Detail Management - September 2009

Community — Get Involved
to Build Your Business
By Sharie Sipowicz

You are operating a detail business, and part of “operating your business” means you have to reach beyond the detailing to promote yourself and to make the contacts your business needs.

People cannot get to know you through an ad or a direct mail piece. The only way to get yourself known is through your actual business dealings. But how can you inform prospective customers before they come to your business?

One of the best ways is by getting involved in the community. You do this by joining civic groups (Chamber of Commerce, Lion’s Club, and Kiwanis) and by doing charity work. These groups allow you to make many beneficial contacts. The better known you are, the better you are able to demonstrate your capabilities.

Through your participation in these groups you show the capacity to:

  • Help raise funds
  • Participate in promotional or educational activities
  • Render special services that might be needed by the group

PEOPLE AND CONTACTS

Your goal should be to meet certain types of people, people who can use your detail services. Some groups will be better than others in this regard. But, you don’t know what kind of people you will meet until you join and see for yourself. However, with most civic groups and charities, you meet the movers and shakers and most prominent business people in your community. Why? Because these groups can’t make it without the help of such prominent leaders who:

  • Donate money or equipment
  • Host special events on their premises (charity car washes)
  • Actively participate in various fund raising, promotional, or educational activities

THE PERSONAL DIMENSION

There is also a personal dimension to civic and charity work. Entrepreneurs like you are doers, and doers like to get things done. Achievement is not just a good feeling, but also a necessity. Feeling useful and successful at any level is the psychological elixir that gives such people the sense of peace and satisfaction that helps them through life’s challenges.

We all need to use our special abilities to feel healthy and happy. Failure to do so will cause frustration and unhappiness. That is why entrepreneurs should choose a business in which they can utilize their special talents.

It is unlikely that you will utilize all of your special abilities in your detail work, so it is important for you to find other constructive outlets for these abilities. Civic and charity work is that opportunity.

POINTERS

Pick a group you believe in.
You cannot work with a group whose goals do not motivate you.

Avoid controversy.
Controversial causes might offend other people. That is the last thing you want to do. Choose groups outside of political or controversial areas.

Don’t over-commit yourself.
Civic and charity participation can be like stepping into a black hole. The group administrators are always happy to let you do as much as possible, and they will call on you to do even more. Start out slowly, determine what you can handle, but always, always keep your commitments. You must prove yourself to be a dependable person who honors commitments and performs competently.

Don’t expect miracles.
There are no guarantees that you will make useful contacts or even get publicity. However, even if you don’t make any business contacts remember this:

  • You certainly won’t make useful contacts or generate publicity by not getting involved.
  • No matter what you gain, you are still making an important contribution to a good cause. Thus, a payoff is guaranteed.

RESOURCES

Many groups advertise or post notices in churches or other public places. You are also likely to hear or read about such groups through the local newspaper. The Yellow Pages and Internet are good places to look. Try these sources:

• Charity Navigator | www.charitynavigator.org
• Better Business Bureau | www.bbb.org
• The Charity Guide | www.charity-charities.org

Sharie Sipowicz is aftermarket sales manager with Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems Inc. She has been involved in the detail industry for over 20 years, both as a vendor of products and equipment and as a hands-on operator in a retail detail environment. You can contact Sharie at sharie@detailplus.com.

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