The Advantages of Small Local Businesses
Supporting local businesses is a trend that is becoming more and more popular. It makes sense – You:
- Get better, more personalized service
- Boost your local economy a bit
- Know exactly where your goods are coming from and how they are produced
- Build relationships that could lead to more referrals to you in the long-term.
Supporting businesses in your community has other benefits as well. You get to show the community more support, and so raise your profile. You’ll also find that most smaller companies are willing to be more flexible when it comes to getting what you want.
The other benefit, of course, is that if you support small local businesses, they’re bound to want to reciprocate by supporting you as well. This may be in the form of direct business, referral business, or favorable prices.
Local companies should really all stand together and support each other. This cooperation helps both businesses and clients to benefit.
Keeping Your Community Unique
In America, we have a lot of large, corporate companies, like Walmart and Target, for example. These companies are good in that they stock a large range, but they don’t really have much personality. Small businesses are what gives a community its character.
If you want to keep your community unique, encouraging small businesses is important. Why would you want to keep your community unique? Think of it this way, do visitors flock from all over the United States to go see Target in Seattle? Why bother, when there’ll be a Target much closer to home?
People want to do something a little different during their vacation. Creating a community that has a fun and unique vibe could do a lot to boost tourism in the area. This, in turn, means a larger boost to the local economy and more business for everyone.
More Personalized Service
There is nothing quite like walking into your local store and having a friendly chat with the owner and staff. In smaller companies, the staff are bound to have more time to speak to you. In a big chain store, they have to worry about keeping the queues moving, restocking shelves, etc.
There is not a lot of time for goofing off when it comes to a chain store. And that also means that there is not as much time to spend building a relationship with clients as well.
In a smaller store, the staff can get to know you better. As a result, they get to know your likes and dislikes intimately and can act accordingly when it comes to your order. This is where you get those nice extra touches that make their service so special.
Maybe, for example, they know that you love strawberries. They could send a small sample pack through to you to let you know that the strawberries have arrived.
If they are actually making something for you, the advantage of dealing with a smaller firm is that they know the way you like your order made up. When dealing with a large corporate, your items are made by several different people so there is a chance that something could go wrong.
Improve the Local Economy
The more money that goes back into the pockets of locals in the community, the better the economy in that area does. By dealing with local firms, you are helping to build the local economy. More money in the coffers at local merchants means more money for them to assist the community with as well.
The better the businesses that you support are doing, the more support they can lend you in return. And, better yet, the more business that they will refer back to you. A smaller business has a stake in the community that the chain stores just don’t have.
The chain stores will source their own supplies, without much concern for supporting the local economy. And, while they do boost the impact by providing jobs to locals, the majority of the money that they make will be put in the company’s coffers rather than being spent in the community.
Now, while large corporates might be able to undercut the locals, they are not really able to offer the same level of service. Ordering goods from them exclusively might save you a little money, but the hidden costs in terms of goodwill lost will soon outweigh the benefits.
Innovation and Competition
With a big brand store, there is an “It’s my way or the highway” kind of vibe. While they might say their mission is to create the best possible customer service, the reality is that they can afford to lose a customer or two.
If you move on with your order of a few hundred dollars a week, it’s barely going to register with them. They pretty much have all the power in the relationship.
On the other hand, your smaller company knows that they desperately need your order every week. The power is firmly in your hands because they do need your business. They know that they cannot compete in terms of price or product range, so they need to be more innovative with their offerings.
And, because they become more innovative, they provide ample competition that helps to keep the big brand stores on their toes. And sure, if the chain store loses one client, it’s not going to do them that much harm.
But what happens if they start losing many of their clients and their sales drop? They are going to have to reconsider their approach and lure clients back. That puts the power back in your hands again. They have to come up with great offerings and service to match.
Overall, it makes sense to support the businesses in your community as far as possible. It bears remembering that when you buy from a chain store, you are putting money in the hands of shareholders and investors.
With a small business, on the other hand, you are helping to fund someone’s dream. They are better able to support their families thanks to the support that they have received from you and that counts for a lot.
It’s also important not to underestimate the amount of goodwill that supporting locals can drum up. People will know that you are a firm that really cares about the community. They’ll want to support you as well as a result.