Why We All Need to Support the Small Business Owner
Posted on Feb 6, 2018
Finding a job is difficult. Automation and technology are replacing workers. Mergers and acquisitions have reduced millions of jobs. Retailers are closing up bricks and mortar sending staff to unemployment lines. Some companies are throwing in the towel. Some people are forced into retirement when they really can’t afford to be. The younger generation even with fancy degrees are struggling to land a decent job with nearly half of them over 25 still being supported by their parents in some way. There has to be something else. Fortunately, there's a flipside to the downside of lesser jobs.
Hail to the little guy. We're all becoming entrepreneurs.
Necessity is the mother of invention and now, investing and owning your own small business is super affordable and can be as little as having your own laptop and an internet connection. For some, it's a side hustle to augment their income and create a little more stability. Read the "$100 Startup" by Chris Guillebeau and you'll discover the countless ways anyone can be a small business owner. Whether it's an innovative startup venture that scales or a home-based business that offers a service, or a merchant, or freelancer, more and more people are hopping on the entrepreneurial bandwagon. In the USA alone, there are more than the 28 million small business account for 54% of all sales and it just keeps on growing.
But here's the not-so-good news: There’s a high mortality rate in the first year – 52% of small business are small home-based operations and 50% of those will fail. Many won’t last more than 5 years and hopefully, this is something Governments at all levels are focusing in on to improve these stats because this segment is big and growing.
We can all help. We can support small businesses.
There's an entrepreneur in every family. You have friends venturing out on their own. A local merchant just opened up shop in your area. There is small business all around us. Give them a shot at a contract or hire their services for something. Buy their products. Refer them, endorse them and give them a recommendation or a rating online. Tell your friends about them. Be loyal to them. Offer to help in some way that could improve their business. Give them discounts for their purchasing needs. Small business owners can support other small businesses, buying from one another, sharing resources, knowledge, customers and even sharing a purchase order for staple items where the price gets better by quantity. The point is small business has a face. It's you and me, your mom, your uncle, your friend. And we need to support one another.
The ROI on supporting the little guy: You get a big bang for your buck.
For starters, you're often talking to the head honcho themselves. In my experience, the small business owner will often bend over backward for their customers. I once needed to repair a small gas leak and when calling a major company, I nearly passed out with their charges that included a non-negotiable one-hour consult fee of $200 to tell me what was wrong. Then I was given a name of a father-son business that apparently did exceptional work. They were impeccable and a whole lot cheaper without cash grab 'consult' fees to tell me something I already know. Little did I know the gas company endorses this farther-son biz because that's how good they are. I also support a small local mechanic for the same reason rather than the big dealership that charges me upwards of 30% higher and then puts fear into my head by telling me I need to fix a number of other items for thousands of dollars. My local mechanic tells me like it is, gives me quality work, and saves me a good chunk of money.
But there's more return on your money than just dollars. What you get is the whole meal deal.
I buy awesome Italian cold-cuts from a local deli - freshest and cheapest in town sliced and wrapped to perfection. They also make a mean espresso and I love the experience and vibe of shopping there. I inevitably stay longer and leave with far more than I originally intended. That's because it's hip and fun and it just plain feels good to be there. It becomes a special outing rather than the chore of the big grocery shopping. Most people are in business because they're experts at something or do something exceptionally well. They provide a unique experience. They offer genuine customer service. You know, kind of like Cheers 'where everyone knows your name'. The great thing about small businesses is their ability to be highly flexible and accommodating. They can shift and change on a dime. Small businesses can customize and often go way above expectations. Small businesses are often specialty businesses where they provide or do something that carves out a little niche making them all the more attractive. They have something you can't find anywhere else.
Small business has a pulse and a heart.
And isn't nice knowing that supporting a small business is directly helping and supporting the owner and their family? Your patronage could make a huge difference in their survival and quality of life - particularly in the early years. It helps them to pay their rent or their mortgage or their kids' little league or dance class lessons and education. That alone should make you feel pretty darn good.
Perhaps life has come full circle when before the industrial era, everyone was a small business owner with a skill or craft or service they offered. Nowadays more and more are picking up a side-gig even if they do have a regular job. I don't know about you, but I kind of like the idea of more freelancers and local merchants. It's like giving business a name, and a face and a heart. Our real job is to support one another.