The business world grows more and more competitive by the minute. Standing out and getting recognition is a challenge that many small business owners struggle with each day. Corporate competitors make it increasingly difficult to offer all the products and services that consumers demand at affordable prices.
How can small businesses differentiate themselves from brand name corporate competitors? Just like the recent “going green” trend in business, “going local” can transform the way that small business operate and set them apart from big chain stores. Here are a few ways that “going local” can benefit small businesses:
Treat Customers Right. Small businesses offer more personalized service to customers. There is something to be said when you can walk into a grocery store and the cashier knows your name. Hiring local employees to serve customers is a good way to start building meaningful, customer-centered relationships. It is also important to go above and beyond the call of duty to meet customer needs. This is relatively simple to initiate, yet will fuel word of mouth at the grassroots level in the small business community.
Build Relationships. Stocking your shelves and resupplying your office with goods from local vendors is a great way to build relationships in the community. For example, a restaurant owner who buys produce from a local farmer creates a unique bond that has the potential to last a lifetime. In addition, the restaurant owner is contributing to the sustainability of the farm, therefore enabling further growth and development in the community. The model of local, sustainable relationships is what has propelled many restaurants, such as the famous Chez Panisse, into international limelight.
Save on Time & Money. While other vendors and suppliers may feature lower prices on goods, the cost of traveling across town and/or paying shipping expenses add up quickly. If you weigh the price against the cost of procuring the items, it is likely that you will find some extra savings when you buy local. Time is money, and a great deal of time can be saved by buying products locally.
The economic recession has made things increasingly difficult for small business owners. Now more than ever, going local can help restore normalcy. The local trend is growing just as fast as the going green trend did. It’s time to reach out and help build sustainability in local communities – and watch your bottom line grow.