As consumers, we have an enormous amount of power over local businesses, and most of us don’t even realise it. Every time we spend money in the marketplace, we’re casting a vote with our dollars on which businesses will succeed and which will fail. This can be scary, but it also means that we have the ability to change things in our communities just by shopping at the right places. To help you make better purchasing decisions, here are 10 ways to support your local business.
1) Eat at Local Independent Restaurants
There’s something magical about sitting in a nice quaint restaurant enjoying a meal or sipping on a delicious café latte in one of your city’s popular laneways. You’ll be supporting a local business as well as being able to experience the unique vibe and atmosphere that only an independent business can provide.
2) Explore and Travel Your Own Country, City or Town
If you love traveling, why not make it a point to explore your own town or city first? Each of us has a unique culture that we can learn about right in our own backyard. Whether it’s history, food, art or music – there are so many things to discover that you may never even have known existed. The next time you want to travel somewhere new, consider taking a trip around your own area instead. You might be surprised at what you find!
Australia is such a beautiful country, and it’s easy to take it for granted when you are a local. We have so many diverse cities, towns, national parks, beaches, mountains etc. Next time you’re itching for a bit of a break, consider a little road trip or perhaps venture to the opposite side of the country – that’s like an overseas trip in itself (distance wise).
3) Shop Online at Locally Owned Websites
When you shop online, avoid using big-box retailers and instead support your local business. Not only do locally owned businesses help build your community and contribute to its culture, but they can also help you find niche products that big stores don’t carry. Use Google to search for local websites and/or store fronts. You might be surprised by what you find! If there isn’t a website or storefront in your area, try shopping at a nearby city or town – you might be surprised by how much variety is available from just across town.
4) Attend Local Markets and Festivals
Supporting local businesses is a great way to keep your community thriving. Take some time out of your week, and visit local markets or festivals in your area. Small businesses that take part in these local events are generally family own and operated so you know where your money is going, supporting local families. Your purchase could be contributing to their kids school fees or weekly groceries. You can learn about products or services that might be useful for yourself or others. You can also ask questions and have conversations with people who make what you use on a daily basis. You’ll get an opportunity to support small business owners while learning more about your local economy!
5) Purchase From Friends and Family in Business
Support friends and family in business by using their services or purchasing their products. Doing business with friends can be awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. Of course, don’t do business with them just because they’re your friend; however, if they meet your expectations in all areas of the job or product e.g. quality, communication, timely, etc. Then it would make sense to deal with them instead of hiring someone else. This way, it’s a win-win situation. You get what you want and your friend or family gets more business and support.
6) Get Involved in Community Projects
When your business is a part of your community, it’s important to give back and support those that support you. Consider volunteering your services or products to local charities, schools, or non-profit organisations. If you have employees, encourage them to get involved in their communities as well. It will help build loyalty within your business while also improving your public image – and who doesn’t want that?
7) Don’t Ask Friends for “Mates Rates” or Discounts When Buying from Them
Showing support to friends and family buy purchasing their products or service at full price is one of the most genuine way of showing support. Don’t ask for “mates rates” or discounts as they’re trying to succeed in their business. If they offer and insist that they give you a discount then sure, accept it if you need to. In instances where you simply can’t afford it then of cause accept the discount or show your support some other way.
8) Volunteer for Charity Events and Campaigns
Spending money at your local business isn’t the only way to show your support. Giving your time and expertise to local businesses, like charities and community projects, will help you get more involved in your area. It’s a great way for you and others like you to bond over common interests and is also a wonderful way for small business owners – who have limited budgets to benefit from your talents. If you’re unable to volunteer your time directly, consider volunteering on behalf of a company or organisation by donating money or supplies.
9) Buy Direct From Farms That Are Open to The General Public
If you are anywhere near produce farms. Make them your first choice. Local farmers that sell directly to consumers provide a fresher product because they are selling straight from their own farm or greenhouse. Strawberries are a great example – some strawberry farms offer Pic Your Own visits during strawberry season. Not only will you get farm fresh strawberries but you can turn it into a lovely day out strolling through with friends or family.
So if possible, go buy some fresh produce straight from a nearby farmer instead of large supermarkets, where they’ve been in storage since who knows when. And while you’re at it, ask them about how they grow their produce and what’s used on their land – you may just learn something new!
10) Share and Like local business
When you share and like a business on social media, you not only become an advocate for that business but also help spread awareness of their services and reach new potential customers. People are more likely to support local businesses through recommendations from others, and have seen before in their neighbourhood. So share away!
11) Leave positive reviews for local business
Reviews are an excellent way for local businesses to attract new customers and generate positive PR. If you have a good experience with a local business, leave an honest review online. Even if it’s only something small – say, they delivered my package on time or delicious breakfast and so on – it can make all the difference to a business, especially for start-ups.
Support local businesses however you’re able to, whether it be free support like sharing and liking their business on social media or spending money at a local family café. If there’s a way for you to support a local business in your area, do it! These businesses make our communities strong and help keep small towns alive. If everyone spent more of their money at these locally owned businesses rather than big box stores or corporately owned online retailers, we could see an increase in jobs as well as stronger communities overall.