Are You Supporting Local Businesses?
In an increasingly homogenized world, locally owned businesses have an economic advantage and stand out with their distinctive service and character, according to the Institute for Local Self Reliance. Compared to national chains or large corporations, the local business recycles a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community. That’s why supporting local businesses is so important.
According to Forbes, local small business is – quite frankly – big business. The Small Business Administration reports there are more than 28.2 million businesses operating in the United States as of March 2014 with about 63 percent of new jobs being created from small businesses between 1993 and mid-2013.
Independently owned local businesses are too often overlooked for all the wrong reasons. Customers assume that pricing will automatically be higher at a small business compared to a corporate-owned entity. Many perks are offered by small businesses such as customer service, inventory assortment and community support.
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Forbes offers these reasons why local businesses should be supported:
Customer service – is more personalized and hands-on at a local business. Generally, you deal with the owner of the business, be it a construction company, a plumber or a store. Their personal commitment to their business certainly helps in these efforts and typically stronger customer care is experienced. Among the reasons why is that they have a more hands-on role within the company, therefore building a stronger sense of care for the job they do. Additionally, smaller companies are more flexible in their customer support with a willingness to bend rules if necessary.
Product diversity and options – These are often greater at small businesses compared to chain stores or corporations. Sure, a big box merchant may have a larger footprint in your local community, but that doesn’t mean they have more variety to offer. When you walk into a chain store, you know exactly what you will find. However, when you walk into a local business, you are often surprised by the inventory options.
Giving back to the community – Local business owners are more likely to give back to the community such as by supporting local causes. Actual dollars kept within the local community is significantly higher when dollars are spent at a local business compared to a corporate one. For every $100 spent at a local business, $63 stays in the community. Small businesses deliver community character and economic advantages to the town they are positioned in, but also strengthen partnerships among neighbors, residents, other small business owners, community leaders and even schools by offering social and economic relationships.
Inventory – Smaller merchants have the same access to vendors as big box stores do. If you need an item and it’s not available in their store, it’s likely they can get in touch with the vendor right away and order it. Most small store owners are eager to go above and beyond in their customer service support and this is just one way they can do so for their customers.
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A marketplace with thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses – each selecting products and providing services based on their own interests and needs of their local customers and not a national sales plan – guarantees a much broader range of product choices, says the Institute for Local Self Reliance. Consider supporting local businesses that are such an important part of your community.