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Why support local small business?

Sadly, about 50% of all small businesses that are started fail within the first 2 years, and 80% within 3 years – considering the amount of positive outcomes that are created from the existence of small businesses, that is not a very good statistic.

If more people were to actively support small and local businesses, this statistic could be significantly improved. Most entrepreneurs that you meet are passionate about what they do and they generally put their heart and soul into their business, and often for very small returns.

Having been an entrepreneur for the last 25 years, this subject is very close to my heart.

By helping local businesses succeed, there are benefits for ourselves, the economy and our communities too. Here are some of the key benefits:

JOB CREATION

Did you know that a whopping 68% of the South African workforce is employed by small to medium size businesses?

The current unemployment rate in South Africa is 27.6%. Given the workforce statistic above, you can clearly see how supporting these businesses can help solve this problem.

Living in a country where so many of our youth are leaving within a couple of years of completing school, is having a huge impact on families as well, spreading them all over the world.

While entrepreneurs are creating an employment opportunity for themselves, they are very often creating jobs for other people too. This in itself, solves a whole bunch of other problems that we, as South Africans, are facing today.

BOOSTS THE ECONOMY

Entrepreneurs have been said to be the driving force of our economy….WHY?

  • Local brands will mostly use local suppliers, which create a chain reaction for local business.
  • Supporting local means that the bulk of the money earned stays within the local community.
  • Creating more jobs and keeping money in the community will have a knock on effect because there won’t be such a drain on the economy having to deal with crime and unemployment and often the health implications caused by a stressed community.

EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT

Entrepreneurs are often more aware of doing business in a way that is kind to the earth !

  • Cutting out long distance transportation definitely lowers the impact on the environment.
  • Entrepreneurs often work from home or very close to home; this again means less travel and less carbon emissions.
  • Working from home also means shared resources and therefore less impact on the earth.

SOME MORE ADVANTAGES OF SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESSES

Entrepreneurs are more likely to run their business in a mindful way!

  • The owner has their finger very much on the pulse of the business and their interaction with you is likely to be a lot more personal.
  • Because entrepreneurs are dependent on every bit of business, they will go to much greater lengths to keep customers happy.
  • Many business owners are very heart driven and it becomes about so much more than just making money.
  • You will often find innovative products and services supplied by smaller businesses, as the ideas for business often come from a personal need or gap in the market.
  • If more entrepreneurs succeed it will inspire confidence in other budding entrepreneurs to go out and do the same.

HOW ELSE CAN YOU SHOW YOUR SUPPORT

Given all these advantages, here are some ideas of how you can help!

  • Be patient and realize that the person you are dealing with is probably doing their absolute best to help you.
  • They may not have the scale of economy of a huge business, so prices may be a little higher – don’t beat them down, what you lose on the price, you will make up for in so many other ways.
  • If you are also an entrepreneur, don’t fall into the trap of trying to do it all yourself, rather spend your time doing what you are good at and pay another entrepreneur or employee to do what they are good at. Women are especially guilty of this mindset of “can’t afford to outsource” and in the process end up not having time to do what they set out to do.
  • When you see an entrepreneur posting on social media, give them a like or a share – you never know what impact that may have on their business and in turn all of the above.
  • If you are happy with a local product or service, go and give them a shout out on social media and refer them to your friends and family.

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