Within the past few years, there has been an increase in the push for consumers to shop small businesses in their local communities. This has been amplified by the annual “Small Business Saturday”, which is an American shopping holiday that falls after Black Friday and encourages shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. The Small Business Administration identified that there are more than 29.6 million small businesses operating in the U.S. today and firms with fewer than 100 employees have the largest share of small business employment. It turns out there are some compelling benefits to shopping small as opposed to big box retailers and A to Z Marketplaces. Here are 4 reasons why you should be buying from small, local businesses:
Improving the local economy
When you buy from a local business, you are helping that business become more profitable. With a profitable business, the owners can hire additional employees which in turn creates jobs for the local economy. With thriving small businesses and happy employees, the money will also stay in the community. According to a study done by American Independent Business Alliance, 48 percent of each purchase at local small businesses was recirculated locally into the community compared to 14 percent of purchases at chain stores. Many times, a local purchase turns into an indirect in investment in the local community.
Better customer experience
Many big box retailers cannot keep up with the volume of customer service calls they receive, so they have begun out-sourcing their customer service teams or turning to an automated system. This leaves many consumers frustrated due to not receiving the level of service they were expecting. With small local businesses, you get individualized service when you call, and you can speak with an actual person on the phone. With local businesses, you can get to know the person or team behind the product and connect with the business owners. If there is ever an issue that warrants attention, you can trust that the problem will be taken seriously and handled swiftly because of the reputation the company wants to maintain in the community in which they serve.
We have all heard the phrase “small businesses are the backbone of the economy”. This may be due to the fact that according to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2014, there are 5.83 million employer firms in the United States and firms with fewer than 500 workers accounted for 99.7 percent of those businesses. When people are able to run successful businesses, it encourages others to follow-suit and pursue the “American Dream”. Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity all while helping families of employees make economic progress.
Community based product offerings
Local businesses have the freedom to select products based on their own interests and their customer’s needs, not based on a national sales plan. A local business can typically provide a broader range of product choices based on the preferences of their local communities and what sells the best. Additionally, many smaller merchants have access to the same vendors as the big box retailers and will make more of an effort to ensure customers get the exact product they are searching for. Another impactful part is that many small businesses will go out of their way to support other local entrepreneurs by featuring locally made products or products sold by diverse owned businesses. This means that you will often be able to find products that are not available at a chain location.
The value of buying from local small businesses cannot be stressed enough. Not only are you improving the local economy and supporting entrepreneurship, but you are getting better customer service and a unique selection of products you can’t find at the big box retailers. Next time you are thinking about passing up the opportunity to shop small, consider the 57.9 million small business employees in the United States who are eagerly working to gain your support!
Guy Brown is a certified small, minority and women owned business that offers tailored business solutions to meet your company needs - office products and workplace supplies, managed print services and inspired office interiors.