Small Business Saturday is a chance to shine a light on some often unsung heroes. It might only fall on the first Saturday in December each year but the impact of this campaign is long-lasting.
Whether online, in offices or in-store, small businesses form a significant part of the fabric of our economy and our communities. Read on to find out more about the hidden benefits of supporting this important event.
At the last count, there were 5.5 million small businesses in the UK, each with up to 49 workers. Together, they employ over 13 million people and have a combined turnover of £1.6 trillion.
Most of these small businesses will be competing for space within their own markets. To do this effectively, they’ll need to:
Online small businesses also need a strategy to convert more sales from their websites. And there is a whole host of other essential areas to focus on too.
Small businesses have to do as much, if not more, as the juggernauts within the business world. Those who run or work within them need to be resilient, resourceful and capable of wearing many different business hats to cover all their bases.
It’s vital that, during the cost of living crisis, we don’t lose focus on the essential role small businesses play within communities. They are part of the solution to long-term growth and sustainability.
Feelings of helplessness about how to make a positive change in society are not uncommon. We may have the best of intentions but have serious questions about how we can implement them. Supporting local businesses is an effective way to do this. Here’s what you can do:
Around two-thirds of every pound spent with a small business stays within the local economy. That’s compared to less than a half when compared to bigger businesses. This is according to research carried out by local authorities.
There can be another less obvious impact. That’s because communities with thriving independent businesses can give the prices of nearby homes a boost, too. House prices close to a buzzing and well-supported town centre can shoot up. That can be by tens of thousands of pounds when compared to properties elsewhere.
Buying out-of-season produce, such as raspberries in December, puts a dent in your eco-credentials. So does eating a turkey and green beans that have come halfway around the globe, packaged in layers of plastic.
Shopping at your local farm shop, baker, butcher or online store has tangible benefits. It is likely that a significant percentage of the produce they sell has had a far shorter field-to-fork journey.
Buying local means you’ll be supporting local farmers and entrepreneurs. And you’ll be consuming food that typically contains more nutrients and comes with less packaging.
The same principles may also apply to other kinds of online small businesses, such as jewellery makers. They see the benefits of supporting one another by using raw materials sourced locally. This all counts and plays into the eco-system of the local economy.
Independent shops and online stores will often stock products made by local craftspeople. These would simply be unavailable elesewhere. If you buy an item of smart clothing from a fledgling designer, it’s less likely someone else will go to an important event wearing the same outfit.
Unusual one-off gifts are one of the cornerstones of the small business market. They’re an original choice for close friends and relatives and a chance to give an affordable gift that’s more special and meaningful.
Small, family-run online stores and shops may support local designers and artists or food growers and producers. You’ll then know you're buying products unique to a particular area.
Buying from local online artisan stores helps promote the talents of the next generation of UK retailers and designers. Local entrepreneurs are the bedrock of innovation.
There tends to be a continuous turnover of new products as sellers pay attention to the demands and expectations of customers. If a particular fashion accessory is popular, for instance, a savvy local online store will respond by supplying it.
Local businesses may find it easier to develop more intimate customer relationships. This is likely to be primarily through social media. It enables them to connect with those who enjoy their products and tap into their ideas.
Local shops and online stores will often participate in community events to jointly promote their products. These events have huge value. They provide opportunities to build a sense of belonging so that they have a social as well as commercial purpose.
More discretion is available to local businesses to give discounts and offer a more personal service to their customers. Giant retailers may benefit from economies of scale. That enables them to market products so disproportionately that consumers end up wasting money on items they may not really need or want.
Small businesses will tend to go for quality over quantity. You’re, therefore, more likely to make a purchase with longer-lasting value, not least through its benefit to the local community.
This grassroots, non-commercial campaign is now in its 11th year. It seeks to help small businesses by offering tips and advice. At the same time, it encourages consumers to “shop local” and support small businesses, online or otherwise, in their communities.
As a small family business, BOING® is proud to participate in Small Business Saturday UK. Check out our story here.
Help put the heart back into the community by purchasing one of our beautiful products online.