Having gained a strong understanding of how the foundation engages with a business, I was ready to visit a significant number of small businesses in the borough and convince them of the importance of closing the gap between the rich and the poor. The main focus thus far had been towards larger, established businesses in the borough.
My networking skills proved key in convincing managers, supervisors and owners of these businesses that we weren’t just another charity in need of donations. In order to do this, I needed to demonstrate a level of confidence that they simply couldn’t ignore. One of the ways I used to describe the K&C Foundation was by calling ourselves an “umbrella charity” that helped a number of smaller, lesser known charities in the borough. During weeks 2 and 3, I experimented by using different ways to describe the Foundation and chose the ones that were well received. The areas I visited to approach small businesses include Sloane Street, King’s Road, Kensington Church Street and many more. On my daily visits to these areas, I discovered that large chain stores were unlikely to respond positively to our cause as they had head offices based out of the borough. As a result, I adjusted my strategy and approached businesses selectively so that time would not be spent unnecessarily. When visiting the small businesses, I carried a set of flyers, leaflets (of campaigns) and business cards in order for them to know more about us and contact the office directly if they wished to do so.
In addition to my outdoor visits, I needed to add the contact details and other relevant information to the office database at the end of each day. This would allow the team to easily contact the relevant person and keep them informed of our work via phone or email long after my time at the Foundation had ended. Doing so proved somewhat tricky as my colleagues were already occupied with work of their own. I then decided to create a business follow-up document that would be used to suggest next steps and the progress for each business. It meant more work due to the fact that at least twenty businesses were visited each day and had to be added to both the database and the business follow-up document. Another task that I undertook in the last two weeks was making twenty-something follow-up calls to larger businesses already contacted months ago but hadn’t responded yet. These were added to the business follow-up document too. However, at the end of each day, I felt really good about myself because I had done the very best I could do!