I have spent more than a few years advocating for, encouraging, and teaching small business ownership to people in my community. Over the last year, I have been doing this form of evangelism strongest with some of my closest friends, neighbors, and former classmates. The environment has been ripe with corporate downsizing and life awakenings. Given my background, they come to me for advice and I freely give it (literally).
Entrepreneurship is not only good for the business owner, but also his or her community. A commonly referenced 2004 study by Civic Economics, Inc showed that in Chicago, IL, $1 spent at a locally owned restaurant would yield 27% more back to the local economy than a chain restaurant. When it came to retail, the benefit was increased to 63% when comparing local to national chains, and 90% more for services (ahem, ahem). This is because the local firm is more likely to use local suppliers and spend profits locally as well whereas the national firm sends many expenses back to their out-of-state headquarters to pay for overhead and is likely supplied by out-of-state vendors. The benefit is called the “local multiplier effect”.
Several areas across the country have started “Buy Local” organizations for their communities…
unfortunately, I have learned that my community does not have a formal organization Sustain-a-Bull has promoted several buy local campaigns throughout Durham. Anyway, these organizations can act as advocates for locally owned businesses – a great support for anyone wanting to get into business.
Because of what I have seen accomplished by random entrepreneurs, I am convinced that anyone can own a business and be successful just by making sure they do, at the very least, these three things: follow up, follow through, and get support – it truly takes a village applies to so many areas of life.
What have you done to support the success of local entrepreneurs? Do you feel an obligation to spend a percentage of your disposable income or business income on local business? Let’s discuss in the comments.