The city of Indianapolis has been in the spotlight lately, with its growth and development under scrutiny as businesses debate whether to make Indianapolis home or to pursue business in other markets. However, with additional investment from the companies committed to the city, the future of Indianapolis is certainly bright and will continue to improve.

Supporting local businesses and your local community is crucial in maintaining a healthy economy and is seen as a necessary criterion for the young workforce. In fact, a study by Cone Communications found that 75 percent of Millennials would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company. While practicing corporate social responsibility may seem like a complicated goal, a simple first step can be to make investments in your local community.

Coming from a family that is rooted deeply in Indianapolis, we have strived to become a part of the communities and neighborhoods we’ve lived in for decades. Here are my three suggestions for how to further invest in the local community.

Double down on the market

While a business owner’s first instinct might be to bring their product or service to new locations, begin by searching for new opportunities in the existing Indianapolis market to build your business. Using a new product to invest in your market with established rapport and existing brand awareness ended up paying off and only helps the future of the company.

For example, after analyzing housing trends throughout the U.S., we knew we wanted to expand our services and offerings and briefly considered going to other markets like Nashville and Chicago. We decided instead to double down on the Indianapolis market and offer a unique product to an underserved area.

Form strategic partnerships

Not all companies are ready to expand their business in their existing market, which makes strategic partnerships vital for increasing growth and promoting brand awareness. Businesses should determine what makes the most sense for the future of its industry in order to form a mutually beneficial relationship.

For example, we invested in business school students at Marian University in order to encourage talented young professionals to stay in the city, potentially becoming corporate leaders or entrepreneurs. These types of partnerships help to improve both the business and the community.

Become involved

Non-profit groups and industry associations are always seeking involvement and guidance from successful business leaders. Whether it be speaking on a panel, hosting a networking event or sponsoring a non-profit cause, businesses benefit from becoming involved with groups that need it most. This assists in increasing brand recognition within your local community, creating new opportunities and strengthening community connections.

In the real estate industry, we are tasked with helping people find a home where they can prosper with their family, so it’s even more important that we also invest in their local community. Investments, partnerships and involvement can all work together to build a better community with the right support from local businesses.

Brad Litz is managing principal of Litz & Eaton Development Company.

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