Why it is vital to support businesses local to you?

A thriving local business is the lifeblood of any community. An article on the American Independent Business Alliance’s website AMIBA, highlighted the success of the ‘Buy Local’ campaign reporting revenue growth of 7.0% across independent neighborhood companies across the USA.  

A flourishing Main Street is good for consumers
A recent report issued by retail trend monitors, McKinsey & Company reveals that our love affair with giant impersonal national stores may be on the wane. Stores that do not listen to their customers will be in financial trouble thanks to the rise of social media and consumer power. Also, if you listen to any notable speaker on branding you will be aware that the public is becoming increasingly cynical about traditional methods of advertising. The recession made the population more aware of value for money and the need for brand responsibility. These are areas where a local business can excel.

American Express supports local businesses
The once neglected traditional Main Street is back in fashion. American Express is supporting the Buy Local campaign and has introduced its ‘Small Business Saturday’ in a bid to encourage more consumers to shop within their community. According to a 2010 article in Business Week the move was as much about boosting the AmEx image as it was to promote local enterprise. A local business develops the infrastructure of the community. The establishment of independent neighborhood retailers helps all local accountants, trades people and the local economy as a whole. Employment is also boosted.  

Local businesses respond quickly to complaints  
The growth of social media means that communication between consumers about products, customer service and reliability are becoming ever more important. Local businesses can respond quickly to customer complaints and because they are reliant on the community for their success, they recognize the need for quality. The centralized offices of large companies often react slowly to complaints. If you read the Twitter feed and Facebook pages of any large retail organization, you’ll see that consumers hate an impersonal corporate approach as a response to their dissatisfaction.  

The importance of local business
An Iowa State University report discovered – some local business owners might say confirmed - that the establishment of a new Wal-Mart shifted 84% of sales away from the local economy. Wal-mart’s “Always Low Prices” slogan is appealing to rural communities in particular, and the 10-year study only focused on Wal-Mart, so we do not know whether it applies to shopping mall anchor stores in general. The Buy Local campaign states that the support of local businesses will help reverse this trend. The Entrepreneur highlighted a report from the Seattle Good Business Network that said: ‘small businesses donate on average 250% more to non-profits in our communities.  Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our communities provide the most jobs to residents.’  

Many types of commerce can benefit
Online and national campaigns to develop local enterprises can also attract visitors to a business. April’s national Record Store Day is a wonderful example of how support for independent vinyl merchants can expand to promote local record shops across the whole of the US. In fact the local business movement is rapidly becoming a trend, so it doesn’t just make economic sense, it’s fast becoming one of the year’s most fashionable activities.

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