Your business does not exist in a vacuum — it’s subject to all the world’s external forces, and should therefore harness what it can to succeed. You could be doing everything right internally, but still fall short on profit and client outreach. That’s why it’s important to always be on the lookout for external opportunities, especially those close to home.

At Pacesetter, we’ve tapped into local businesses for partnerships, hiring initiatives, business development and much more. Doing so has been extraordinarily beneficial not just to our bottom line, but our community relationships.

Here are ways to utilize local resources, like universities and organizations, to make your business even better.

1. Identify your company’s needs

Boosting your business has to be a targeted effort with strategic goals. Improvement rarely comes to those who don’t understand what needs to be improved, after all. So, analyze your company from top to bottom to figure out where you’re falling short. Maybe you’re falling short in talented recruits, or your IT is lagging behind. Whatever it is, at Pacesetter, we prefer to see weaknesses as an opportunity to create something positive.

Different weaknesses will merit different solutions, and you’ll have to approach them one at a time. But identifying them is a great first step to creating something better.

2. Get a lay of the land

Now that you know your needs, you’ll need to learn what the community has to offer you. Do your research, or delegate a trusted team member to do so! Look for organizations and programs that help businesses like yours, whether by introducing new training procedures, or adjusting core values to get company culture back on course.

Pro tip? Universities are a great resource in a multitude of ways. Businesses can partner, collaborate, research and recruit with local schools. Local colleges and Small Business Development Centers can lend equipment, find you talented associates, and connect you with other businesses in your industry.

3. Network

Here’s a simple equation: a large personal network + a great business = lots of referrals. However, for some, building up that large personal network isn’t always easy (especially if you’ve been spending most of your time creating that great business).

Check out your Local Chamber of Commerce, Industry Publications and Trade Journals, Industry Awards, and even groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to find a networking event that suits you! From small meet-ups and workshops to black-tie galas, there are more professional networking opportunities nearby than you realize!

Not sales-savvy? No problem! Networking isn’t always about attracting new customers or forming lucrative partnerships. As a CEO, it’s a great place to meet other executives and pick their brains. Exchanging ideas, challenges, and insight adds to my toolset as a leader and helps me and my team to prepare for anything that may come.

4. Demonstrate mutual benefit

The key to utilizing local resources is to go about it with a generous spirit: in other words, you get what you give. Mutual benefits are important if you want to make the most of the experience, so make sure to show your appreciation, spread the word about good service, recommend your partners to others, and keep relationship going both ways.

5. Keep it up!

Tapping into local resources is an age-old tactic that helps companies make the most of their communities and give back to them, too. But it’s only the beginning of the opportunities that await. Instead of treating this as a one-and-done, keep finding new resources, strengthening partnerships, and connecting with your community on a greater level. It will be worth it in more ways than one.

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