With the overwhelming effect of the coronavirus pandemic hitting our economy, we have heard an excessive amount of hype pushing customers towards shopping from local businesses as opposed to large corporations. We would be lying if we said that we weren’t thankful for this push as shopping local can make the difference between a store staying open during the pandemic or having to close their doors permanently.
So, our question for you is simple. Why is shopping local a trend?
If we can leave you with one thought from this article, we hope it is the understanding that shopping local is important year-round, not just a trend to be followed during a pandemic. Erica Cerulo (co-founder – Of a Kind) said it best when she said, “Most independent businesses are run by people – not by boards, not by stockholders, not by algorithms. And so you get a different kind of care and quality in their product because their work is a reflection of themselves. Instead of focusing on the next market they’re expanding into or the next round of funding they’re raising, they’re focusing on the details and being the best, they can be.”
What Qualifies a Small Business?
Sba.gov determines what qualifies a small business as a small business. From the information found on their website, we’ve found that the size regulations for small businesses are truly dependent upon the industry in which the small business is a part of. However, the overall general size requirements for a small business define it as a company in which has fewer than 500 employees and average receipts under $7.5 million. They would seek a small business qualification and may apply for government support or preferential tax policies.
If you are curious if your business truly qualifies as a small business for government contracting purposes, we recommend using the SBA’s Size Standards Tool to find out.
Small Business Statistics
A recent article from 99 Firms provided us with current US small business statistics. Let’s discuss the top statistics listed in their article:
- There are 30.2 million small businesses in the US.
Small businesses currently employ more than 47.5 of the work-force.
- Only 50% of small businesses survive five years or more.
Despite popular opinion, most small businesses fail during their first year. The actual statistic provided by sba.gov is that 1 in 12 small businesses will shut their door by the end of their first year of business. Furthermore, out of all the small businesses created, only 25% of them make it more than 15 years.
- 19% of small business owners work 60 hours a week, every week.
We recently spoke to one of the owners of a local business. This business is established, has a wonderful customer base, and is highly profitable. Knowing this, we were surprised to hear that her family still works 7 days a week, and 10 to 14 hours a day. This was shocking news to take in, but in the grand scheme of things, it makes sense. Her family prides themselves on service, quality products, and ability. They want to provide their customers with the best product no matter how long it takes to complete. Their dedication was inspiring to listen to, and it got us thinking about how many other business owners probably work those hours as well. They have a goal; to find success in their business. And they will do whatever it takes to get there.
Why support local all the time?
At some point in time, we have all seen a statistic or statement about supporting small businesses and the effect that it has on your local economy. Should you have not, we want to take some time to personally tell you why you should.
- Community Identity
There is nothing like the charm of a small town. Every community seems to have a unique character that creates an overall personality and way of doing things. This identity provides locals a reason to not only seek out local shops, businesses, and restaurants, but it provides them with a sense of pride that is generally unmatched and has the ability to unite all of those who surround you.
- Cash-flow within the Community
Have you ever heard of the multiplier effect? The multiplier effect is comprised of three elements of spending locally – direct, indirect, and induced impacts. All of these forge together to make a local economic impact, that sees our community continue to flourish. According to mass.gov, for every $100 you spend at a local business, $68 of that will stay in the community. This happens because local businesses are more likely to utilize other local businesses for products and services, leaving your money staying in the community helping it to prosper.
- Local Jobs
Small businesses are the heart of the American economy and are known for consistently hiring local individuals to fill their jobs. When you shop local, you are helping these companies pay your fellow community members who are employed by them and depend on their earnings. When a community has built up an impressive epicenter, more jobs will arise and be necessary for the business’ success. All-in-all, supporting a small business means supporting jobs in your local community. It’s as simple as that.
- Better Shopping Experience
Though large brands have consistency in their shopping experience, nothing beats the personalized care that small businesses offer. Let’s face it. Every customer matters to a small business, so it is in their best interest to give you the attention and appreciation any customer would love to receive.
How can you help?
We are glad you asked! There are so many ways that you can help local businesses both now and down the road.
- Buy gift certificates or vouchers for futuristic service.
- Give your favorite local business reviews on places such as Yelp and Google My Business.
- Share information about the local places you frequent via social media, tagging them in the post. This will make sure that both your followers and theirs know how great you think they are and will more than likely bring them business.
- Consider small businesses before shopping at larger corporations such as Amazon. We suggest this even though we know small businesses are able to sell through Amazon, the fees to sell outweigh the benefit of providing these small businesses with profitability. Instead, we suggest shopping local online.
- Reach out to some of your favorite small business owners and see what THEY need in that exact moment, and how you can help their success. We imagine you may be surprised by their answers.
- On the same token, we suggest telling small businesses what YOU need. Are you looking for a certain item and a local store doesn’t sell it? See if they can get it for you. Small businesses are always looking to continue to grow and flourish. You can help them do this by allowing them to know what you need or want.
Small businesses play a large role in the economic foundation of our community, and without our continuous support they will not survive. We at Momentum3 want to encourage you to not let the “trend” of shopping small stop when the coronavirus pandemic ends. We want shopping from local businesses to be something you always seek out first and strive to do.