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Lillian Brummet - Brummet Media




Entrepreneurs are constantly looking for ways to stand out, solidify their networks, nurture their relationships and grow their clientele without breaking the bank. Increasing the difficulty, entrepreneurs have to balance overworked staff with the additional stress of competing with all the other entities that are trying to gain the attention of the same audience. We have found that there are many ways for businesses to reach new audiences locally, regionally or globally while making a positive difference. We don't have to have a large budget, advertise, allocate a huge amount of time or become extroverts bursting with energy. I'm going to share with you just a few of the ways we have gone about this, and perhaps it will inspire you.

Over the 35 years that he has been a professional musician Dave's various bands have participated in a wide array of benefits, fundraisers and charitable events. Drum It Forward is a project that came out of Dave's Angle Hill Studio and this allows him to help underprivileged students and school or nonprofit music programs gain access to playable instruments. He gathers, cleans and repairs bits and pieces of percussive instruments, music stands, racks... every bolt, every washer every donated old drum head. Using these Dave has dug pieces out of music room closets and school band storage rooms and built entire drum sets, conga stands, timbale sets, bongos, marimbas and more for the students to have access to.

Bloggers, podcast or radio show hosts and book reviewers are in a unique position to make a difference in the realm of literacy. I'll give you just 2 examples of how this can work: At one time, I ran a talk radio show for 15 years and I did a 6-year stint as a professional book reviewer - through these activities I was able to donate over 1,500 new books to several non-profit literacy groups, libraries and literacy events. As a blogger, we are able to feature the Recommended Resource post that highlights 3 nonprofit organizations at a time.

Supporting charities has brought more media attention and networking opportunities, fodder for announcements and a great deal more word-of-mouth action than any advertising or book tour campaign we have done. They are always grateful and passionately share the event on their social networks, e-newsletters, websites and mailing lists.

Silent auction events in particular have been great opportunities to donate books (with a bookmark inserted, of course), or gift certificates, drums or CD's - helping them raise funds while we gained exposure to their unique circle of supporters.

Fall Fair events are perfect for donating cookbooks for the organizers to give away as prizes. The local Food Action Coalition group used our cookbook to help new immigrants (and others) new to cooking learn how to utilize local harvests, which is the focus of From One Small Garden - Over 300 Delicious Nutritious Recipes. Last year, the Creston Farmer's Market info booth used our cookbook as a fundraiser all season long.

I wanted to show some support for the amazing work the staff at Trinity Treasures (a thrift shop raising funds for community organizations) do and offered them 3 copies of our cookbook to give away to brighten someone's day. The organizers responded by hosting a month long draw and included several other prizes and some gift certificates to the thrift shop. I was, of course thrilled when their active social networking announcements popped up and between us we drove a lot of traffic to the event.

Products or gift certificates can be donated as door prizes to fundraising events, special conferences and other local community activities. Most of these events required a blurb, poster or write-up for the donated items - garnering us more publicity. At the same time we gained exposure through their social networking, in house publications or announcements and massive word-of-mouth from the participants.

Entrepreneurs can also look deeper into their business to see what truly resonates with their policies; like-minded suppliers, services providers and businesses they network with, where they shop and causes or events that they get involved in. Each of these should represent their core values. (Here's a little video explaining this a little bit more: Even the smallest in-house policy can be made into something that can draw people into your store. If you have end-of-life collection for light bulbs, batteries, ink cartridges - for instance - then perhaps this could be opened up to the public allowing them to drop off contributions to these collection programs. As long as you have a policy in place for how those people are greeted upon arrival, you have a golden opportunity in place. Each day offers an opportunity to interact in a positive, effective way - increasing networks while creating potential business benefits for the future. Here's a little video where we speak about creating an environment where the staff choose to brighten someone's day, every day.

Some entrepreneurs may feel that sharing proactive business activities may appear as bragging however it is important to share these activities. What better way to show sponsors, mentors, contacts and clients that our business cares and works hard to make a difference? Your actions also inspire other businesses - creating a ripple effect that will change the community for the better. People are more willing to work with, collaborate with you, or shop at your business because they want to support businesses that are making a difference in the world. Professionals will gladly recommend your work, which will improve networking and marketing efforts. We discuss this in this YouTube video here:

It is sometimes surprising how far word will spread, and how quickly. Recently, clients who reside 250 Km from our location heard of our services, services they could not find elsewhere, and they went to the effort of delivering their drums to Dave's workshop for repair... 250 KM from their home, and driving all the way back to pick up the repaired drums when they were done.

We feel so honored by the response we have gotten and we are very grateful for all of the amazing connections we have gained - just for being a socially conscious business.

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