As financial tightrope artists, with occasional cameo performances on the high trapeze, small businesses and one-man/one-woman bands can ill afford to be generous.
Or can they?
I budget for giving, for two reasons.
I’m alive and well, independent, happy and fortunate; wobbling on occasions, but equally taking full advantage of the freedom to decide my pace and path while taking responsibility and reward from the rough and the smooth.
Because we are Catalunya-based producers and suppliers (in this case fresh extra virgin olive oil) it is within our gift to give (without much effort or knee-buckling expense) something of significant value.
This month I and my family have agreed to supply a little Mother’s Garden olive oil to help a Prince’s Trust young people business initiative in Newham in London, and also to a Los Angeles arts charity for underprivileged children, City Hearts. Check them out. There is an LA event this weekend for anyone in the neighbourhood, and I will post some dates for the London events as soon as I know.
Countless small businesses know the personal and community value of doing what they can for others and I firmly believe the work of budgeting what you can, however little, is priceless. Our efforts, I stress, are very small, but good things always stem from them.
How interesting it would be if there was a postcode/neighbourhood driven “Can You Help?” website to marry need with solution, whether a small business or an individual can offer support, bringing people together, fostering community that covers all aspects of life, economic and social.
Then there are the times when one sees the value of giving significant discounts to new customers to establish the link and to build for the future. As no doubt a great many of you have found, this works, growing the business with an eye on the mid and long term plan.
The advantage in both cases is personal. If you budget the cost and the time as carefully as you can you play to your strength, that of being small – being a person not a corporation, and so engender the vital rewards of respect and trust.
And in the case of helping others when and where we are able, this reminds me of the Catalan and Latin meaning of the word profit, which can have as much to do with well-being as bottom line. Keep smiling. Keep well.