Munif Ali

8 Reasons Why Supporting Local Businesses Is Important

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Did you know that small businesses employ a total of 59 million people? How could the neighborhood coffee shop or thrift store lead to that? Local businesses make up a large portion of work today. While not popular brands, they offer personalized, quality service

The problem that local businesses face nowadays is staying afloat. The worldwide pandemic forced many small-scale shops to close down for good. It’d be a shame if all these stores and services go away. That’s why you and your friends need to act now. With your help, these shops and stores can continue to support your community and benefit you in surprising ways. Here’s why you should support your local business.

What is a local business?

Before you can assist small businesses, you have to understand what exactly they are. In simple terms, local businesses are services that operate in your area. Unlike big brands or conglomerates, these places stay within a specific community. For example, you might know of a nearby diner run by the same family for three generations. You’ll probably find several places like this diner within the state, but these mom-and-pop shops don’t belong to a big corporation. Instead, each one is privately owned and managed to fit the needs and demands of its loyal customers.

Logistically speaking, local businesses are smaller and get less revenue than larger ones. The US Small Business Administration (SBA) sets different standards of employee numbers and revenue limits for each type of industry. For example, manufacturers with under 500 workers count as small businesses. 

Because these places don’t need as many hands or cash, you might think they don’t work as hard. However, local businesses usually adopt the same business practices and ethics as larger companies. In addition, the upper management and owners of these businesses often supervise the attitude and behavior of their employees. You’ll find that these owners are more direct and hands-on with their services with a smaller company.

Why are local businesses important?

Now that you know what a local business is and how it operates, you might wonder why they are so important. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of having a local busines.

1. They support the local economy.

Firstly, small-time businesses and shops directly affect and support the local economy. You’ll find that these places focus on earning money from nearby residents within the town or municipality. Even a shop with five employees contributes to the town’s overall economy and the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

More importantly, these small businesses often work together to provide and boost each other’s quality. You might discover that your town’s farmers are responsible for the local grocer’s supplies and baked goods. This money then circulates the city and can be used as investments for town events or projects. In other words, it’s a good idea to support your local business because they can thrive and give back to the community.

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2. They offer personalized service.

One notable trait of a local business is that its services can be unique and personalized. An international coffee shop might only provide beans, drinks, and pastries. However, you might notice that your local coffee shop does more than that. It might have toys for kids and board games for groups of friends. This store could also make a fantastic pie or cake you can’t find anywhere else.

The beautiful thing about local businesses is that they stay on the community’s pulse. They’re willing to expand their reach by experimenting with new meals and items. They can also help promote local customs or events, like an upcoming school play or a fall festival.

3. They highlight diversity in business.

Compared to well-established enterprises, your local businesses are more diverse. The SBA found that minorities or women owned about 30% of all small businesses. These shops give more opportunities to people within the community and from all walks of life. In addition, supporting your local business allows a higher exposure to different cultures and mindsets. You might be surprised how much fun learning about a local restaurant’s traditional roots or alternative lifestyle is. 

The more you see these different perspectives, the more you can expand your knowledge of the world without leaving town.

4. They provide better customer service.

When you enter a local restaurant or laundromat, you might recognize the people who work there. These could be neighbors, close friends, or famous figures in town. In other words, you and others in the community will know who they are. Often, this means you’ll get better treatment and customer service. Because you have a personal connection to the workers, you’ll get to hang around and speak to them like good friends. It’s easier to relate and connect with a worker you often meet than a fast food clerk or taxi driver whom you’ve never met.

5. They give more job opportunities.

Aside from earning money locally, small businesses boost the local employment rate of the area. According to the SBA, these businesses have brought over 8 million new jobs since 2000. Your local shops will help nearby residents earn money and learn new skills in a specific field by providing jobs. You’ll often meet high-level professionals and dedicated experts who started their craft by working at a local store or shop.

With the right experience, your local business could help grow interns and fresh graduates into masters of their craft. So, if you support your local business, you also encourage more people to learn about and grow their careers.

6. They protect the environment.

What sounds more eco-friendly: a five-minute walk to the store or a five-minute bus ride to the mall? Walking around doesn’t cause cost any fossil fuels and is a good exercise. However, beside this, you might find it surprising how local businesses can help promote eco-friendly ways.

Since they’re built within the community, you’re less likely to drive there or get stuck in traffic on the way. Less use of gas is always a good start towards a healthier environment. In addition, local restaurants often use the products of nearby farms for their meals. In other words, you get fresher food and more nutritious meals compared to store-bought veggies or microwavable lunches. Once you start to support your local business, you also build healthy and eco-friendly habits!

7. They provide good references for future jobs.

When applying for a job in any company or service, you’ll always need references to speak on your behalf. Sometimes, the best choice is your town’s local business owner. These people can be good character witnesses on how you are as a worker and person. Their insight and reputation could give your resume a much-needed boost in credibility. More importantly, your trust will help cement your reliability for new acquaintances at work.

8. They can eventually grow into larger corporations.

Never underestimate the power of a local business. The world’s most popular brands today, like Nike and Ford, all started as small-time businesses. Ideally, if you support your local business, you also help them expand their reach and grow into a thriving source of income. In addition, think of the quality and character of the people you work with or meet there. Wouldn’t you like to see that same warmth extend to those outside your town?

How can you support your local business?

You’ve learned how local businesses operate and why they’re essential to the local community. Now you’re wondering how you can help these places stay afloat in the future? Here are four ways to support your local business to grow over time.

1. Engage with their social media.

Connecting with your local business is an excellent way to get more eyes on the product. The more you share and post about their practices or services, the more people will get curious. For example, you can make a daily tweet or post about your breakfast meals at the nearby diner or coffee shop. The more you engage with these businesses and their social media accounts, the more publicity it gets amongst your online community of friends and connections.

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2. Tip them well.

A good tip is always a kind gesture to boost the shop’s income. It lets your local business know you’re happy with their service. It’s an excellent motivational boost for the workers you meet there. In addition, you give the staff and team members help after a long period of lockdown from the pandemic.

3. Refer the place to your friends and family.

Online, you can connect with many people and get eyes on the shop. However, you can motivate your friends and family to visit the shop. All businesses rely on references to build more customers and attention. By encouraging your friends to check the place, you can get your local business new customers. More importantly, you can say a good word about their products and workers. A simple compliment or a five-star review can support your local business faster than you can imagine. It’s a win-win scenario for both you and the store itself! 

4. Volunteer your time and knowledge.

Your local business might need some insight in accounting, legal work, or advertisement for their service. If you’re a professional or are knowledgeable about these things, take time to speak with the owner. Your perspective could help them plan better ways to improve their business structure and practices.

For example, if you’re a social media manager, you can recommend promos and online contests that your local diner could use to get some interest. You can use this as an opportunity to help the business, practice your skills, and maybe earn another job or side hustle.

In summary

Local businesses are a vital part of your community. They provide you with high-quality service, personalized products, and a caring attitude. Unlike more prominent companies, these small businesses offer a more direct and hands-on approach to handling their customers.

Once you support your local business, you can encourage more money to circulate in the community. You also give job opportunities to people in town and foster partnerships with other local businesses. By engaging with them online and referring the place to your friends and family, you could help make a small-time shop grow into a well-earning and profitable enterprise.

Now you know the benefits of supporting local businesses, you can also benefit from it when you start building your business, here’s a video about starting your own business.

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