We've all heard it. Shop Small. Shop Local. Do we pay attention? Here's a different take....
I've heard it all the time! Until I started doing marketing with these small businesses, I'll admit, it didn't register like it should. Do I buy online? YES! Let's face it, sometimes it's just a better deal or more options. I think everyone can relate. Do I still buy from the box stores? Of course! I can't live without my Target workout clothes.
And I've also heard "Shop Local, your tax dollars stay here!", "Keep our community thriving and doors open!", etc. ALL TRUE but here's another view that opened my eyes.
I do a lot of seminars to business about Social Media. I've heard over and over the following:
"I don't know how we can keep our doors open much longer, we can't compete online"
"We stay open because of our Christmas Retail sales. If we have a bad Holiday Season in sales, I don't know what we will do."
Here are stories you DON'T always hear. Everything looks shiny and rosy as it should, but so many small businesses are feeling the crunch of technology.
"I quit my day job to make this dream a reality."
"I took a second mortgage on my home to start my business."
So can they all afford to do flashy marketing and offer deep discounts? Probably not, unless they carry a brand with Co-Op options. But most small businesses don't.
So they are scraping by to try to reach you. Is it a risk to start a small business? YES! Trust me, I know, I'm facing the same problems, in a different way than retail.
Am I suggesting you empty your online carts of all of your Black Friday 3 Day Sales online? Of course not! There are GREAT deals out there online, and you don't have to leave your jammies and hot cocoa to get them! Am I suggesting you avoid big national chains? It's impossible! Every day you will need something, whether it's groceries, cleaning supplies, etc that the big stores will have the best prices and large selection. I agree.....BUT.....
Take a moment to walk in to the next small, locally owned business and make a purchase. Whether it's a $5 pair of leggings at Dream Boutique in Norfolk or a holiday wreath at Treasures in Columbus. Are the prices better at a box store? Probably. Can my gym, The Max Fitness Center, give away memberships for $1? No, but they added a boxing ring with free classes to members.They pay the instructor to listen to me whine and complain and they listened to what people wanted and brought it. That's worth it in my book!
But I'm grateful that I can work one on one with these business vs. calling an 800 number to talk marketing. That perhaps you were the only one to walk in and you made their day and were greeted with a huge smile and had their undivided attention.
Whether you are in a town of 2 or a town of 20,000, find a small business and make their day! Most likely, the options you find online, don't compare to the handmade options you can find in your downtown local business.
There are so many reasons to somehow support these small businesses, even if it's $5 here and there, it helps. Power is in numbers.
Because when your child needs a high school job to pay a cell phone bill or you have a creative talent you'd like to apply to decor, health food stores, clothing stores, art galleries, music stores, etc., you'll have a place to work and shine!
Happy Holidays and thanks for reading! Follow me on Facebook for more on TheSocialB.
If it's on my mind, I'll tell you about it!