Lend A Hand

By: Janice Byer, CCVA, MVA

Small business owners are inundated with things to do. From making sure their clients are happy to ensuring there is enough capital to sustain the business, there is always something on the go. Some projects that need to be done, whether it’s a project for your client or a revenue generating task for your business, can be very satisfying, while others just seem to take up too much of your valuable time. All in all, there just never seems to be enough time left to do anything else in our lives.

But, as the old saying goes, all work and no play can stress out even the most organized business professional, whether they own and operate a small business, or they are in charge of a team of employees. The thought of getting involved or taking on another assignment can leave most people shaking their heads and saying ‘no way’.

There is one thing that everyone, no matter how busy, should consider to help relieve the stress and make him or her feel good inside.

Volunteering! Doing something out of the goodness of your heart has an overwhelming way of making you feel all ‘warm and fuzzy inside’. Now, I don’t mean that you should volunteer to give away your products or services to those that can pay for it, but consider helping out one of the many causes in your local neighbourhood or a charity that is near and dear to your heart.

These organizations survive on the kindness of others and would not be able to help those in need if it wasn’t for businesses and individuals that donate their time and effort.

As an example, I recently volunteered to help out a local organization with their website design. The Caledon Community Accessible Playground was started by a local mom who was concerned about the lack of safe playgrounds in the area that children with disabilities can play in. Her goal was to put together a team of volunteers from various areas of the community that would work together to develop this playground. About six months ago, I read an article in my local paper about her efforts and immediately knew that this was something that I wanted to get involved in.

Now, I don’t have or know of any disabled children personally, but I can just imagine the frustration of those that do when it comes to finding a place for their children to play that, not only can they access easily, but also that they are safe playing on.

When I called the coordinator, she seemed shocked that someone who is not directly connected to or knows someone with disabilities would want to help out. That made me feel wonderful… the first of many times during this ongoing project.

A few days later I received a call from another volunteer who simply wanted to thank me for getting involved and offering my services. I told her that I could help out in many ways, both with administrative tasks and website tasks. Well, it just so happens that the current Webmaster was overloaded with the site (along with other aspects of his life) and they were having problems finding someone to help him. I guess I was in the right place at the right time.

The project is ongoing until all the funding can be established and the playground built. We meet once a month (more, if there is an upcoming event that we want to display the project at) for a couple of hours. Then we go back to our respective lives and work on our portion of the project, when we get some time.

All tolled, I put in about 5 hours a month on this project … time definitely well spent … and not so much time that it takes away from my business and my family life. Not only am I helping out a worthy cause, but it also gives me time to practice and enhance my skills.

Keep an eye on your local paper for articles and news stories about people in your neighbourhood who are in need and then lend a hand. If I (a busy small business owner, mother and wife) can do it, so can you.

Business and Finance
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