The word “locavore”, referring to a person who eats at locally-owned restaurants and buys locally-sourced foods, has been popular for some time. Its durability proves the label is more than a trend, and people young and old are making a point of eating local to support their communities and bring down their carbon footprint.
Locavores don’t have to restrict themselves to food, though. Your business can also be a locavore, and you can get into the habit of supporting other locally-owned establishments when you need goods and services. It can come back to benefit you, too, and not just because of karma. It’ll help your business grow – here’s why!
Keeping Your Money Local
They say a rising tide lifts all boats, and this is often very true for local economies. Building and strengthening the local economy will naturally help your business because the money you spend will stay local and can make its way back to you. One study out of Chicago found that for every $100 spent at local businesses, $68 stayed in the community; only $43 of every $100 spent at chains stayed local! Smaller businesses have an extra incentive to become personally invested in their community. They depend on local shops for supplies and service work, unlike a chain or large retail store, which often depends on a corporate supplier.
Buying local is not just a convenience. Your success and/or the success of your neighbor can keep jobs within the community, employ your friends and family, and allow people to patronize your business with their income. Remember that most businesses, regardless of current size, were small and local at their founding!
Building A Trusting Community
Supporting local businesses can put extra meaning behind the goods and services you need. It’s a lot easier to know and trust people when they’re local. This trust translates to more personalized service that can be tailored to and even anticipate your needs. Knowing the people operating your local car service center, for example, means they’ll be able to stock the right oils and filters for your specific car model. If you provide these sorts of perks in turn, you’ll establish a great long-term relationship.
This improves not just customer relations, but customer service. A business dependent on local customers will go the extra mile to keep themselves in business. It leads to a friendlier, personal approach to dealing with problems and finding solutions, and both parties will come to treat each other fairly! Local businesses are also more likely to give back to local charities and initiatives, doing “good” for your immediate community and helping to strengthen social and economic relationships.
There are even more benefits to staying local: it lowers your carbon footprint, gives your neighborhood a one-of-a-kind flavor, and can even improve your health by forcing you to buy locally-grown, organic food. But the most immediate returns for your business will be in the pocketbook. Turn your business into a locavore and start seeing both short-term and long-term benefits!