• Why buy, shop and work with small businesses Jan 4, 2021
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    Small businesses are everywhere around us in our lives, yet when it comes to buying a product or selecting a service, many people choose to overlook them in favour of chain stores and large organisations. The internet has also made it very easy to buy almost anything from all over the globe, with the likes of Jeff Bezos amassing vast fortunes from the e-commerce market. Yet small and local businesses are at the heart of our communities and choosing to use them has many advantages over selecting large and commercial suppliers.

    In this time of crisis, it is more important for communities to show their support than ever, and here are 5 of the reasons why we should all do so.

    Boost your local economy

    Prospering local communities are created and sustained by prospering local businesses.Recent research (1) shows that for every £1 spent with a local supplier, this is worth £1.76 to the local economy, but if that £1 is spent outside that area, it is only worth 36p to that community. When you buy local, much of that revenue gets recycled in that economy as those businesses will themselves use neighbourhood shops, services and companies. When your local businesses are thriving, your community, with all its linked economic and social relationships, becomes more vibrant. Public services and amenities are improved as more tax revenues are raised, house prices increase and the general well-being of where you live goes up too. If you choose to use a chain store or a faceless organisation, all those benefits are lost.

    Keep and create local jobs

    When you buy from and use small businesses you create and sustain jobs in your community. Small, local operations are collectively the largest employers in the UK and are critical in making your area grow and thrive. When you go local, you not only help to keep a business open, but you are also helping them to employ people. Again, the employees will spend some of their wages locally too, so they’re also keeping people in jobs. So why you might be looking at a slightly cheaper option from a big store, supplier or something online, keep that firmly in mind – by choosing local, you’re helping make your community prosper.

    Building and sustaining communities

    Strong small businesses help to define a community and give it a unique character. These operations are owned by people living locally – your neighbours and your friends. They are invested in where they live and its future prospects, just as you are. When high streets are full of unique shops and businesses not only are they far more pleasant places to live near but they generate wealth and drive tourism, which also brings further revenue to your area. This vibrancy also acts as a catalyst for strong community spirit and identity. Thriving local businesses interact with the people where they are – they’re the companies sponsoring your neighbourhood charities and kids football teams among many other things!

    Environmental Sustainability

    While going local is better for your community, it is also better for the planet too. If you shop for food at independent grocers, bakers and butchers, it is likely that the produce is sourced near you – which means that as well as supporting local farmers, there will be less transport, less packaging and it is probably fresher too, with less use of preservatives. Small businesses are normally within walking distance or have easy access to public transport so using them means less air pollution and traffic. And while products and services can be cheaper abroad, consider the impact of shipping, packaging and the accompanying carbon footprint that is generated, and also that cheap products and services from overseas can sometimes be produced with less than ethical working conditions.

    Better Service

    Although there are always exceptions to the rule, it is extremely likely you will get a stronger and more bespoke customer service by using a small business. They are usually far more involved and hands-on with their customers, as they have a heavy personal stake in the business. They need to create and adapt their service or product to the varying needs of their local customers so are usually more flexible; national sales plans or rules are perhaps not so set in stone. They’ve normally more discretion to do deals and reward customers as they see fit rather than the templated “multi-buy” offers you might hear from larger organisations, normally involving selling you stuff you don’t want! Should something go wrong or if you are unhappy with something, then it will be far easier to speak to the person you dealt with when you bought your product or service, as opposed to forever waiting on the line to speak to a customer service department (often based abroad) who will likely have no idea who you are, while chances are they’ll read their responses off a pre-prepared corporate script. Get to know your local small business and they’ll always be ready to help and advise you while giving you a great deal.

    Ways to support your local small business

    Always think small and local first – sometimes you will need to use large companies or organisations but look for the neighbourhood angle if you can! Even when you don’t choose to buy from a local business, you can still support their work by following them on social media and share great offers, sales or news with your friends, colleagues and family. Choosing the local option will not only get you brilliant deals, wonderful product knowledge and excellent customer care, but you’ll be helping to make your community’s future bright too.

    Muve Media & Marketing is a small media and marketing consultancy based in Dartford, Kent. We pride ourselves on adaptability and have worked with some amazing startups and local businesses as well as national and global businesses. If you need help with anything marketing or media related please do get in touch or connect for a chat if you think our businesses may be able to help each other.

    (1) LM3online | Calculate local economic impact and sustainability
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