Think of your neighborhood or local community for a moment. You come back home after a long day and you pass by your favorite bakery, which is right across the street. Every Tuesday and Friday, you stop at this local bakery to surprise your beloved ones with some delicious sweets. Now, imagine that there is no bakery or other local shop in the proximity of your home. Not fun, right?
Local businesses create a sense of belonging, providing character and individuality to a community. They enable local farmers, craftsmen, professionals, and other service providers to make a living and give back to their communities. They cover a variety of industries and most important, they enable locals to make a living by pursuing their passions. Unfortunately, their value and contribution are most of the time underestimated.
In this post, we are going to place the focus on small businesses and their positive impact on the overall well-being of local communities. Remember, just because a business is categorized as “small”, it’s not necessarily as small as you think. They are classified as businesses with up to 500 employees.
Establish a unique community identity
A well-established community with a respected identity creates a sense of pride, self-respect, unity, sense of belonging and social responsibility for people, groups, and organizations in it. The visual impression of a community is very important for its prosperity and reputation. Whenever you walk into a large chain, such as Walmart, you have no clue what community you are in. On the other side, when someone walks into a small local business, it creates a more intimate and personal relationship between owners and clients.
Local job opportunities
People that live in small towns are usually limited in terms of finding jobs that don’t require travel and commuting. An increasing number of people leave their hometowns for better opportunities. This action does not have a positive economic and social impact on the well-being of a community.
Fostering local jobs proves to be extremely effective in lowering local unemployment rates in economically distressed communities. A small business that hires locally does not only prove that it cares about the community, but it also keeps business professional and authentic. Local employees are aware of their surroundings and have the right knowledge to make valuable recommendations for tourists and locals as well. Localwise is an innovative platform that enables locals to find a wide range of jobs in the proximity of their homes.
Besides contributing to the identity of a local community, small business owners can build healthy and long-lasting relationships among locals. They are more likely to know their customers by name, leading to personal relationships that can’t be replaced. It makes them feel part of a strong community that shows great care and involvement in its prosperity.
They can form casual relationships, such as merchant’s associations or mentoring. They inspire locals and educate them on best business practices. Small businesses within communities tend to adopt and implement worksite health promotion programs (WHHPs). Worksite wellness programs introduce preventive strategies that improve employee health, such as public events and volunteering. Another unique characteristic of small businesses within communities is that most of the time, owners know each other and promote their products or services through word of mouth and referrals. They care about the well-being of the entire community and of the small businesses part of it.
Less infrastructure and low maintenance
As expected, small businesses require less work and maintenance compared to your standard large corporation. Since they are mostly small and don’t have complicated infrastructure requirements, their environmental footprint is almost nonexistent. Most locally owned businesses operate in remodeled and repurposed older downtown buildings. This leads to less public services and infrastructure required.
Small businesses create a greater community impact than many realize. They have the potential to form long-lasting relationships among community members, create local job opportunities, improve the overall well-being and community health while building a strong local identity. Remember, the most efficient way to promote your business within a community is to become involved in your town while being responsive to the vibe of your community.