their advantage. Interacting and learning from your customer has never been this easy! Now, you can re-connect, and re-engage for mutual benefit! This exercise will remarkably help you mine insights, and grow!
Perception is everything
There’s a primary reason why companies undertake community service, and it has much (or is it all?) to do with the way the world perceives them. Hardly anyone (By this we mean, government bodies, municipal councils, other companies, NGOs, the man on the street and so forth) looks down on a do-gooder, so why shouldn’t you be in on the action? And hey, let’s face it, if your heart’s in the right place and you really are participating in this to make a difference, go about it loud and proud, why don’t you? Now, when the opportunity to give something back to the community arises, do it, and do it gladly! You may even get some good press for it, and it’s something to crow about on your social networks as well. Oh, forgive is if we failed to mention that potential employees are more likely to fairly look upon employers who actively involve themselves in community work, so there’s that too.
Team, steam, esteem!
Let’s face it, some of us are fully invested (and fully paid up members) in a lifestyle that lives for and glorifies the weekend. Given this, don’t you think it’d be great for the whole start-up team to have a shared experience outside of the usual humdrum or the ‘pressure cooker styled lifestyle’? You can’t quite put a price on it, the sense of doing something which benefits the greater good bestows a sense of elation, bolsters a sense of self-worth, as well as camaraderie and team-spirit. All this, while blowing off some steam. We reckon that’s a two-for-one offer!