There are so many great reasons to support small businesses. Even more so during these challenging times of the coronavirus and lockdowns! During the first lockdown earlier this year, I was so impressed with the ingenuity of local small businesses. So many of them came up with unique ways to keep going despite having to close their doors to the public. Some shops started websites for the first time, some restaurants started pop up outdoor takeaways and most seemed to offer some kind of discount or benefit to the stars working in our NHS.
That’s one of the great things about small businesses, they can pivot more easily and be quicker to adapt to a changing environment. But that doesn’t mean they don’t suffer at times like these, and they will need our support to keep going.
We often associated shopping small with local brick and mortar stores. But even during these times of mostly online shopping you can still support small businesses. Here are some reasons why supporting small businesses is a great idea, as well as plenty of ideas on exactly how you can do this.
Reasons to shop small
Even from a purely selfish point of view, shopping small has a lot of benefits!
- Small businesses are run by actual people rather than boards and shareholders who are removed from the customers. This usually means that they understand and care more about their customers and that profit isn’t the only consideration.
- Customer service is usually better and more personal – an algorithm can only do so much in terms of helping you find the right product for your needs.
- Small businesses generally offer more diversity and supply more unique products or services than big companies.
- Independent businesses can be more adaptable and so can respond to situations and customer needs more easily. A big chain store can’t customise any of their offerings for you, but small businesses are usually happy to.
- Shopping small is also usually better for the environment, especially if you shop local too. Small businesses are more likely to source their materials locally. They also create on a small scale, rather than mass producing via factories or sweat shops.
- Supporting small businesses encourages the generation of more innovative ideas and unique products.
- Small businesses generally have more character than large ones and a more interesting back story.
- The profits made by small businesses are more likely to go back to their local communities, as the owners spend their money locally, rather than being invested off shore or supporting fat cats’ lifestyles.
How to support small businesses
Supporting the small business movement is good for everyone and there are plenty of different ways you can do this.
- When you have the choice, choose to spend your money at small independent shops rather than chains or giant stores. It’s not always possible to do this all the time, and you don’t necessarily need to (it’s not inherently wrong to shop with a big company!) But make the effort to think more about where you’re spending your money.
- During lockdown try not to automatically go straight to the giants of online shopping. Check whether your local shops that are closed have websites you could shop from, or shop for gifts at online marketplaces like Etsy or Folksy that are made up of small businesses and solopreneurs.
And spending isn’t the only way to support small businesses…
- Spread the word on social media (use the hashtag #shopsmall). Tell others about terrific small businesses you’ve found, show yourself shopping with independent retailers or post pics of the fabulous products you’ve bought from a small business.
- When small businesses you follow post on social media you can help too. Share their post, like it, tag a friend or comment on it.
- Write reviews for small businesses when you’ve shopped with them – on Google, Trustpilot, Etsy, Folksy or wherever you can.
- Support Small Business Saturday – this is taking place on 5th December 2020 in the UK. It’s a grassroots, non-commercial campaign which aims to showcase small business success and encourage everyone to shop local and support small businesses in their area. They also have a search facility to find small businesses in your area.
Looking forward to hearing how you support small businesses and seeing your hashtags on social media!