How can we support local businesses? The answer is simple. When we support local businesses, we are investing in our community. We are supporting entrepreneurs who were brave enough to take a risk to follow their dreams. Supporting local businesses also supports the local employees who work hard to make those businesses successful. Furthermore, supporting them helps to create jobs and grow the local economy.
When we support our local business community, we are supporting the businesses that make our villages & towns unique and special. We are also helping to ensure that there is a vibrant local economy for future generations.
The Lifeblood of Our Communities is Local Businesses
Studies have shown that for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $68 stays in the local economy. That is because locally owned businesses often buy from other local businesses, service providers, and farms. When we support big box stores and chains, much of that money leaves our community. Worst still, these big box stores, chains, and international businesses, tend to have their supplies shipped in from other places, so less money circulates within the local economy.
Local businesses often give back to the community more than big box stores or chains do. They sponsor local sports teams, donate to the food bank or women’s shelter, and support other causes that are important to their employees and customers.
You will find also that big box store and chain managers are often rotated in and out of town and have no connection to the community. Local business owners know their customers by name, know and care about what is happening locally in their community.
Local businesses generate more tax revenue for cities, with less demand for public services. A study of Austin, Texas found that locally owned businesses generate twice as much economic activity per square foot as big box stores. The study also found that the city collected 10 times more property taxes from locally owned stores than from big box stores. What’s worst is some big box stores and chains were taxed less yet often receive public subsidies, even when they do not need them. In many cases, these subsidies come at the expense of small businesses and the local economy.
The jobs created by local businesses are often better-quality jobs than those created by big box stores. Local business owners tend to pay their employees better too as they have a vested interest in their employees
Local businesses help to create a sense of place. They give character to our communities and make them feel like home.
Local businesses are usually more environmentally sustainable than big box stores. They often use less energy, recycle more, and sell local produce and products.
Why voting in Local elections is crucial step to supporting local businesses?
Voting in local elections is an important thing you must do to support your community and local businesses. Local politicians make decisions that directly impact the business community. Make your voices heard and vote so you can support policies that support local businesses in the following ways:
- Making it easy for local businesses to get started and stay in business.
- Supporting the development of local business hubs and incubators.
- Getting local government to offer financial incentives for local businesses.
- Supporting Investment in infrastructure that benefits local businesses
A STRONG AND THRIVING COMMUNITY IS ONLY CREATED WHEN LOCAL BUSINESSES ARE SUCCESSFUL
There are many ways that we can support our local businesses.
Here are 38 ways you can do so:
- Shop at farmers’ markets, food co-ops, and independent grocery stores.
- Buy locally made products.
- Patronize local restaurants and bars regularly
- Shop at locally owned boutiques and retailers.
- Use local services, like car dealerships, mechanics, dry cleaners, and salons/spas.
- Attend local events and festivals.
- Support local artisans and crafters.
- Purchase memberships or season passes to local attractions.
- Donate to local charities and non-profits.
- Vote in local elections so you have a voice, and advocate for policies that support locally owned businesses, living wages, fair taxes, and business incubators/accelerators.
- Volunteer with a local organization or cause you care about.
- Educate yourself about the issues facing your community and get involved in the discussion.
- Share positive reviews and testimonials about your favourite local businesses on review sites, social media, and word-of-mouth.
- Invest in a local business through crowdfunding or other means.
- Start your own local business: Be part of the community too
- Join or form a buying club or co-op to get discounts on bulk purchases of locally produced goods.
- Get involved with your Chamber of Commerce or other local business organizations.
- Spread the word about the importance of supporting locally owned businesses!
- Actively look for new local brands
- Buy gift cards for friends and family so they can also buy locally
- Join their loyalty program
- Share images of your favourite local business
- Follow them on social media
- Sign up for their newsletters
- Refer friends and family to them
- Connect with the owner/manager on LinkedIn
- Share their business cards to help promote their brand
- Write a blog post or article about them
- Make a video about them
- Always leave a generous tip when you can!
- Invite them to collaborate with you on a project
- Send them a handwritten thank-you note
- Invite them to be a guest on your podcast or webinar
- Connect them with someone they could do business with
- Offer your professional services to them for free (within reason, of course!)
- Hang up their flyers or posters in your office or storefront window
- Collaborate with other local businesses on a joint marketing campaign
- Encourage them to go digital too so online orders can be placed and they can also be found on Google’s “near me” searches
The Importance of a thriving community
A thriving community is a vital and vibrant place to live. It offers residents a sense of connection, belonging, and pride. When businesses are thriving, it means that they can offer good jobs and support a strong local economy. This in turn helps to create a virtuous cycle that benefits everyone in the community. A thriving community is also a more attractive place to live, which can help to attract new residents and businesses. So, supporting your local businesses is not only good for them – it is good for the whole community.
So, the next time you need to make a purchase, think about how you can shop local and help your community thrive. So, let us get out there and start shopping local!