Why You Should Give Back to Your Community
By Dean Fisher, Chief Operating Officer, CARSTAR
Being a part of the busy and ever advancing collision repair industry can be overwhelming. Focus for most repair center owners remains on employee engagement, reaching new customers, staying competitive in the market and driving profitability. Many repair center owners do not realize, however, that getting involved in community charitable initiatives can positively contribute to these business goals.
Building camaraderie between employees and management is what creates a positive corporate culture. With management driving charitable initiatives, employees can see their bosses in a different light. Working together for a worthy cause puts everyone on an even playing field and opens up discussions to unique ideas.
It is also important to provide an opportunity for new leaders to emerge by letting an employee lead fundraising or organize a charitable event. The whole team is likely to buy in when one of their own colleagues is leading the charge, while also giving a break to the daily grind of repair center operations.
Reaching New Customers
Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful tool for small businesses. Hosting charitable events is a way to reach a wide variety of people in your community and a way to leave a lasting positive impression. With so many people relying on the trust of others for recommendations, having a positive image in the public eye can only benefit your business.
Additionally, hosting an event at your location is an opportunity to bring people into your store, tour the facility and get to know the staff. CARSTAR, for example, hosts Soaps It Up car washes across North America to fundraise for cystic fibrosis research, care and advocacy. An event like this brings the community together onsite and provides the opportunity for owners to introduce themselves to members of their community.
With the rate of consolidation increasing, repair center owners need to find unique ways to stand out against their heavily backed competitors. Being a part of the community—whether it is seeing customers at the grocery store or cheering on a favorite little league team—is a great first step to engage potential customers. Actively leading local charitable initiatives is what sets you even further apart from your competitors.
From my experience in being a collision repair store owner, people are more likely to do business with people they know. It is easier when you are engaged in the community to stand out against a repairer who just drives in, does their work and leaves.
Regardless of how you would like to give, there is the tangible benefit of your charitable contributions in tax deductions. Choosing the right charity is key because not all charities qualify for tax credits. Additionally, with employees engaged and your business now reaching new customers, you have created an edge over your competitors and you will likely see a positive impact on your bottom line.
As a business owner for almost 40 years, I was able to see my community engagement and charitable leadership directly affect my success. The more involved I got, the better our whole business performed.
CARSTAR assigns a charitable fundraising goal each year, similar to what we do with other key performance indicators. Understanding the value of philanthropy, CARSTAR encourages our network of over 600 locally owned and operated repair center owners to get involved with their community and to support our charitable cause: fighting cystic fibrosis. CARSTAR also provides resources, contacts, guidelines and dedicated support to help make fundraising efforts a success. With over $3.7 million raised to help cystic fibrosis research, care and advocacy, CARSTAR locations across North America are engaged in this cause, supporting their communities with automotive repair and more.
Engaging with your community to support a collective cause is both good for business and makes your community a better place to work and live.
If you are looking to join a premier network who values community engagement, reach out to CARSTAR at 844-906-9764 or visit CARSTARFranchise.com.