Local businesses are the backbone of our communities. Choosing to shop from small businesses instead of the big box stores we see filling the last few green spaces has many benefits, some of which will surprise you.
For a majority of small businesses, customers are their shareholders and they are the ones they strive to make happy. Here's why it is important to support small businesses not just for Christmas, but all year round:
Keeping it in the community.
Your local independent business is more likely to reach out and support business such as accountants, craftsmen, farms and other service providers keeping money in the community.
Fewer air miles.
Supporting local business means fewer cars on the road, less noise and less pollution. Your local shop will have a lower carbon footprint in comparison to larger and global companies.
There is a real connection with small business.
Chances are you know the people behind the business, highs and lows. They are real people in your community trying to support their families just like you and me.
Your service is more authentic.
Local shop owners really care about you. There is a high chance they know their customers by name, making your shopping experience more personal.
Better customer service.
Most independent businesses are run by people, not boards. You speak directly to the local shop who will have a more personal approach to enquiries or issues that may arise, meaning no more being put on hold or transferred thirty times by customer representatives that most probably don't even live in the country.
In a world where thousands commute to another city on a daily basis, small businesses keep it in the community by employing local workers.
Small businesses often give back.
Small business owners face huge challenges when up against the big guys so why not offer them a lifeline and show them you appreciate their presence in your community by supporting them in every way you can.
From experience, smaller shops and services are most likely to donate spot prizes to community clubs for raffles or fundraisers for those in need.
- Next time you're planning a family dinner or lunch date, try the menu at the local eatery over well-known restaurant chains. If your car is due a service drop by your local mechanic, pop by the local farmers market and next time you're looking for a unique birthday gift, shop independently.
- Give them all the stars. Your positive reviews can impact other customers decisions to shop there and it will help local boutiques, bookstores, florists and gift shops show up better in search engines.
- When shopping local try to pay with cash. Most card processing companies charge for each transaction, racking up a large bill - that's why some businesses have a minimum spend when paying with debit/credit cards.
- Give them free advertisement. Connect with your favourite local businesses on social media by taking time to like, share, tag and comment on their posts. It will help them boost their reach to other potential customers free of charge.
When you shop at a small business, not only are you supporting someone's dream, you are helping the local community thrive, making your town a better place to live in, after all, it is the independent businesses that give towns and villages their shape, colour, texture and taste.