Roughly one-in-ten British Columbians are small business entrepreneurs of some kind, from private tutors to professional firms to exporting manufacturers and more!
As a new or soon-to-launch founder we can get so wrapped up in trying to achieve our own business goals that we can easily forget to make it an active priority to support our fellow entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship communities. But it's important to remember that we are part of a growing community of local businesses. We are the backbone of our local economy and we have great power together to support each other through how we choose to spend our time and money.
That's why I've decided to recommit to making a proactive effort to shop local this holiday season and in the new year. And I'm hoping you'll join me!
I started my renewed commitment by visiting one of my favourite local ice cream shops, Rocky Point Ice Cream, as I can imagine that sales go down during the colder months and although I wasn't brave enough to order ice cream in the cold weather, I opted for coffee and other warm treats instead. I believe every purchase, even smaller ones, make a positive difference.
One of my favourite local stores, Rocky Point Ice Cream in Port Moody, BC; Dec 2021.
What does it mean to shop local?
Shopping local could look like buying your morning coffee from your local small business or coffee shop instead of at a big brand store. Or it can mean buying your fresh produce like fruits and veggies or baked goods from your local farmers market or local close-by small business.
The benefits of shopping locally
Shopping local can be considered the greenest shopping method as it helps protecting the environment, and reduces our carbon footprints.
There are many other positive benefits for you and your community to shop local, but as founders these two reasons are important to us and impacts us both directly and indirectly:
1. Shopping locally supports your community.
When you shop local, you’re strengthening small businesses and your community. Shopping local benefits everyone in your community. It supports your neighbours, your friends, and your family members who are hardworking people with dreams just like you.
Small businesses are more likely to have financial constraints than their larger counterparts due to the pandemic.
As COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, many businesses sought external financing in order to survive. As a result, some businesses have now reached a point where they do not have the ability to take on more debt. Statistics Canada found that smaller businesses are more likely to report this being the case when they conducted their most recent survey on Business Conditions in the third quarter of 2021. Among businesses that could not take on more debt, the most commonly reported reasons were lack of confidence or uncertainty in future sales and cash flow.
2. Shopping locally supports your economy.
Small and medium sized businesses are significant contributors to the Canadian economy. According to Statistics Canada, small businesses made up 98.0% of all employer businesses in Canada in 2020,Note employing 9.7 million individuals in Canada - approximately 64% of the total labour force. By comparison, medium-sized businesses employed 3.2 million individuals (21.2% of the labour force) and large businesses employed 2.3 million individuals (14.8% of the labour force).Note As such, small businesses are an important role in employing Canadians and are a significant driver towards economic recovery.
How to #ShopLocal
As a shopper, all you have to do to join or rejoin the movement to shop local is to vary your purchasing habits to include buying goods and services offered in your neighbourhood and at small independent businesses!
The goal with #ShopLocal is to support YOUR neighbourhood by shopping locally and you can participate where-ever in the world you are both by shopping in-person or online.
If you're based in Canada with me, I hope you'll join me in supporting the Yellow Pages Shop The Neighbourhood campaign – a year round campaign - which encourages Canadian shoppers to support small businesses in their communities. You'll find lists of local businesses in your community and can share your show of support on social media using the hashtags #shopthehood and #shopthehood_ca.
Video courtesy of Shop The Neighbourhood Campaign from Yellow Pages Canada
Based outside Canada? Do a search of your local communities for similar campaigns, or start your own!
Have a tight budget?
There are other ways to support local businesses without having to spend your money like doing word-of-mouth marketing. Your reviews and recommendations also supports small local businesses who don't have big advertising budgets to get the word out, so follow them on social media and share their posts and tell friends and family about your favourite neighbourhood stores.
Using the hashtags #shoplocal #shoplocalcanada and #shopthehood or hashtags related to your local communities on social media connects you with other lovers of local businesses and helps grow the community surrounding this movement. So if you're not shy, give a shoutout to your favourite local stores online on your online profiles.
I hope you'll join me to #ShopLocal to help build stronger communities where we live –– and to adopt healthy and sustainable shopping habits –– by supporting local small businesses.
Let’s commit together to support our communities and fellow founders this holiday season and in 2022 by always looking for local options. Looking forward to seeing you share online which local stores you love and support!