How Supporting Small Businesses Can Give Your Own a Boost
If you haven’t noticed by now, 2020 has drastically changed the commercial arena. The page was already turning on a new era of retail, but the events of 2020 have flipped the world forward a few chapters, and we’re emerging into a totally altered economic landscape.
Before 2020 came along, there was already a growing movement away from the corporate giants toward shopping local, and more people had been realizing the benefits of buying from small and/or local businesses.
In another article about small business collaborations, we talked about some of the creative ways business owners can team up for their mutual benefit. In this article, we’re going to explore how shopping locally and supporting small shops in your own day-to-day life can benefit your own business.
Keep A Finger On The Pulse
The best way to stay up to date on what other business owners are doing is by simply shopping!
As a small business owner, it’s in your interest to keep up with current trends. And what better way to do that than to personally get out into the retail sphere and find out what people are offering—or more importantly, what people are buying?
Think of it as market research. Two heads are better than one, and multiple businesses watching trends and market developments create a wealth of consumer data that you can then tap into, all while enjoying some retail therapy. By checking out what other small businesses are doing, you can spot up-and-coming trends and styles, and adapt your own offerings to take advantage of them.
By shopping locally yourself, you not only see what products are in demand, you also get ample opportunity for creative inspiration. Even if the business operates in a totally different sphere than yours, their great ideas may be something that you can use in your own physical or online store.
And by engaging with the competition as a customer rather than a rival, you’ll get much better insight into how their business operates and what they’re doing right or what could be improved.
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
As a small business owner, you understand the value of foot traffic or, in the online world, “organic traffic.” By supporting local businesses, you’re adding to the overall movement away from faceless corporate retail and toward a brighter, more personal future.
By giving them your business, you’re boosting the small business industry in general. Larger companies figured this out a long time ago: for example, placing two different but competing supermarkets or pharmacies (CVS vs Walgreens, Publix vs. Walmart, etc.) across the street from each other increases sales for both businesses. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the increased traffic of people to a mutual location benefits both companies by creating a retail hub and a larger draw for shoppers.
In the physical realm, this means added footfall—when shoppers come to buy something from the store down the street from you, they walk past your store. More footfall also creates a sense of community and a ‘buzz’ around a high street or shopping district, which can only be good for business.
And in the online world, if a shopper has a positive experience from another small or local business, they’re more inclined to use a similar business when they go to purchase another item, whatever that may be. As the small business sphere is lifted, everyone is taken along for the ride.
Sweet, Self-Sustaining Symbiosis
By shopping at other small businesses, you can be creatively inspired to collaborate with other business owners in ways that mutually benefit you both.
This benefit is one of my personal favorites. In fact we’ve tackled the concept in another article right here. The idea is simple, but when executed correctly it can be tremendously effective.
During this last year, we’ve seen some incredibly creative collaborations between businesses in a bid to keep themselves, and each other, afloat.
For example, pizza places collaborating with neighboring micro-breweries to offer customers a “pie and pint combo.” Small bars with a patio but no kitchen pairing up with a food truck to supply outdoor, dinner and drinks. A bakehouse partnering with an ice-cream parlour to offer delicious cookies and ice-cream medleys. The combinations are endless.
By supporting other small businesses yourself, you open up the possibility of lucrative partnerships and mutually beneficial relationships.
Share The Online Love
When you use a small business, remember to check out their social media pages and show your support by liking, following and sharing. We all hear it so much, but it really does help to get the word out there, and increase customer confidence and engagement. By taking the time to do so, you’ll be sure to feel the love in return.
By using your own business’s social media to promote and recommend other small companies, you help to create a mutually supportive community of retailers. The big retail giants don’t do this as it would go against their corporate code, but as an independent business you’re free to show your appreciation for other small businesses, even if they’re competitors. What this does is boost your customer confidence and increase followers, and website traffic, to both your online and physical stores. It’s a win-win.
Pursuing A Common Objective
Whatever you can do to elevate other small businesses, just like your own, is mutually beneficial. Buy from them, collaborate with them, engage with their online presence—it all helps, and in turn it will boost your own efforts.
Interested in reading more small business tips? Catch up on all of our helpful guides.