Vail Daily column: It’s good business to give back
Vail Valley Partnership helped to celebrate our business community three weeks ago with our 11th annual Success Awards at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. The Success Awards help to recognize businesses that contribute to the economic vitality and quality of life in the valley, among other criteria.
The most impressive component among the 120 nominations and the single most compelling factor among all the finalists across 11 different categories — including businesses, nonprofit organizations, local governments and individuals — is the sense of community involvement.
Most small business owners/operators are looking for ways to add more hours to the day and are not looking for things to add to their increasingly busy schedules. Many also recognize the importance of getting their name out in the community and generating goodwill. These two things are not mutually exclusive.
Sarah Franke, communications manager for Group970 Restaurants (winner of the Business of the Year), joked that the award had come after many free drinks and meals provided by their restaurants during the years, but as noted by Group970 in its press release, the award is actually due to their long-time employees’ hard work and collaboration during the past year in conjunction with the Vail Valley community.
Community involvement generates visibility for your business, positive word of mouth for your business and overall goodwill for your business.
Even with these obvious benefits, community involvement is often absent in a business plan and, to some, doesn’t seem to directly connect with business growth. Fortunately, many business operators and business owners in this valley recognize that growth and success are directly connected to community involvement.
This correlation is evidenced by the businesses and individuals nominated by their peers for Success Awards. We’re a community that is filled with small businesses, many of whom provide essential services to our residents and visitors. And, unfortunately, many don’t make the connection between their success and community involvement. Being an active part of the community, regardless of size, is just good business.
Being involved in the community generates goodwill for your business. The publicity serves as a form of advertising that we all strive for: positive word of mouth. This positive word of mouth is increasingly important in today’s age and time of social media outlets for guests and locals alike can praise — or not — their experience with your business such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and others.
In a resort economy heavily dependent on seasonality and macro-economic trends that we often can’t control, from economics to weather to consumer confidence, it’s even more important for local businesses and individuals within our community to be actively involved.
Community goodwill, created through community engagement and being actively involved, pays dividends that no amount of glossy advertising can match. Your business — and your brand — become connected with the community by being involved and active and this drives customers to your door.
New to the Success Awards this year were Best Place to Work and the Health & Wellness Leadership Award. The organizations recognized in these categories — R.A. Nelson and Associates Inc. and Sonnenalp Hotel — also recognize the importance of community involvement and their employees. The businesses and organizations nominated in these categories understand that their employees’ view of a company’s corporate citizenship affects team member morale, spirit and pride and has benefits to the bottom line.
Community involvement is not about writing a check to your favorite nonprofit group (although that’s important to our nonprofit community), but rather it’s about engagement and participation. Doing well by doing good is a savvy business strategy, and we congratulate the local businesses, organizations and individuals who exhibit these traits and who collectively make our community a great place to live, work and play.
Chris Romer is the president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.