This article looks into community relations and why they matter to businesses. Some people may subscribe to the notion put forward by Milton Friedman that “the business of business is business.” But things change and this is no longer the case. Good community relations can add real value to businesses and poor community relations can impose real costs to businesses.


This article will focus on the opportunities that good community relations present

1. Build a well of good will

A big opportunity that comes with being a leader on corporate responsibility and from developing good community relations is that you can build up a well of good will. Businesses operate within society and within the environment. To be successful businesses depend on access to structures larger than themselves.


By building strong relations with the community within which your business operates, you can solve issues before they become problems.

If people know that your business is approachable and they have seen you being active in the community, they will come to you. They will come to you when there is a minor problem and hopefully you can solve that problem together.

All good businesses will at some point need to expand. That could be expanding on the same site, at a different site in the local area or at a different site in a new area. If your business has developed a well of goodwill through strong management of its community relations, this process will be a lot easier.

Issues such as the planning process can be made far easier by being active in the community. If people know you as a business of high moral standards that looks after its people, the community and the planet, they are less likely to go to extreme lengths to frustrate any planning applications that you may submit.

 2. Build a reputation for excellence

By having a top quality corporate responsibility policy and strategy, your business can develop a reputation for excellence. All businesses want their product or service to be thought of as being of the highest calibre. But community relations matter and all businesses should strive for excellence in this realm too.

Your business should look to campaign on local issues and build local partnerships.

Perhaps there is a homeless charity in the vicinity. Make sure you are there for them when they need you.

Perhaps there is a foodbank in your local area. Be there for them when their supplies are running low.

By being in the right place at the right time and serving the community within which your business exists your business can create a reputation for excellence that is far bigger than the products or services it delivers.

This allows you to build a reputation for excellence. These reputational benefits are highly valuable. They allow you to become a trusted partner in your community and they force people to see you as a giver and not a taker.

3. Build a skilled local workforce

Great companies need great workers. It has been said that we are in a global war for talent. Whether this is true or not, what is clear is that businesses succeed by recruiting and retaining the best staff.

Businesses can gain a greater control over the local labour supply by investing in training local people. Once hired, these people are likely to show greater loyalty and stay for longer than a candidate that has come from afar.

Businesses can also help out by running local CV workshops, allowing their employees to volunteer in the community and by taking students on work experience placements.

All of these activities allow your business to be a key player in building a skilled local workforce. This makes smart business sense and is good for society which is what corporate responsibility is all about.

What you need to know

This article looked into community relations and why they matter to businesses.

Businesses can use strong community relations as a hedge to build up a well of goodwill should they need to take from or place a burden on the community at a later date.

Businesses can use an astute corporate responsibility programme to develop a reputation for excellence that transcends the products or services they deliver.

Businesses can be active in the community and solve problems such as skills shortages themselves.

Overall community relations matter to businesses. They should choose to be active in their communities out of enlightened self-interest because it makes smart business sense. But they should also choose to be active in the communities out of a sense of corporate moral responsibility.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or reach out to me on social media. What do you think of the importance of community relations to businesses?

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I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby


This article revolves around the life and work of a great man. This great man’s name is Titus Salt.

saltaire 3

After being exposed to information about the life of Titus Salt for the first time, it made me think differently about businesses role in society. Hopefully by reading this, I can change the way you think about corporate social responsibility.

Titus Salt was born in Morley near Leeds on the 20th September 1803. During his remarkable life he wore many hats. He was at one point a manufacturer, a politician, and a philanthropist. His greatest legacy is having built Salt’s Mill, a large and at that time highly advanced textile mill, and the accompanying village of Saltaire. Let’s look into the story of this remarkable man.

Titus Salt had good lineage. At age 30 he took over the running of his father’s business. By the time he was 40 he was a rich man. By 50 he was the largest employer in Bradford. He accumulated the vast majority of his wealth from weaving cloth.

Salt’s major contribution to this industry was his pioneering use of Alpaca wool, from which he was able to produce cloth with silk like qualities. Titus’s discovery of the cloth in a Liverpool dockyard is serialised in Charles Dickens’s Household Words. Interestingly, Dickens visited Saltaire in 1852, we shall see what other guests Titus hosted later.


The origins of Titus Salt’s desire to build his factory and the accompanying model village are unknown. There is a tradition of Yorkshire employers building infrastructure around their operations, but nothing as fine as Saltaire.

Between 1800-1850 Bradford underwent a period of rampant industrialisation. People flocked to Bradford from the countryside for jobs. The arrivals outpaced the city’s ability to provide infrastructure.

The scenes in Bradford during this period were nothing short of chaotic. Not only was this a steep period of social decline, but whist the economy boomed the environment paid a heavy price. Massive amounts of pollution, from industry and from households poured into the air, the water and into the streets. Bradford was a squalid place to live and to work.

Titus Salt had experience of living and working in Bradford between 1822-1850. He had seen first-hand what a ruinous state the city had fallen into. Perhaps Titus was driven to create Saltaire, partly out of his own benevolence towards his workers and perhaps partly out of a desire to lay down a new moral order for his workforce whilst Bradford decayed.

Woolcombing workers during this time would commonly have slept with a family of 15 living cheek by jowl in a dwelling of 2 rooms. The average life expectancy for those living in the town was a remarkable 18. The conditions do not bear thinking about, this is Dickins’s Britain. In 1849 a cholera epidemic killed 420 residents. Titus Salt had seen enough, he set out to improve the moral and religious character of the town. saltaire 2Between 1853-1870 Salt invested significant quantities of his own capital into the creation of Salt’s Mill and Saltaire. No expense was spared as he aimed to create his utopia. When the mill first opened, Salt commissioned a special railway service to take the workers to and from the city.

The facilities that Salt provided for his workers were a quantum leap from anything available for workers in the city. Titus Salt charged modest rents and for those lucky enough to be housed in Saltaire, their prospects were good. Inside the model village, there was the Saltaire Club and Institute, (pictured below) which had: a library, a reading room, a games room, a smoking room, a lecture theatre, a concert hall, a rifle range and a gym. There were also factory schools and Saltaire Hospital. Titus Salt catered for his workers in a way that few entrepreneurs before or since have. download

Saltire caught the eye of many in the Victorian age and he was lucky to have a number of high profile visits. These included Lord Palmerston, John Bright, the Prime Minister of New Zealand and ambassadors from Burma and Japan who all visited whilst Salt was alive. There have been a great many more important visits since.

Titus Salt, a man who led a remarkable life, was equally remarkable in death. Salt’s death was noted in every newspaper at the time and in many foreign news outlets as well. Special trains were run from the centre of Bradford so that those who worked for, or whose lives were impacted by Titus Salt could pay their last respects.

The mood in the local area after his passing was sombre. A great man, who had touched the lives of many, had passed. The list for his funeral was extensive. Throughout his wild and varied life Titus had been associated with and funded a number of clubs, charities and societies. These were all invited to attend. As Titus Salt passed through the town he loved for one last time, his cortege was greeted by over 100,000 spectators. This is a truly remarkable number, more reminiscent of royal funeral.

What you need to know

In his life as well as in death, everything Titus achieved was about people. It is about the people who worked for him, the people he traded with and the people who lived in his utopian model village of Saltaire. It’s about the countless people who had their life chances extended thanks to his farsightedness. He sets a very high standard, the gold standard in corporate social responsibility. He did it because it made business sense, it made social sense and it made environmental sense. We can all learn a lot from the life and times of Titus Salt.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

What do you think of Titus Salt? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. If you liked this type of bibliographical article and would like to see more like this, comment at the bottom. You can also find me on social media.

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby