Be Generous with Your Business

The New York Times recently reported that the key to happiness is giving to others. How can we apply this to our businesses? Here's five ways to give back:

From Flickr user ThisParticularGreg.
1) Help a less experienced colleague. People who do the same thing as you do are your partners, not just your competitors. Giving a little advice now and then is a way to make connections, give back, and great karma for later. Now is also a good time to look at how you're mentoring your own employees.

2) Give a customer a break. Have a difficult order with a return problem, shipping issue, or an "I'm just not happy" problem? Make that customer's dream come true. Give a full refund. Extend your return policy. Waive the shipping charges. Send a replacement for free. A little goodwill now will get you a customer for life.

3) Embrace your community. Do you reply to posts on Facebook? Do you retweet your customers' tweets? Do you help the recent college grads who follow your company on LinkedIn? Social networking is a two-way street. Don't just broadcast, contribute. You'll find that your Facebook wall becomes a vibrant community.

4) Get your company involved in local good works. How involved are you in the community where you live? It's easy to ignore our hometowns when we do all of our business online. Can you support your local Girl Scout troop? Kids' softball team? Food pantry? Get out there with your employees and find a way to help out in the community you call home.

5) Get your customers involved in good works. Ask them to donate to a good cause whenever they order, or just to support a favorite charity anyway. Donate a portion of their order to charity. Make it easy for them to share with their friends on social networks. 

How are you giving back? Please share in the comments.

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