Thursday, June 11, 2009

Value of small business

Why is it important for small business owners to support other small businesses? There are several considerations in where we spend our money which should help to clarify the value in small business owner’s spending money and sharing resources with each other.

First and foremost, you are a small business owner. Supporting those who are trying to also build a small business is good for you and good for them. Yes, you may pay a lower price for the identical product at a big box store. But can you get the same service and support from the big box. Generally the answer will be no.

Like you the small business owner understands the importance of providing outstanding customer service. Generally you will find the service from a small business to be superior to the big box store. Why, because you are dealing with the owner or an employee who has a more vested interest in seeing the business succeeds. With the same generality the minimum wage employee at the big box store could care less about the customer. They just want to finish their shift and get off of their feet.

It is that service which sets you apart from your competition. And do you know what? It is the little extra you invest in your customer that will keep them coming back to you. You may offer the same widget as the big box and it may be at a slightly higher price. The customer is willing to pay the extra when they are treated fairly and they feel they have a relationship with the business.

Having a strong working relationship with other small businesses allows for you to create a network and solidify your relationship in the community. These relationships can allow you to attract the kinds of customers you are looking. Customers begin to identify you as a contributor to your community.

This brings us to the next point. As a small business owner it is vital you become engaged in your community. Support the causes you find important. Be sure to let your community know how you intend to give back. People are more inclined to do business with companies which support them and local concerns.

You have a great opportunity to show you are reinvesting in the community which supports you. Unlike the big box stores who wire their deposits to some distant bank. The money they take from the community has little chance of being reinvested and used to improve the local community. Your dollars stay local and continue to work in your community.

The challenge comes for you to think about where you are spending money. Many small business owners feel the pinch and want to save all the money they can. This is understandable but you must consider the impact and example you make when you do all you can to buy from locally owned and operated businesses.

Why would you expect a fellow business person to utilize your services or buy your goods when you don’t support them? There are many arrogant business owners who feel they don’t need to do any of this. Their product or service is good enough that they don’t need to support anyone else. They are fools. This same arrogance will eventually kill their business.

Your customers do notice. When you buy cheap from the big box, what is that saying to your customer. If you are trying to appeal to the demographic that also looks for the best bargain then you are on track. If you are appealing to a demographic that is looking for the best quality and service then you need to be willing to utilize companies which are appealing to the same target demographic.

Thrift is important but thrift also involves understanding your return on investment. If you are able to attract a more affluent demographic because you are investing a little more on the goods you buy then you are in a position to increase your sales averages.

The big box store serves its purpose. One even operated on the mantra of “stack it high and sell it cheap”. If you want to be identified with such a philosophy then you are in the right place. If not consider supporting the guy down the street who is, like you, working to make a living, support his family and be a positive contributor to his community.

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