Corporate philanthropy is often attributed to big companies giving to charity. But startup entrepreneurs can give more than money. They can give their time and expertise. Nish Patel, the founder of ClutchPoints, has done just that. He has reaped the benefits of giving back, and it’s enabled him to build up a team of talented entrepreneurs and a positive brand image to leverage.
So why should other startup owners consider giving back?
1. Paving the Way for Future Success
Nish Patel started his journey when he was still at UCLA. He’s widely credited with driving forward the startup community there by co-founding Bruin Entrepreneurs. This was developed on UCLA’s campus to help establish the first undergraduate entrepreneurship community.
He would remain a regular figure in the startup community by then co-founding bVentures (formerly BruIncubator), which was the first in-school year incubator on campus to help UCLA students turn their ideas into a reality alongside their day-to-day classes and schoolwork. He also took ClutchPoints, a venture designed to revolutionize the way people watch and interact with their favorite sports teams from their mobile devices, into Startup UCLA, a prestigious and highly sought after incubator that takes place over a ten-week span in summer.
This established him as someone who’s both knowledgeable and ambitious. By helping to pave the way for those who come after him, he’s crafted an image of a knowledgeable entrepreneur who’s genuine in his attempts to help.
That’s a positive brand reputation that can spread to any future venture he develops and also something any entrepreneur can truly take advantage of.
2. Bring in the Best Talent
Startup founders can rarely do everything by themselves. Without a great team around them, they struggle to reach their true potential. Nish Patel started making connections and name in the industry as early as high school, where he started a t-shirt printing company called PrintsForYou, Inc.
Sometimes the only way to bring in the best talent is to start early. Provide a great service to your target market and you’ll naturally come into contact with people who hold the characteristics you want in your company. But first, you have to show what your true capabilities are.
3. Boosting Your Profile Can Make You Stand Out from the Crowd
At least 90% of startups fail within five years because they’re unable to stand out from the crowd. It’s often not a case of a lack of marketing dollars, it’s a lack of knowledge involving making those marketing dollars’ work for you. Sometimes you have to think outside the box if you’re going to stand out.
Patel worked to stand out through holding events and non-traditional programs. For example, he was a director at the LA Hacks event in April 2014, which was the 2nd biggest hackathon on the planet. The LA Hacks team was able to attract names like Evan Spiegel of Snapchat and Alexis Ohanian of Reddit.
There was also the non-traditional HackCamp Patel hosted, which was a boot camp for people who came in with zero coding knowledge but had the itch to learn. 50 non-technical students took part in the program of which numerous changed their career aspirations to eventually end up with technical jobs.
Things like this didn’t directly show him how to build a huge startup, but they helped to boost his image as someone who’s knowledgeable and who wants to help. These contributions can help an entrepreneur stand out from the crowd. And that’s partly what making a successful startup is all about.
4. Corporate Philanthropy Isn’t All About Cash
Patel has demonstrated that corporate philanthropy doesn’t have to involve throwing cash at a problem. His work at UCLA and flourishing success with Bruin Entrepreneurs, LA Hacks, and HackCamp shows that you can give back on a local, state, and national level. How you give back depends on what skills you happen to hold and what the general public wants to learn.
You don’t have to compromise your business to indulge in corporate philanthropy. This is exactly the wrong way to approach it because it could bring down your business. You should focus on using the spare time and resources you have on giving back.
It’s not just for the purposes of feeling good inside. It’s the ideal way to market yourself as a positive influence to others, and that will pay dividends in the long-term.
Emulate Nish Patel – Get Started Today
You don’t have to start a national movement to give back and boost your business. Start out in a small way and think about how you can best utilize some of those spare resources. You’ll have a better chance of boosting your image and improving your online reputation. It could lead to the making of your company in the long-term.
What do you think is the best way to give back on a local and national level as an entrepreneur?