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What can small business learn from nonprofits?

Nonprofit Quarterly recently published an article about the relation between nonprofits and small business — notably, that small businesses can look to nonprofits for some sage advice. The majority of best practices, according to Nonprofit Quarterly, relate to responsiveness to stakeholders. Since a 2007 study ranked nonprofit leaders higher than their counterparts in business, it’s important to consider why. Here are 6 other key takeaways from the study:

Pay attention to timing – Be careful of the timing when you announce a new product or service, in order to properly anticipate the reaction to it.

Build credibility with stakeholders –Be attentive to stakeholders and their needs in order to improve credibility.

Show integrity – If your nonprofit organization or small business demonstrates trustworthiness and ethical standards, you are more likely to be respected by your customers or consumers, not to mention attract attention or possibly even new funders.

There is no such thing as free – Nonprofits tend to think of volunteers as “free” labor. While there isn’t a monetary cost, there are other costs associated with volunteers — quality volunteers are an investment. The same goes for for-profits, whose customers now expect a higher level of responsiveness.

Passion is important – If you are passionate about what your company does — whether it’s a cause, a product, a service — the quality will reflect that. It also trickles down to your staff and boosts morale.

Trust – Trust works both ways. Not only does your staff needs to trust the company’s leaders, but you need to trust them and be able to delegate with confidence.

For more from the study, check out the full article by Nonprofit Quarterly here.

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