When you support a local business, you support an entire community. According to McKinsey, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent over 98% of South African businesses and employ 60% of the country’s workforce across sectors. These ventures are also responsible for a quarter of job growth in the private sector, which is why it’s so important to source from and support small businesses wherever possible.
SPEND WISELY, SOURCE LOCALLY
During uncertain financial times, consumers and businesses count every cent. Meanwhile, local businesses count on our patronage to stay open. When you choose to buy from an independent, locally owned business instead of a national chain, a much larger portion of your money is returned to the local economy. This boosts job opportunities and injects a strong sense of culture into the community.
Below, we outline why it’s a good idea to source from small businesses.
Greater control: When you are further away from the different elements of your supply chain, you have less control over it. As such, local sourcing is a great business continuity strategy.
Reduced carbon footprint, reduced costs: When you source items from local suppliers, these goods don’t have to travel far to get to you and you don’t have to store them, which reduces your carbon footprint and your costs.
Better relationships: When businesses have personal relationships with the different producers and suppliers across their supply chain, it’s easier to address and resolve concerns and negotiate terms.
New marketing opportunities: More and more, modern consumers favour brands with a social conscience. As such, if your company decides only to support local suppliers, you can promote this decision as part of your marketing and advertising strategies, since this can attract a range of new customers.
Improved sense of community: They say that a rising tide lifts all boats; this is especially true for small businesses. Suppose a town or neighbourhood has a healthy small-business district. In that case, property values increase, and housing demand rises because the money spent at local companies adds value to the local economy, creates jobs, and benefits everyone who lives in the community.
More personalised experience: Local products are created with local consumers in mind.
ALTERNATIVE, FREE WAYS TO BACK A SMALL BUSINESS
While the best way to support small businesses is to shop with them as often as possible, there are other ways to help without spending a cent.
Share your experience: Many small businesses rely heavily on word-of-mouth advertising. When someone outside of the company speaks positively about the business, it builds buyer confidence and promotes trust. If you’ve had a great experience, tell people.
Get social: There are so many ways to show your support for local, small businesses using the Internet and social media. From liking a page and following the brand to sharing posts and commenting on content, every little bit helps. And if you’ve had a great experience, take a few minutes to write a review.
Don’t ask for discounts: We all love a good deal, but if too many customers expect discounts because they have a good relationship with the business owner, the business model becomes unsustainable. Like everyone else, small businesses need to get paid a reasonable rate for their time and work.
Be intentional about buying local: Shopping locally requires more thought and effort. If you want to go local, you need to be intentional about it. This doesn’t only mean choosing to support your local small business instead of the major retailer at the mall down the road. It also means thinking local all the time.