Why I love small business so much.
I love small businesses! You may assume my passion derives from the fact that I am a small business owner. But my love for small business goes a lot deeper than this. You only have to read my posts on social media to realise that I am very passionate about encouraging people to shop locally and small. In this blog, I want to share with you the story behind my passion.
Why am I so passionate about small business?
As many of you know, I was raised in a small Mallee town called Wycheproof. With a population of about 800 people, this little town was my world. My mum a cook at the Wycheproof Hospital, and my dad was a shearer. I grew up knowing that we all cared about each other in the community. That's how small towns work, and it’s what makes them so special.
In small-towns small businesses don't just want you to shop with them; they NEED you to. But by keeping a small business going, the benefits are enjoyed by everyone. Small businesses spend their dollars in the town, send their kids to the local schools, and support the local community. My very first job as a kid was in a small business. My employment history has only consisted of working in small family run and owned businesses.
When I am wearing my small business hat (so all the time), two sayings sit at the front of my mind 'Together we do better' and 'What comes around goes around'. If we lose the shops, the community goes too. It's up to all of us to keep our communities alive.
How does small business keep the local community alive?
Local businesses employ local people, more importantly, our local kids. They use the local tradies in their businesses. These locals then spend their money locally and support the local community. The more money in a town, the stronger the economy. A strong economy allows for better facilities, attracting more people to the area.
In Swan Hill, where my shop is, there are sadly too many empty shops. Each vacant shop tells a story of a business that closed because it wasn't viable, couldn't sell it or the owners were at retirement age. Many businesses have had to accept that they can't compete against the big-national chain stores. But each time we decide to spend our dollar with one of the big players, we're casting our vote against the local community.
What does a town look like without small businesses?
Imagine living in a town where there isn't a local shopping precinct. There wouldn't be cafés to enjoy a coffee with your friends, a CBD to wander through on a Saturday morning, and no local enterprise to employ our kids. Instead, there will be a handful of big stores that offer cheaper products, contactless checkouts and customer service through chatbots with operators who live offshore. It makes me sad.
I'm not sure about you, but I'd much prefer to walk into a shop where there's a person to serve me and answer any questions I may have. As for chatbots…. don't get me started!
I recently had a customer come in and share her frustrating experience with a national chain store. She ordered an item in mid-January. After four weeks of waiting for it to be delivered, she contacted customer service, which was a chatbot. She was told there was a delay because of the festive season. I don't know about you, but I think the festive season ends in December, and it was February! OMG!
What's the edge small business has over the big chain stores?
Small businesses offer good old fashioned customer service. When you buy from a small local business like mine, we care about your purchase. And I can tell you now that my website doesn't have a chatbot, and if it did, I would be the bot you'd be chatting to.
If you purchase something from me that has a fault or need to exchange for a different size, I must know about it! Send me a message, call me, or come into the shop. Whatever your issue, I will resolve it quickly for you. I am a stockist of many Australian brands, and they always back their products. My customers always walk away happy with the outcome.
Thanks to the push from Covid, most of us little guys also offer online shopping and free local delivery. When I post orders to my customers, I keep the tracking numbers to watch the delivery. I will let you know if there's going to be a delay. Every order is picked and packed with a lot of care and love. And there's always a little goodie in there as a thank you. Because to me, the little things count.
Why do I care so much? Because your purchase is not just the butter on my bread, it's my bread AND butter. I need your business. I can't afford for you to have a bad shopping experience with me. It's that simple. And I absolutely value your support.
It's up to all of us.
We need to ask ourselves what it would be like to exist in a world where we could only shop with the big chains. Now that's a scary thought. I'm not going to lie; they can more often than not beat me on price. The small business owner sometimes struggles to compete, but what I (along with all other small business owners) can offer is personalised service, genuine customer care and specialist product knowledge. In most cases, they also provide an inferior quality product, for example, fast fashion.
When you support me, the money stays in the community. I support many other small businesses, my kids attend local schools, and I love attending local events.
When a customer comes to my store looking for something in particular (other than kids clothing, of course), I send them to local shops that I know can offer what they need. I do this daily, and I know other stores send customers to my store. It’s how it should be—working together!
Sure, when you support my business, you support my dream and my family. But you are doing a whole lot more. You are actively choosing to support your local community.