We talk a lot at ShopCity.com about why consumers should support local businesses, so this time we’re going to switch it around. Let’s talk instead about why and how local businesses should support their customers, nearby businesses and sometimes their competitors (gasp!).

1. Wow Your Customers

When your customer comes through your door, gives you a call or even texts you… wow them! With so many choices on the table these days, when a customer contacts you it means they’ve made a deliberate decision to support local rather than online, big box or out-of-town. Let’s celebrate those small decisions and encourage more of them. Let’s congratulate those customers for making the right decision. And selfishly, let’s make sure they tell all their friends about us and why they just love supporting local businesses. Amazing customer service is one of the top two reasons to support local businesses (that and building a stronger local economy), so let’s blow their socks off with unmatched support and service!

2. Talk Up Nearby Businesses

The great part about small business is that we are surrounded by other entrepreneurs with the same passion, the same challenges and the same drive to make it happen. In a time where online, big box retailers and corporate service providers are breathing down our necks, we also need to support each other. It’s refreshing to walk into a local store and see a board of loca business cards right at the front door. Or to hear an entrepreneur build up another by making a suggestion to a shopped. It’s something we need to all do a little more of. As business owners, let’s educate our customers about the other “Shop Local” resources we have in our community. Let’s come together and create a web of local business; it will only make each of our businesses stronger. Share a post on social media, recommend a local business to a customer, collaborate on an event or promotion: Let’s build each other up!

3. Send Business To Your Competitors

It might seem out of the ordinary to suggest that you should support your competitors, but when it comes to Shop Local it’s not a “Me vs. You” fight, it’s an all out “Us vs. Them” throwdown (Us = Local Biz, Them = The Big Guys). I see this at businesses in Brantford all the time: a local downtown business owner brings their newly-opened competition down the block a welcome plant, a family-owned garden centre doesn’t have exactly what a customer needs, but suggests a local option down the road. Sometimes, we can’t fulfill the needs of every customer who comes knocking, but knowing someone local – even if they’re your competitor – keeps that consumer spending in our local economy. It usually also means they will come back around when they need something else, because you’ve proven to be a reliable expert in your industry. That means something.
Let’s get a little more connected, let’s create amazing experiences for our local supporters, let’s build each other up and let’s do everything we can do – together – to keep it local. If it’s “Us vs. Them” your small business community can kick some “big box” butt!