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Shop Small this Holiday Season

| Flourish Monthly

We are fast approaching the time of year where hundreds of thousands of businesses are forced to compete with Amazon. This is the case all year, of course, but the competition is especially fierce during the holiday season. It’s just so difficult for anyone to beat the convenience of two-day shipping or the fact that shoppers can check everything off their list with just one order. That being said, we are seeing a HUGE movement of people preferring to shop at their local, small businesses. Last year, despite the pandemic, 70% of people shopped local. 55% of those shoppers purchased in-store. This is great news! Let’s talk about how we can keep that momentum going this holiday season.

If we’re doing our marketing correctly, you already know how important it is to shop small because you are a small business owner! But did you know that small businesses account for 44% of economic activity in the US? When you spend $100 in a small business, $68 of that stays in the community. The same spending in a national chain only leaves $43 for the local economy. Shopping small also creates more local jobs, gives you more choice and better service, and creates community. All great things! Plus, you get to choose who you’re supporting. We seriously doubt Mr. Bezos needs to add to his piles of gold. But that mom who owns the local coffee shop could use that money to help her family celebrate the holidays. Your local money makes a difference.

Steps You Can Take as the Consumer

While it’s obvious that your purchases from small businesses will help your community, there are other ways you can contribute:

  • Chain Stores vs. Franchise. Not every business with multiple locations is a national chain! Oftentimes these can be small businesses too, just run under a national name. Check out the businesses around you and do your research!
  • Meet the Staff/Owners. One of the best reasons to shop small is to help build community. There’s no better way to do that than by meeting people! Get an idea how their business got started, ask for recommendations, and introduce yourself and your business.
  • Kick the Amazon habit! Trust us, you can wait a few extra days for your order. Take your time with your purchase and figure out where you can buy what’s on your list locally.
  • Write Reviews. This is one of the best ways you can help a local business out! Take a moment to write a couple of sentences about why you love the company. Bonus points if you can shout out a specific person you worked with!
  • Use Social Media. We’re bombarded with advertising messages constantly, yet we trust it less than ever before. Great marketers know that social proof is the best way to get new customers! Help out the businesses you love by posting about it on social media. Let people know where you went, what you did, and what you thought about it. You don’t have to feel like an “influencer” by doing this. You’re just supporting a business that’s in your community and, frankly, helping your Facebook friends out by telling them where they can get a great holiday gift!
  • Tell your Friends. By posting, you kind of already do this. But taking the extra step to tell your friends in person shows even more that you like the company and shows your friend that you think they’d like the business too.

Steps You Can Take as the Business Owner

These steps for shoppers to take are great, but what steps can you take to market yourself or your business amongst the holiday craziness?

  1. Show your Face. Getting out there in the world is the simplest way to let people know you’re in businesses. Meet the people around you, whether that’s the stores around you, the offices around you, or even the people you live next to! Build those relationships and let people know you exist.
  2. Do Some Networking. Whenever anyone asks for marketing advice, the first thing we tell them to do is to join their local Chamber of Commerce or another networking group. It’s another way of showing your face, like in step 1, except networking has the added context of business. You’re letting your fellow business owners know you exist so they can potentially work with you but also so they can tell other people about you! Check out this post if you want to learn to be a better networker.
  3. Find a Way to Give Back. Shopping locally absolutely helps your community, but are there other ways you can give back? Perhaps you run a promotion where a portion of the proceeds go to a local charity. Or maybe you have a Volunteer Day with your company. Whatever method you choose, find a way to give back to your community.
  4. Use Social Media. Shoutout to your local businesses! When you go grab that morning cup, check in on social media and tell people how great your latte was. We touched on how this can be a great help to your community earlier, but this is also great marketing for your business. If you use your business’s page to post, Facebook will show your post to the other business’s followers, which means increased engagement for your page. It’s a win-win!
  5. Adopt a “Go Giver” Mindset. Instead of finding ways other people can help you, what if every action you took was motivated by helping others? The more you do for other people, the more likely they are to do the same for you. They’re also likely to tell other people about you, who will in turn help you out.
  6. Spend your Money Deliberately. Be thoughtful about how you spend your money. This isn’t budgeting advice, we promise! Deliberately choose to support like minded people with your purchases. If a business doesn’t have the same ideals you do, maybe you want to take your shopping somewhere else. Get creative… buy gifts at a small, locally owned shop or an artist in your community. Take a little extra time to shop in person rather than online. 
  7. Learn How to Market Yourself. Unfortunately, simply existing as a business isn’t going to be enough to compete with national chains. You need to actively market your business so people know you’re there. Networking is a great start, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Let us know if you need help figuring out what your next step is!

Small businesses are a crucial part of our economy. Without them, thousands of people would be out of work. Even more would be less happy because they’re not doing work they’re passionate about. If the pandemic’s lockdowns proved anything, they proved we need to support our local businesses as much as possible. An easy time to do that is the holidays. This is also when we, as business owners, need to change our strategies to fit the busiest time of year. Unfortunately, no one marketing strategy is going to be right for everyone’s business. Sometimes social media is the right tool while other times you actually need to send out postcards. If you need help spreading the word about your business, we’re here for you. Check out our free Facebook group, Flourish On Social, or reach out for a consultation. 

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