We are moving from a profit-based to value-based economy. In the world where prices are more or less similar, and you can always find something cheaper, company values become a strong determiner of its success.
But, what does that mean in terms of business?
In a global village, the “why” of your business will echo through multiple layers. It will provide the direction for business operations and inform the employees about the company culture. It might cause customers to lean towards your product as opposed to competitors’, because they don’t have a clear mission (or their vision isn’t compatible to that of customers’). It will build a value-based community.
How do you align your investments to values, especially if you are a small or medium-sized business? By choosing wisely and thinking long-term, or achieving multiple goals through one consistent action and most importantly. being cost-effective.
The Untapped Potential of Scholarships
For the longest time, scholarships were seen as charity, a noble cause, or a tax deduction tool. Although an odd corporation might have used them to secure a prospective student (think valedictorian class) as an employee, small and medium-sized businesses rarely hosted scholarships for any other purpose.
At their core, scholarships are about helping students. Too often, though, it’s a one-way street from businesses to students. Or is it?
We believe that scholarships are an untapped resource that can transform the business models for small and medium-sized businesses. They alone hold the power to help hardworking students along the way and potentially revamp marketing and HR departments of businesses. How, you might ask?
By hosting a scholarship, you immediately and irrevocably show that, as a business, you have pledged yourself to furthering education. Even though you don’t have the budget of giant corporations (if you do, more power to you), you have decided to uphold your values.
Remember the importance of values in our changing economy? They have become a crucial factor in doing business.
You have decided to give something back to your community. And it’s precisely the community that will be the backbone of your business operations.
Spreading the Word
Sales experts say that we are never selling a product, but an idea. Well, what if you were able to get your scholarship, and brand, in front of millions of students?
You would be viewed as a business that cares. People talk. Word-of-mouth is still the best marketing tool. Sure, any publicity is good publicity, but good publicity is superior publicity. Is there a better marketing strategy than giving back and upholding your values?
Moreover, people like to know about their scholarship provider, because in case they get the scholarship, they want to tell other people about it. Therefore, it is quite feasible they will learn about your product/service anyway and mention it to other people.
How much money would you otherwise have to spend on ads and carefully crafting PR campaigns to achieve this kind of exposure and good publicity? A lot more, we believe, and, even then, it would still be just about your product, not values.
Securing Loyal Employees
The community-building powers of scholarships don’t end there, though.
Aside from the marketing effect, scholarships can be a great leads magnet tool. Are you thinking about hiring new employees in the foreseeable future? Think about scholarships.
If you specify the criteria well enough, you will have thousands of applicants who will soon become professionals in their field i.e. your field. Giving a scholarship to one of them, or several, is the starting point of a trusting relationship between you as a business and them as a potential intern or an employee.
This means that, should you offer them a position in the future, they would know you as someone who helped them along the way. Someone who saw the potential and acted on it.
In terms of costs, it is a miniscule investment compared to the HR expenditure. Even if you do find an employee through HR channels, it is highly unlikely they will have the same relationship to your business as the student you helped.
Granted, scholarships are not the way to go if you are looking for seasoned professionals, but they are a way to nurture future employees and develop a trusting, high-quality relationship before they even set foot in your company.
To Build Business, Build Communities
Re-thinking scholarships can help both students and businesses in a number of ways which were previously unexplored.
Scholarships organically build communities of devoted employees and customers, based on humane values.
Scholarship.app has set on a mission to connect businesses to students by making the process extremely easy and affordable. Your scholarship will be visible to millions of students who can benefit from financial help. In turn, your business will reap enormous benefits as well.If you are thinking about hosting your first scholarship with this broadened perspective, check out our website. Let’s start building!