As the founder or owner of a business, you have a social responsibility to give back to your community. Not only is reciprocity a solid foundation for building leadership skills, but giving back to society also provides a level of personal satisfaction that drives you to be better. It fosters determination, elevates your mood, and combats worries.
You will naturally receive a great deal of positive feedback when your community knows that you care about more than money — that you care about helping others and deepening your own understanding of life and what’s important.
My father and I have both had great success in business, and that success can largely be attributed to the relationships we built within our communities.
My father, Rongxiang Xu, gave back to his hometown in Shandong, China, by making donations to help build schools. Shandong was one of the poorest cities in China during my father’s childhood, and he wanted to provide the villagers with the gift of knowledge so they could have a better life than he did growing up.
When I was placed on the United Nations’ Empact100 list for young entrepreneurs making a positive impact, I was inspired to establish the Brighten Award for Entrepreneurial Gerontology at the University of Southern California Davis School of Gerontology to help inspire college students to develop entrepreneurial ideas that benefit the elderly.
My father and I both gave back to areas that were close to our hearts, and we felt privileged to be able to do so. I encourage you to view corporate social responsibility as an opportunity. It’s a chance to do something great and benefit in return.
Identify Social Responsibility Opportunities
You can identify opportunities to commit to corporate social responsibility in a number of ways. First, draw from your own interests or different issues that have tugged at your heartstrings, such as an interest in fighting a certain disease or an infrastructure improvement.
Also, be careful not to discard the feelings you have after you learn about some eye-opening news. Perhaps something on social media grabs your attention and makes you feel so strongly that you want to get involved.
Finally, lay out a blueprint for your future that allows you to encounter a field you haven’t been involved in before. Consider looking into other nongovernmental organizations or exemplary companies so you get a chance to see how they’ve been running things. Then, learn from their experiences, and plan ahead for your own company.
Harness the Benefits of Social Responsibility
You need to have a clear CSR goal in mind and stick with it. It helps to think of social entrepreneurship like cultivating a tree. It requires your complete attention, not just water and nourishment. You need to observe how it grows and recognize there are some things you just can’t control.
It’s important to have a solid social reputation as an individual when your company is working to demonstrate CSR. You need to establish credibility and loyalty. A connection between you and the CSR you’re trying to achieve for your company will ensure you stay focused on your goals, and it can help others understand what you’re trying to accomplish.
CSR can also help propel your business. For example, if you participate in volunteer work, you may save a great deal of time and money trying to create connections down the road.
If My Company Can Do It, So Can Yours
Every year in China, we hold hundreds of educational sessions to train rural doctors and exchange ideas on how to better implement a patient-first philosophy. The doctors are trained for free, and we ensure the quality of the training. Our responsibility is to make sure impoverished people or those living in rural areas of China receive proper treatment.
My company, in turn, benefits by receiving a great deal of support from the Ministry of Health and other academic associations. They help us arrange larger, more frequent sessions, which leads to more support. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
We also spend time editing and updating monthly life science publications. This helps others by giving everyone access to information on new technology in our field. This can lead to more innovation in this space that will hopefully solve global medical problems.
Giving back to the community is an important way to plant the seeds for the future and watch them blossom. So identify your opportunity to get involved and give back. In turn, you’ll receive surprising benefits and be inspired to grow your company.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Kevin Xu is the CEO of MEBO International, a California and Beijing-based intellectual property management company specializing in applied health systems. He also leads Skingenix, which specializes in skin organ regeneration and the research and development of botanical drug products. Connect with @_kevinxu on Twitter.
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