Small and independent businesses are at the heart of our communities and it’s now more important than ever for the community to get behind them and show our support. SMEs make up 99.9% of the total number of businesses in the UK and provide 59.1% of all private sector jobs. The South East has the largest number of enterprises (16.3% as compared to London’s 15.8%). It’s important that we as a local community support and do business locally.
Great for the local economy
Local businesses are the backbone of our economy and shopping at local businesses is much better for the economy of your community than using large chains or faceless Companies. A strong culture of buying locally is the foundation of a sustainable local economy. Research has shown that spending £10 with a local independent shop, means up to an additional £50 goes back in to the local economy.
Creates local jobs
When you shop at, and invest, in your local businesses you help create more jobs in the local community. Did you know that small local business is largest employer nationally and provides jobs to the residents of our communities? In some areas local employers are actually more likely pay better wages and provide better benefits for their workers
Supporting British entrepreneurs
By buying from local businesses you are supporting the people who have helped make this country what it is, the great British entrepreneurs. Innovators such as Sir Alan Sugar, who started selling car aerials from the back of a van bought with his savings, relied heavily on the support of the local community to kick start the growth of his business during early difficulties. So why not go and buy from your local businesses? You might just be giving the next Richard Branson that gentle push in the right direction.
More personalized service.
Having the owner nearby also means that owner personally knows his customers. He knows the products you buy or the services you request on a regular basis and can tailor services to make your experience even better. A local gardening shop owner may learn about a new product on the market that can help you with a pest control problem you mentioned on one of your visits, for instance, and can order that product as part of his selections.
Buying local has benefits beyond mere convenience. When you support local business owners, you get a better level of service, as well as helping make your community a better place to live. This is in addition to the health benefits and access to unique products that you usually can’t find with chain locations.
Shops are more creative and unique
Local high streets are home to those amazingly diverse and quirky little shops that will stock the ‘where did you get that’ jewellery as well as all the other fun products you just can’t find anywhere else. In order for these local businesses to be able to compete with each other they must find their own style and identity in order to stand out so they choose products based on their own personal interests rather than a national sales plan. This makes local businesses ideal for finding that unique and personal gift that is perfect for the ones you care about.
They help build communities/ community identity
Communities can be defined by the distinctive businesses along the high street and the personalities of the owners who run these shops. A high street filled with vibrant shop fronts is the perfect place to meet and interact with the local community. This is exemplified by local cafes, craft shops and bookstores who try to stimulate custom by hosting events such as knitting clubs and book discussions. Not only this, but these events have a dual nature as they can also act as a catalyst for increased community spirit and identity. Furthermore the shop owners you interact with are the same people who run the local kids football team or organise charitable events in the community. So supporting local businesses helps you support your friends and neighbours.
Local businesses invest more into charities and the community
Buying locally also means that you are indirectly supporting your own community because local businesses are known to be much more generous in terms of giving back to their own community. Researchers have found that non-profit organisations receive on average 250% more support from small businesses than they do from large businesses. Local businesses are often heavily involved with community events and supporting local causes because they live in the local area and are just as interested in helping and pushing for improvement in the community as you are!
Good for the environment/ Ethical choice
It has been found that using local business is also much more environmentally friendly than shopping at large corporations. Small independent businesses source locally and use less packaging than large retailers. This reduces their global footprint as they require less transportation costs and pollution, and leads to far less waste which only goes to fill up landfills. Added to this, local businesses are predominantly within walking distance or within easy access of public transport whereas large megastores tend to be situated on the fringes of many towns. This means that by shopping locally you can do your bit in saving the environment by reduced car use, leading to less air pollution and cleaner communities.
Shopping in your local high street or town centre is a much more enjoyable experience than looking around one large superstore or trying to find your way through the maze of a large shopping complex. Local shopping gives you the opportunity to interact and socialise with the employees as well as having the chance to bump into friends and family within the local community, therefore supporting your local businesses can make your trip more than just a quick visit the shops.
So next time you need something look for it local. Search websites such as Yell, Gumtree and help a small business to grow.