It might have taken a pandemic for some communities to realize it, but it turns out small businesses are pretty darn important to local neighborhoods. And in most cases, small businesses have a lot to give back to the community.
Thankfully, there has been a lot of financial relief offered to SMBs throughout the pandemic. And hopefully, more will be offered down the road should widespread closures occur again. So in light of many small businesses struggling to stay afloat, it’s a good time to look at how integral they are to most cities, towns, and communities.
- Small Business Give Communities Identities
- They’re Involved in the Community
- SMBs Are More Environmentally Friendly Than Big Box Retailers
- It’s More Pleasant to Shop with Small Businesses
- Taxes Stay in the Local Area
- They Provide Local Jobs
- SMBs Inspire Entrepreneurship
- They Require Fewer Infrastructure Changes
- Small Businesses Promote the Growth of Other Small Businesses
Most neighborhoods in most cities have a unique look and feel. It’s what makes so many cities great! While there are many factors involved in this – architecture, style, geography, natural landscape, culture, etc. – the businesses that make up the area are a major part of any community’s identity.
In many cities, local governments and boards have even protected local businesses to preserve an original character. It keeps business local and makes the community experience more authentic and vibrant.
Not only do small businesses have a large role in defining the nature of the community, but they’re also involved in bettering the area. SMB owners know that they’re ethics and actions have an impact on all of those directly around them, and most of you work hard to make your community a better place.
Much of this involvement comes from giving back with charity events, local sponsorships, municipal government participation, and education.
Many of the world’s largest retailers are also the world’s biggest polluters. Waste in retail is rampant, and the cost-cutting competition among the big box giants lead to corners cut in the manufacturing and distribution process.
Most small businesses, on the other hand, are likely to be more eco-friendly and find ways to reduce waste. The average consumer cares more about how the products they buy are sourced and small businesses have responded.
Plus, SMBs are more likely to create a community with fewer carbon emissions and other pollutants. More local communities are primarily for pedestrians and cyclists, reducing traffic and improving air quality. City ordinances and natural space limitations also force businesses to build more compactly and expand in smarter ways than simply building out.
Overall, having a community filled with thriving small businesses is also just a whole lot more pleasant. It is a sign of a healthy community on multiple levels – economically, safety, education, etc. More people know each other and there is a better culture of accountability and community care.
Keeping consumer shopping local helps keep taxes local. When residents shop with small businesses in their community, a portion of tax dollars stays within the local economy instead of being distributed nationally or even globally.
In turn, the money will be used to improve infrastructure, education, parks, libraries, etc. to make the community a better place. And eventually, these resources will lead to new businesses entering the community.
Likewise, small businesses are more likely to hire local residents for employment. While big corporations and big box retail will often bring existing employees from across the country, a community-based small business will be better at keeping hiring in the neighborhood.
Plus, promoting local hiring means the commute time is less, reducing congestion and pollution, and keeping everyone a bit happier. Like each of these ways that small businesses help the community, this has a cascading effect on so many different areas of life.
A successfully run small business inspires others to do the same. And it’s entrepreneurship and ingenuity that gets us through difficult times like we’re facing now. We need local business owners to inspire others to pursue their dreams and create something great that provides them with a living while also giving back to the community.
Job creation is probably the most immediate effect of this. If your business can inspire just one other person to open theirs, you’ll be in part responsible for the income that that business provides to each of its employees.
Keeping business local means that your city will require fewer changes to its infrastructure and layout. Often, big businesses moving into an area require a massive construction project, rezoning, and even new roads and highways. As convenient as these places might be, the toll they take on a community can ruin it entirely.
Instead, local businesses look for ways to fit into the existing framework of a neighborhood. Instead of making the area adapt to your business, SMB owners adapt to the area and find a way to fit in and thrive. They also don’t need as much licensing and permits, easing some of the bureaucratic legwork that local municipalities have to deal with.
Finally, a thriving neighborhood of small businesses promotes healthy competition and more small businesses to open. Remember, competition is great, even if it’s direct competition with your brand. It pushes all parties to be more creative and innovative, offering a better product that better satisfies your customers.
And once the community is filled with small businesses, owners, employees, and shoppers can frequent many different establishments. A diverse array of locally owned businesses with locally made products keeps the community thriving, brings in more tourism, and minimizes waste.
Altogether, these benefits will create a vibrant community. Again, there are many other critical factors involved in creating a great local scene, but small businesses are certainly an included factor. Support your local community as we all start to open our doors again and try to find some semblance of normalcy.