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In recent years there has been a major push toward supporting small and local businesses. But is it really worth the effort? Does it actually make any difference in communities? Are small businesses really all that different from large corporations?
The answer to all these questions is a resounding yes.
What’s the Difference Between Small and Big Businesses?
Small businesses are usually classified as sole proprietorships or partnerships with 500 employees or less. However, depending on the industry, that number can be as high as 1500. These businesses also generally have revenues of less than 35 million dollars per year.
This is compared to corporations, which can have millions and millions of employees with billions of dollars in revenue. These companies are owned by stockholders and run by a CEO that may be out of touch with the needs of their employees and customers. In contrast, small businesses tend to form close personal relationships with their employees and customers.
Of course, there are some services or products where the small vs big business model just doesn’t apply, like online singing courses or online review sites for mattresses. These are sites that only exist online, so there’s no sense in trying to decide which category they fit into. But for the businesses that do fit into this paradigm, the small vs big business movement does have major implications for the economy, quality of service, and even the health of your community.
The Beginnings and Benefits of the Small Business Movement
In 2010, Small Business Saturday was initiated as a day to celebrate and patronize small businesses. Since then, it has resulted in billions of dollars of revenue for these institutions. Its partnership with American Express has proved to be incredibly successful.
Small Business Saturday takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year. This event, along with a general movement away from impersonal big-box stores, has caused a shift in the national economy that is likely to continue well into the future.
There are many community-wide benefits that result from supporting small businesses:
● Better service
● Improved local economies
● Enhanced consumer and environmental health
These are just a few of the multitude of reasons why the small business movement is here to stay. Supporting small businesses can make a huge difference in customer’s lives as well as the entire community that they reside in.
Small businesses by nature are able to provide much better and more personalized service to their customers. Huge corporations try to cater to their customers as much as they can, but they just can’t dedicate the individual time or energy that small businesses can. Corporations also struggle to develop personal relationships with their customers while small businesses excel in this realm.
Small businesses don’t have various levels of executives and supervisors that only care about the bottom line. They instead have owners and employees that are involved in and dedicated to the local community. A locally based personal injury firm, for instance, will have a stronger connection with the community and know the ins and outs of the local system better than a multinational could. Small businesses see their employees as people with families and lives much more often than corporations do.
Going local also means that if you are a business owner, you can expect better quality when sticking to domestic services. If you are in the UK, for example, UK web hosting services are going to get you faster connectivity and better rates than a hosting service from out of the country.
Improved Local Economies
When purchasing from a local small business, it is a fact that a much higher percentage of the money spent will remain in the local community instead of flowing back overseas or to the out-of-state headquarters of the corporation. Local companies tend to support other local companies rather than buying their supplies from around the world like large corporations often do.
Small businesses also create more reliable, higher quality jobs for people in the community. Farmer’s and Arts Markets allow people to interact with each other in person, fostering friendships and business partnerships that benefit all who partake. These events help to create a sense of community and togetherness that is impossible for corporations to evoke. Keeping money in the local economy helps everyone to gain financial security, allowing the city to grow and flourish.
A realtor based in your local community, for instance, will not only know the community but can help the local economy flourish. Instead of selling homes owned by out-of-state corporations, local realtors will be working in the community and putting their money right back into your economy.
Small business owners should also know that there are numerous services to help them succeed as local businesses. An SEO firm with localized SEO services, for instance, can help make sure that potential customers in your area know that you are the go-to source for the local community, for whatever product or service you offer. It’s better to outsource your SEO and marketing campaigns when looking to make your business stand out in the local market because it will save you time and money that you probably don’t have to spare as a small business owner.
Enhanced Consumer and Environmental Health
Purchasing items, especially food, from local organizations can prove to be healthier for people and for the environment. Food that is grown closer to home doesn’t have to contain as many preservatives and is also less likely to be genetically modified. This food will also tend to be fresher and less likely to carry diseases. The food available will always be appropriate for the season as well.
One of the biggest uses of natural resources is shipping. Food and goods that need to be shipped from all over the world take up an exorbitant amount of unnecessary fuel resources. Buying locally grown food and locally made goods from small businesses can eliminate these wasteful shipping habits, thereby reducing humans’ impact on the world.
Small Businesses Will Continue to Thrive
There are numerous benefits to shopping at small businesses that cannot be ignored. Many people around the world are starting to see the benefits of shopping local. This movement has gained incredible traction throughout the past decade and is predicted to continue to grow.
People crave genuine human interaction that just can’t be satisfied by large companies. The turn to small businesses will give everyone a chance to thrive and live happier and healthier lives, and who doesn’t want that?