Broadcast Date: March 14, 2023
Marketing expert and author Scott Galloway contends that the pandemic didn’t create any trends; rather, it accelerated trends already well underway. E-commerce sales—which had been steadily growing over the last decade—exploded overnight. Companies like The Mitten Brewing Company had to strengthen their digital platforms, integrating things like online ordering faster than we usually would have. We had to pivot to new ways to deliver our goods, disseminate information and changes in real time, and make do with less.
Despite all these seemingly drastic changes, Galloway is right: The core reason that people patronize and work at small businesses didn’t change. And that is—it makes them feel good. Americans see their best selves in these companies. It is their conduit to supporting local vendors. To seek meaningful employment. To strengthen their neighborhoods. I firmly believe that small businesses are America’s greatest institution, and it’s the job of the small business owner to connect the values they stand for to those who patronize their companies.
Only now, it’s never been more difficult to make that value proposition. Amazon (etc.) has made it harder and harder to lure people out of their homes (where more than ever now work), and inflation has made it cost prohibitive. We now confront a world where small businesses are decidedly more expensive and less convenient than bigger ones.
And in my opinion, the best way to overcome objections and create the lifestyle value that customers expect from small companies is through charitable giving.
When companies do this right, it’s a powerful thing. Thousands of Michigan restaurants—more than one in six—didn’t survive the pandemic. But we did. Not only that, but we thrived. We raised and donated more than $60,000 to area nonprofits. More than 60% percent of our guests said that the reason they went out of their way to support us during the tough times was because of our community work. It was a reservoir of goodwill that we were able to dip into when we found ourselves being the ones in need. It’s a marketing and survival strategy that I believe is without equal.
This session will introduce the idea that philanthropy is not just for the rich; that small businesses can use philanthropy to improve their neighborhoods AND grow their companies.
At the end of this session, attendees will be aware of the three obstacles that prevent small businesses from unlocking the extraordinary power of philanthropy, and how to overcome them.
Attendees will be able to leave the session with concrete examples of philanthropy strategies that work.
About the Presenter
The Mitten Brewing Company
Christopher R. Andrus is the co-owner of The Mitten Brewing Company and founder of 501(c)(3) Mitten Foundation, Inc. Besides growing the company from a small startup to a $4MM+ company with four locations and more than 100 employees, Chris and his business partner Max Trierweiler have presided over more than $400,000 in charitable gifts since 2012.
Chris is a keynote speaker who has instructed on entrepreneurship and philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and Alma College. He is also the author of “Dough Nation: How Pizza (And Small Businesses) Can Change The World.”
Chris has appeared on Food Network, and The Mitten Brewing Company has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, MSN, U.S. News and World Report, and many others.