Chapter Three: What Happens When We Shop Local?
We have all heard a lot this past year about “shopping small” and “supporting local.” Of the many slogans and mantras that will define this time in history and the myriad ways people reacted, these were some of the more unifying phrases. As consumers, we collectively understand that when we shop local, our dollars are going right back into the community and provide opportunities for growth. As business owners, however, these opportunities are even greater.
Entrepreneurs make decisions every day about who they work with and where they source their needs. When it comes to the services or materials required to keep small companies afloat, business to business (B2B) transactions that prioritize other local companies are a vital link in the supply chain and in increasing the impact of local support.
When local businesses partner with other local businesses, the opportunities for growth in our professional relationships are boundless. Whether for marketing or editorial services, such as what Noteworthy offers, or other day-to-day necessities, our vendors are the outside associates that keep our companies operating smoothly.
Recruiting vendors from within our own community allows for that personal service that is just impossible for larger corporations to match. When you have a question about an order or need to confirm a delivery, having the mobile number of your vendor at your disposal is certainly preferable to waiting on hold with an automated menu of options for an hour.
Working with other local entrepreneurs means that you are helping each other to achieve your goals. This all occurs as you are expanding your professional network. Referrals from trusted sources can be the lifeblood of any small business, and your vendors and fellow entrepreneurs can prove to be both a treasure trove of referrals for you and recommendations on your behalf to potential customers.
Choosing to spend our hard-earned money in local businesses, even if the price tag might be a little higher, is a long-term investment that ultimately comes back to us every day. We see the dividends in the number of jobs available in our community and the expansion of the local tax base, which allows for the funding and maintenance of public institutions such as schools, libraries, and emergency services, as well as infrastructure projects.
So often, the national economy is judged by components that rarely affect the average citizen, such as the stock market. The real wealth of a town, however, can be assessed by more practical measurements, such as the quality of the public roads or the variety of extracurriculars offered for students at every level of education. By shopping local, we can all help to keep the money local, too.
As individual members of a larger society, we all want to prosper and see that prosperity mirrored back to us when we step outside our front doors. This requires a committed investment and continuous economic circulation that powers our neighborhoods. When a town’s commerce is healthy, residents can sense it in any number of ways, from cleaner streets and safer neighborhoods to higher wages from local employers.
Every town likes to tout its uniqueness as a matter of pride. Sometimes that unique quality comes through historic landmarks, or a beautiful mural, or a championship trophy, but when local businesses choose to partner with each other, that pride is evident everywhere.
A big box store offers variety and convenience, but a stroll through the business district can draw someone into the true personality of a community and the passion that drives its entrepreneurs. That is one of the key ingredients to any local flavor. All you must do is check out the sponsorship pages in the high school’s musical program or the billboards at the youth league park. This is really what keeps communities unique and thriving.
As previously discussed in Chapter Two: Making the Choice for Peace of Mind, choosing associates and partnerships that you will trust with your business is an important decision. However, these are also the foundation of the greater community spirit. As entrepreneurs, we must practice what we preach when we ask customers to support us by supporting local, and do the same when it is our business that requires assistance in our operations.
At Noteworthy Communications, we choose to make an impact locally through small B2B operating practices, and the more we do so, the more we come to discover and appreciate the hidden gems of our own community and the people that keep it running every day. As a business owner and as a consumer, this instills a sense of pride and comradery that we are working with people with similar goals.
Noteworthy Communications was born during a tumultuous time for small businesses, but we knew that was precisely why our services would be useful. We make it our mission to create positive conversation around the institutions that make our communities what they are, offering that personalized service unattainable by larger communications corporations to promote the hard work and passion of our neighbors in their own missions every day.