It’s tough being a local business at the best of times. Competing with online businesses who are able to offer a much lower price than you are—and often a greater range of stock—is definitely a challenge. As consumers, we’re also concerned with money, particularly at the moment, and it can feel difficult to support local businesses when we’re struggling to support ourselves.
However, it’s definitely worth doing, and you can easily do it without putting yourself out of pocket.
Why support local businesses?
The main argument that people give for supporting local business is “use it or lose it,” which is a valid point. If you enjoy shopping on your local high street and you want it to continue to be there, you do need to spend money there, otherwise, those businesses won’t be able to stay open.
There are also a few other reasons to support your local businesses:
- Local businesses are likely to use other local businesses such as banks, wholesalers, and service providers. By helping one local business, you are actually helping several.
- By supporting local businesses you are ensuring that money remains in your local community, which benefits everyone.
- Small businesses are likely to employ in your local area, which means that you are helping to create jobs for the people living in your town. This means a happier community, and also means that there is likely to be a lower rate of crime.
- Local businesses are more likely to be involved with local non-profit organizations than larger national businesses, which means that the money you spend is likely to benefit social causes in your area.
- It can be good for the environment to support local businesses. Local businesses probably don’t have as high a carbon footprint as larger businesses who are flying and driving goods all over the country, so each time you choose to buy from them you are effectively lowering your own carbon emissions.
A lot of people choose to use larger businesses because they are cheaper. If you are concerned about this, it’s well worth having a look into what coupons are available for the businesses in your area.
Coupons mean that you can support a local business, but still keep your spending levels down.
Purchase gift cards
Gift cards are a wonderful way to support local businesses. By giving a gift card you are giving the recipient the new experience of shopping in a place that means a lot to you, and you are also giving a local business the chance to wow a new customer.
Gift cards are particularly powerful for businesses that are temporarily closed due to the pandemic because they help to keep them going until they are able to reopen.
Make use of online offerings from local businesses
Many local businesses do offer their services online; for example, booksellers might make use of sites such as eBay to offer their goods online, or local yoga studios might offer some of their classes online for you to do at home.
Before automatically going online and using a larger company, it’s worth checking if there is an offering from your local businesses because a lot of the time they will be competitive. You’ll get the same product you would have from a bigger company, only often with better service and the knowledge that you are helping someone in your local community.