By supporting a charitable cause that's near and dear to his heart, franchisee Mark Geschke is finding a way to give back to a meaningful cause while also supporting his business.
Over 20 years ago, Mark Geschke found himself in a position he never thought he would be in. He had a granddaughter who was born prematurely, weighing only one pound five ounces. He spent months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and built strong relationships with the families and staff. Tragically, due to her small size and lack of technology, Geschke’s granddaughter passed away after five months. That’s why he now hopes that the partnership between his Medina, Ohio One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning location and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals can make a difference in the lives of local children.
How important is it to give back to your local community as it relates to growing your business?
I think it is imperative to give back to your local community. When you are successful enough that you are able to give back to the community, do it! Our community is what got us here today. It is important that we give back and support those who have supported us.
What local or charitable outreach efforts have you made in order to connect with your local community?
We are a partner with Children’s Miracle Network, so our efforts are focused on Akron Children’s hospital. I have volunteered at the Akron Children’s Hospital every Monday for the last five years. We do different fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network and Akron Children’s Hospital. Recently, we raised money for Dance Unlimited at the hospital. Dance Unlimited is a type of therapy session to help children dealing with a variety of illnesses. Before, they were just dancing in their normal clothes, but with the money we raised, we were able to buy them actual dance costumes. We also will ask our customers for donations and will give a portion of our sales to Children’s Miracle Network.
What are your top ideas or tips to market your local business?
We have gotten to know a lot of the people in the hospital and around the community. They have big TVs that are scattered around the hospital. Our specials and promotions have been featured on the TVs and have helped draw attention to our services. We were also able to get some marketing through the hospital via their message boards and their newsletters. Through our involvement with the Children’s Hospital we are actually seeing more customers and building stronger relationships with our customers in the community.
How effective are charitable efforts in growing your business?
I believe that charitable efforts are pretty important in growing your business. However, it is a slow return on investment. We have been donating money to Children’s Miracle Networks for the last five years and we have seen a return just this last year. I think it is important to stay focused. If you are passionate about the charity you are supporting, then it will come back and help you.
What advice would you give to other franchisees who are just starting their businesses to best set themselves up for success on the local level?
I would say build relationships within your community. Find a cause that is near and dear to your heart and make that your focus. This will help you connect your business with the community and give it a purpose.