Photo: Dan Smedley / Unsplash
Social procurement allows you to squeeze more out of every dollar than it would ordinarily be worth. By spending money in your local community, shopping with small businesses rather than major suppliers, and hiring people who could use extra support, you can do good in the world with money you would have spent anywhere.
Let’s take a look at a few social procurement examples that reveal just how much this practice can benefit you and your business.
1. Socially responsible hiring
Depending on the nature of your business and the roles you have available, you may be able to hire people with disabilities, people who have recently been released from prison, and others who would benefit greatly from the opportunity.
People from these and other minority communities often find it harder to secure meaningful work. When given the opportunity, they are generally highly motivated, happy to be at work, and able to offer unique perspectives you otherwise would have missed out on. So, both you and your team could benefit greatly if you develop inclusive hiring practices.
2. Mutually beneficial relationships
Social procurement can be as simple as always getting your coffee from the café around the corner rather than stopping at Starbucks on your way to work. Strike up friendly conversations with the staff and owners, and in no time, you could foster a mutually beneficial business relationship.
If you’re the local mechanic, for example, you might direct your customers round to their coffee shop if they need to wait for you to complete a quick job. In exchange, they may be happy to recommend your service to their customers.
3. Unique selling points
If you source your products or materials from the same major suppliers your competitors use, it’s harder to carve out a unique niche for yourself. However, if you support local artists or craftspeople, those unique selling points (USPs) write themselves.
For example, a jewelry store that sources its crystals and precious gems from local fossickers who use sustainable practices will have a thoroughly unique appeal compared to competitors. Crystals have been described as the new blood diamonds, so this USP could be increasingly valuable going forward.
4. Making genuine change
Speaking of USPs, many modern brands have caught onto the fact that millennials and Gen Z kids are voting with their dollars – supporting companies that are socially and environmentally responsible. Sadly, this has led to the rise of greenwashing, aka faking eco-friendliness to boost profits.
When you have a legitimate social procurement policy in place, you can sidestep this sad practice and make a genuine difference in the world. Not only will this attract savvy young customers but you’ll also attract top talent as the brightest thinkers of the younger generations are committed to creating a better, more sustainable future.
5. Powerfully positive branding
When you’re out there creating positive change with every dollar you spend in your business, your brand will begin to grow a personality of its own, and your approach to marketing will flow naturally. While the above-mentioned greenwashers have to employ specialized tactics to influence potential customers, all you’ll have to do is share the truth of what your business is doing in the community. Be the kind of business that you would want to support, let people know about what you’re doing, and you’ve got a recipe for some powerfully positive branding.
These are just a few of the ways in which social procurement can have a profoundly positive impact on your business and the community within which it is based. Create your own social procurement policy to discover even more powerful benefits.