At a business training seminar, the trainer suddenly stopped and asked me a question, ” why should I buy from you instead of Amazon, Next, John Lewis?” I was unprepared and just responded immediately, ” because small independent businesses like ours provide personal customer services.” She seemed unimpressed by my answers, and replied that she didn’t want the personal aspect of customer services, she preferred no personal interaction, she just wanted to buy what she needed and be done with it. Whilst I appreciated her honesty, her question also got me thinking, why should people buy from small independent businesses?
1. No chatbots
You won’t have to speak to chatbot, you won’t have to wait on the phone for what seems like eternity to speak to a real person on the phone / be transferred to one department to another. Independent businesses have a much smaller team and therefore, easier to do business with. The person you speak on the phone is very likely the owner himself/herself, and he/she is far more likely to take ownership of the problem than pass you to another person in another department.
Most of the independent businesses don’t have a massive marketing budget, they rely on word of mouth recommendation for new businesses, and you mean more to them than the big corporations.
2. Depth of character and personality
The amazing thing about independent businesses is that they are run by people most of whom have taken the risk of leaving their 9-to-5 jobs behind and moving through uncertainty, because of their passion for their own business. Every single one of them has a story to tell if you ask them about how and why they started their own business. Recently a friend’s 22-year old daughter decided to start her own Bohemian clothes shop, after battling with her chronic fatigue for many years and not being able to find a job because of that. She didn’t want to live on government benefits, she loved designing clothes so she decided to open her own business. How fantastic! I saw the pride and joy on her face and I was enormously proud of her.
You will also find these small business premises are often charming and full of character, adding a real warmth and a welcoming personality all of its own.
3.Our Local Economy
The small independent businesses are the epitome of our local micro economy, a lot of them pay more taxes than some of the massive corporations who have got away with paying no/little tax with the help of their team of accountants. Research has proven that for every £10 spent locally, an additional £50 is pumped back in locally.
This is because when your local independent businesses owners are doing well, they in turn will go out and spend money locally, they will be inclined to offer their employees bonuses, who will then in turn feel flush and spend locally .
These are the foundations and building blocks to create a vibrant thriving local community where all the residents benefit. Smaller local independent businesses are surprisingly the largest employers nationally , providing most of the local jobs. Shopping with them means that you help with the local job markets.
In a world that has become increasingly dominated by the multiple national chains that are all designed to look the same, independent businesses bring much needed originality and variety into communities. They provides more choices for you. For example, at Scape, we design and import a lot of unique products ourselves.
5. You can help to create the identity of your own areas
Independent businesses will actually go along way in shaping the identity of an area. A high street or shopping parade field with vibrant colourful uniquely individual shops will actually help to attract more tourists, and make the area much more financially healthy and a better place to live and work. There are different places like this throughout the UK such as Camden in North London, the lanes in Brighton, Frome and not forgetting our very own local Westbourne. These are all thriving communities thanks to a large number of thriving small independent businesses operating within.
So a big shout goes out to all of you going out of your way to support small independent businesses and therefore, create fantastic local communities to live and work in. Thank you for keeping us and all the other independent businesses going.