Americans love small business. If you ask them which institution in the country they trust the most, “small business” comes out right on top. We small business people are more trusted than big business, labor, even the church and the military (*). But now, America, it’s time to put your money where your heart is. Spend money with small business. Now. Especially during the holidays. And I’m going to tell you how.
Many of you spent the last 20 months buying almost everything online. As a result, huge online
companies and delivery services got even richer than they already were. Trust me, that humongous company named after a South American river doesn’t need you. Hey, the founder literally sends his money into outer space.
Meanwhile, your local small businesses—the retailers, the restaurants, the grocers, the salons—really do need your money. So does your local community. The money you spend with local
businesses—especially small businesses—circulates in your hometown, creating jobs and
improving your own economy. The taxes you pay when you patronize a small business supports
your schools and roads and fire departments.
Small businesses need your support and your money—especially during the holidays. So here are seven things you can do to support your local small businesses that you’ll find enjoyable, convenient, and with competitive prices.
1. Make small businesses your first choice, not your last
The most important thing you can do is to actually make a commitment to shop at small and local businesses first. That doesn’t mean you won’t also buy from big companies or online. It just means you’ll consciously make a decision to prioritize spending your money with small businesses first.
2. Shop and buy for the holidays now!
You’ve heard that there will be supply issues. The reality is that small businesses may not be able to compete with big box stores and online retailers for goods. That doesn’t mean you need to miss out. Shop soon at your local small business, while they’re most likely to have what you want (or something unexpected and great instead!).
3. Cut out the middleman
Small businesses make more money—much more money—when you buy from them directly. Companies like DoorDash or GrubHub take up to 30% or more. Online retailers typically take half. Whenever possible, buy direct. For example, my little 4-year old and 2-year-old nieces wanted certain American-made toys that were sold from many online retailers for their holiday gifts. Searching quickly online, I found the manufacturer. I bought directly from them. The price—including shipping—was almost identical, and the gifts are already there for the holidays.
4. Buy gift cards
A gift card from a local small business—whether a retailer, spa, salon, restaurant—makes a great gift. This is a terrific way to support your local business community and find the perfect gift for that hard-to-please person on your list.
5. Enjoy Small Business Saturday
What are you going to do with your relatives after Thanksgiving? Black Friday is so over. Small Business Saturday—the Saturday after Thanksgiving—is still fabulous. Enjoy the day by strolling your nearest Main Street to shop, having coffee at an independent coffee shop, finding a great book and gifts at an independent bookstore, dining at a local restaurant. A great day!
6. Order online from local stores
Or call. Don’t want to leave the house? Shop online from your local small businesses. Many of them have ecommerce websites. If they don’t? Pick up the phone to order.
7. Shop local
Not everything you want will be available from a small business—either online or in your community. When that happens, make it your priority to buy from a LOCAL big business, like a superstore. At least the taxes and jobs stay in your own community.
I love small businesses. They’re what make communities interesting and unique and lively. Your
neighborhood small business owners are the ones who support the Little League, the churches
and synagogues and mosques, the food banks. As a sign I saw once said, it’s “Buy Local or Bye-
Bye Local.” The survival of your local small businesses depends on YOU.
- Small Business 70%
- Military 69%
- Medical System 44%
- Church/Organized Religion 37%
- Banks 33%
- Large Tech businesses 29%
- Organized Labor 28%
- Big Business 18%
Copyright Rhonda Abrams, 2021
This article originally ran in USA Today on December 3, 2021