This Thanksgiving and all holiday season, it’s important to show gratitude to the heartbeat of our communities: small businesses. Whether you celebrate informally with food and football, or go all out with a dining experience, or travel to see family or friends, you can celebrate and support small businesses during this time of the year (and avoid Black Friday crowds at the same time).
If you’re a small business owner, you can drive loyal customers by giving the incentives to shop with you. If you’re a shopper, you’ve got options to keep it in the community. Keep reading to learn more about what you can do.
Why Small Business Matters Most
Did you know there are 33.2 million small businesses in the United States (U.S.) today, according to Forbes? And 99.9% of businesses today are small businesses. So, while the big tech firms make the news, the heartbeat of our cities and towns across the U.S. are small businesses, often with no employees and a single owner. This might sound familiar to you if you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner with your own shop or services firm.
So when you desire that morning cup of coffee or need pet food, look no further than local. Even though shopping local can present some challenges, such as pricing and availability issues, your local shops can typically get anything unavailable quickly from their vendor. And these local businesses are unparalleled in their customer service and will go above and beyond to help you and create a positive shopping experience.
What Shoppers Can Do
From patronage ideas to community-driven initiatives, here are a few ideas to help uplift and champion the businesses that enrich our neighborhoods every day:
- Shop local. This is perhaps the easiest tip of all! Whether you’re a small business owner or you are a holiday shopper, spend your hard-earned money at the local shops and stores. Your local shops often have more unique, one-of-a-kind items than big box stores — which can make perfect holiday gifts. The owners are your friends and neighbors and the more you shop there, the more prosperous your town will be. You can purchase goods or gift certificates, too – that’s about as easy as gifting comes. And many small businesses are now online so if you prefer clicking to visiting a brick-and-mortar store, you can do that, too.
- Participate in giving days. You may be familiar with Giving Tuesday (usually right after Thanksgiving), but you can also keep an eye out for other giving days throughout the year – especially around the holidays. The holidays are a critical time for local, small businesses to make a large portion of their money for the year. With giving days, you can also help support them in another way through a donation.
- Volunteer in your community. Are you a shop owner in your community? Get out and get to know your neighbors by volunteering at a local library or shelter. Bonus: you will not only get to know your community members better, but you will also be helping build community support and showcasing your small business at the same time.
How Small Business Owners Can Help
- Offer the best customer service. As a small business owner, you can provide customer services that goes above and beyond. After all, this is your business and making sales truly affects whether your doors stay open or not. So, take that extra step to help people find what they need, return what they don’t – and do it all with a winning smile. This is how you gain customer loyalty for the future and longevity of your small business.
- Listen to your customers. There are many ways you can listen to your community members and do something kind to support them. Offer free coffee in-store for a day, or just offer an extra ear when they want to talk. You can even host a customer appreciation day with special deals or a small percentage off of sales to show them how much they mean to you and your store. Going the extra mile for them means they may go the extra mile for you, too.
- Invest in your community. Sponsor or partner to host a local event or donate in your neighborhood. And hire local folks to work at your business. When you invest in your community and they invest in you, the money stays in your city or town – and you get to help people at the same time.
- Source from local artisans and makers. If you have a card shop or small boutique, purchase from local craftspeople service providers, and artisans. That way, you’re also supporting and shopping local, too and forming strong relationships in your community.
Celebrating Small Businesses – Not Just on Holidays
With these easy tips for shoppers and small business owners, local stores will be thriving this holiday season — and always. You don’t have to wait until the holidays to start making these changes, too.
Unfortunately, small businesses took a huge financial hit during the pandemic — and some didn’t make it. Economic uncertainty, inflation, and employee retention have also fueled uncertainty for small businesses, so they need your support now more than ever. Supporting small businesses makes an impact on your local economy and it’s even good to lower your carbon footprint and help the environment.
As a shopper, you can feel good about supporting your local business owners and community. And as a small business owner, you’ll also be making a positive impact on your community while you run your successful business — and that gives everyone a lot to be thankful for.
Ready to start a local business in your community? Guidant Financial can help with financing. You can even pre-qualify today.