The SBA reported in 2018 that there were over 30.2 million small businesses in the US or about 99.9% of all the companies in the country. Undoubtably some reside in your community and bringing the consumer to them can be very rewarding.
Promoting local buying isn’t just about increasing sales. Studies have shown there are additional benefits for the community when they are the first choice. First, local buying promotes more local buying. Sounds like double talk but its been found that a business will typically use vendors and suppliers close by. The ease and convenience doing most of one’s shopping in one location also plays a role. When this is the case, the money stays in town helping the entire community to thrive. The environmental impact is also lowered as transportation methods change resulting in reduced shipments from outside the community. The prospering local business may provide support and investment in community groups. A city can become a destination for aspiring entrepreneurs from other locations when it gains the reputation as a place where its citizens provide support. More local business means more local jobs and less commuting producing happier employees. Reduced driving also provides more benefit to the environment.
So how does one go about promoting local buying? Use of social media is a key driver. Make yourself easy to find on search engines and clearly identify your location. Keep an eye on your Yelp reviews addressing any comments personally while treating the writer as your neighbor. Join and be active in the Chamber of Commerce. Attend their events and offer to be part of leadership when possible. Connect with the community. For example, schools are always looking for sponsorship perhaps in return for a banner at their football stadium. Give visibility to your business on a career day. And if fitting, have a presence at community picnics and celebrations.
Finally, this may take some creativity but think about how to bring in traffic by offering services or products that are unique to the area. Having locally available product provides a better selection for consumers while prompting visitors from out of the area to come and shop. It can provide better services based on the need of the community and in the end promote local prosperity
Ted Saul is a business coach that assists with Business Plans and Project Management. He holds a master certificate in project management and has earned his MBA from Regis University. Ted can be reached on LinkedIn, TedS787 on Twitter or emailing Ted@tsaul.com.