I know firsthand how difficult it is to make a profit as a small business. Buzz words like “Be Your Own Boss” and “Set your own hours” are complete crap. When you truly own your own business, you are at the mercy of the people buying your product/service. If you don’t put out a quality product on time, you don’t get paid. Period. My husband is a small business owner and instead of 9-5 he put in more. He was there early if there was a delivery or production day, he stayed late if the production demanded it. His price was higher than a nationally owned business, but what he offered the customer was priceless: attention to detail, on call 24/7 support, and a thorough knowledge of the industry.
That is why I always support local over national businesses. While I am thrilled when a small business like the tiny coffee shop in Seattle named Starbucks makes it big, I see my friend down the street that roasts his own coffee beans and go to purchase from him. With small business, it isn’t business, it is personal.
Just recently, I disconnected my cable service from Cox Communications. Now I realize it is the responsibility of the call center agent to try and turn over as many disconnects as possible into staying customers. However, when I shared with her my passion for supporting local/small businesses, she tried to claim Cox Communications is a local business.
What exactly is a local business? I will tell you one thing: Just having call centers in my area does not make you a local business. In fact, it is the presence of call centers at all that sets you apart from my local communications company. When small businesses get that large, what suffers is the customer service. Instead of calling and talking to someone in the office here in my town, I respond to a computerized voice and wait for the next available operator. Then, when they realize there actually is something technically wrong, they have to see when the next technician will be in my area. Waiting on hold for an operator then waiting for someone to even be in my area means you are not a local/small business.
Local/Small business owners do it ALL. Their homes and future depend on making on profit. If purchasing shoes, my coffee, my vegetables and my furniture from a local business helps someone in my town to support their families, I will gladly choose them over the national competitor. It isn’t a difficult choice.
How do you support local? Who do you buy from? I challenge you to take 30 seconds today and comment on a local business’s Facebook page. Tell them a quick thank you for being awesome. Let me know you did!