Have you ever seen one of those signs that says "shop local"? Do you understand that the idea behind it is that small businesses in your area need your support for their lifestyle... and in most cases, unlike big corporations, they are actually busy working their business to fit their community needs.
So here is my take on this. I 100% support this way of thinking. However since technology allots for a bigger world than the four corners of my home county, I tend to approach this in a different way.
If I were to paint a picture of what "local" looks like to me I would have to exclude shops like Target, Dicks, Home Depo and so on...which is great... except my town also doesn't have a small shop on the corner that can fulfill the need I might have for items related to what those stores carry. Solution? Order from those stores online! That's easy enough but then your back to the first problem. You're no longer supporting the Small Biz Community.
That's where my turned phrase comes in.
Shopping Loyal is something I take very seriously.
What this means is that instead of going to a chain grocery store for party supplies, I ask a local general store to bulk order for me so they can get a cut. It means that when I need outdoor sports goods, I order them from a vendor in Indiana who makes them by hand - who, by the way, I also support on Instagram. It means that when my sisters have a birthday coming up and she liked those leather earrings at Target, I ask one of my jewelry maker friends from etsy if they can make them instead. Sure it might not be the most inexpensive option but let me tell you what you're buying.
You're buying a great quality product. You're buying into someone else's dream. Your buying a family their lifestyle. You're gaining a friend.
Have you ever started a conversation with a small business owner about their story? I dare you to do that and then try to go back to a chain store. It doesn't usually work because suddenly you ARE part of that story and you want it's success too.
Oh and did I mention, if you happen to be a small biz owner too, they usually return the favor?
Now let's level. I am still a regular person, with bills to pay, a business to run, and a family to support. So how can I accomplish this "Shop Loyal" thing without killing my bank account or condemning my family to a lifetime of Ramen noodle dinners?
Here is a list of ways you can help your Small Biz Community.
Buy Loyal for special occasions (this is a a great place to start because is it less financially overwhelming)
Leave a killer review (see my blog about why this is huge)
If you have a following create a list of your favorite Small Businesses
Share their content and giveaways
Partner with them for events to showcase
Trade services if you can (I STILL do this...sometimes skill is better than money)
TALK ABOUT THEM AND TO THEM ENCOURAGINGLY
See, even without money you can support. Now get out there and show your favorite Small Biz's some love.