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4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Share Their Success

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We’re stronger together than we are apart. Does that phrase sound trite? Maybe so, but it’s a fact. It’s also one of the main reasons entrepreneurs should engage in philanthropic work. Certainly, founders have a lot on their plates. Nonetheless, their willingness to give back has the potential to make every community stronger.

This isn’t something I merely preach — I live it. If you could look at my DNA under a philosophical microscope, you’d see how much philanthropy is part of my being. I’ve seen the power that comes from committing outrageous acts of charity entrepreneurship. And when you begin to support others through radical social and community entrepreneurship, you’ll see those advantages, too.

The Benefits of Giving Back to Your Community Through Entrepreneurial Pursuits

Here’s the long and short of the matter: The nonprofits and charities in your area need your help.

You have a head for the corporate world. Local nonprofits and charities likely don’t — or at least aren’t involved in the nitty-gritty details of running a business. They often struggle to reinvent wheels that you’ve already mastered or have at least improved upon. For instance, many volunteer organizations are headed up by people with huge hearts who don’t have a background in basic business. They can learn, but they often need assistance. That’s where you can come in.

By partnering with a nonprofit and sharing your skills and knowledge, you can make the nonprofit, well, profit. And you won’t just give, either. After all, the importance of philanthropy is its reciprocal nature. You’ll share yourself and your success as a startup entrepreneur, but you’ll also learn from the nonprofit’s “Aha!” moments. Together, you can talk about the lessons you’ve learned and wind up applying those lessons to both the nonprofit and your business.

Now, you might still be skeptical about how business principles actually apply to the world of philanthropy. My 60-plus years on the planet allow me to assure you they do. Business principles, nonprofit dealings, and even personal issues are all universal. And though you might not share my Christian faith, I find this Ecclesiastes verse applies to us all: “There is nothing new under the sun.”

How Entrepreneurs Can Give Back

If you’re eager to build relationships with the nonprofits you admire, you’re headed on a path that’s likely going to be good for everyone involved. However, you’ll want to keep a few hints in mind to maximize your philanthropic dealings for all parties involved:

1. Pick a nonprofit that dovetails with your passion

Everyone has a purpose and talents. Those are your passions, and they keep you going. As a budding entrepreneur, you’re already pretty comfortable with certain tasks, like rainmaking or social media marketing. Your job is to figure out what types of nonprofits allow you to make the most of those abilities and passions.

Why does this matter? Let’s face it: You can’t give your all if you aren’t personally invested in the nonprofit. You might care about an organization’s mission, but it needs to be something you can truly get behind (or that strikes your fancy) to ensure you don’t slack off at prioritizing board meetings, committee get-togethers, and fundraisers. You don’t want that. You want to get fired up and be able to say, “Oh, gosh, I have to do this!”

“Life’s most urgent question is what are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr.

2. Share all of your gifts without holding back

Sometimes, we hold onto our gifts a little too tightly as entrepreneurs. We perhaps worry that someone’s going to “steal” our golden ideas. Don’t allow that negative voice to keep you from being an outside-the-box thinker when you’re engaged in philanthropic work.

You don’t have to give away any proprietary information, of course. That wouldn’t be wise. On the other hand, contributing to brainstorming fully will allow you to apply your gifts in a real-world way. Not only will you see problems from different perspectives, but you’ll also be able to make more of an impact as a contributor to your cause of choice.

3. Turn on your personal GPS

Maybe you’re still stuck and wondering how to get your dreams of offering entrepreneurial charity off the ground. At that point, it’s time to turn on your internal GPS. Figure out what you want (i.e., your end destination) and how you can put it into action (i.e., your road map.) Nothing will happen if you sit back and wait for nonprofits in need to get in touch with you. There’s an off chance they might, but it’s more likely they won’t.

As an entrepreneur, you’re not new to taking action. Use your instinctive drive to find people you can help. And remember that you don’t necessarily have to work with an existing nonprofit. If you find someone else who can match your energy, you could make a plan to contribute in untapped, unmet ways together.

4. Make a personal promise that you’ll honor your philanthropy

The final tip to help you master the art of charitable giving is to put your all behind whatever you do. Pledge to yourself that you’re not going to look back if you embark on philanthropy. Rather, you’re going to make the difference you believe you should.

You might even be surprised: Once you commit to becoming a servant leader in your community, everything will start falling into place. You’ll be able to find the right areas in which you can maximize your capabilities and do the good that matters most.

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of giving back to the community, especially when you’re an entrepreneur. Even though your calendar might seem booked to the hilt, carve out some time for philanthropic pursuits. You’ll never look back — and you have my word on that.

The president and CEO of DeLine Holdings, Greg DeLine is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Greg has started and owned more than a dozen successful companies. He has a passion for relationships and helping others reach their full potential. In addition to leading various companies, Greg is the president of the board for Phoenix Programs, past president and current board member of Love INC, and a Leadership Circle level sponsor of the Heart of Missouri United Way. A lifelong Mizzou athletics fan, Greg is an Ambassador level member of the University of Missouri’s Jefferson Club.

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

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Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

Get more leads and referrals

This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

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By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.

We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.

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