Americans love small business. If you ask them which institution in the country they trust the most, small business comes out right on top. We small business people are more trusted than big business, labor – even more than the church and the military.
But now, America, it’s time to put your money where your heart is. Spend money with small business. Do it now – especially during the holidays. And I’m going to tell you how.
Many of you spent the last 20 months buying almost everything online. As a result, huge online companies and delivery services got even richer than they already were. Trust me, that humongous company named after a South American river doesn’t need you. Hey, the owner literally sends his money into outer space.
Meanwhile, your local small businesses – the retailers, the restaurants, the grocers, the salons – really do need your money. So does your local community. The money you spend with local businesses – especially small businesses – circulates in your hometown, creating jobs and improving your own economy. The taxes you pay when you patronize a small business supports your schools and roads and fire departments.
Small businesses need your support and your money – especially during the holidays. So here are six things you can do to support your local small businesses that you’ll find enjoyable, convenient, and with competitive prices.
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1. Make small businesses your first choice, not your last
The most important thing you can do is to actually make a commitment to shop at small and local businesses first. That doesn’t mean you won’t also buy from big companies or online. It just means you’ll consciously make a decision to prioritize spending your money with small businesses first.
2. Shop and buy for the holidays now!
You’ve heard that supply- chain issues will make holiday shopping harder this year. The reality is that small businesses may not be able to compete with big-box stores and online retailers on prices. But they may actually have products on their shelves. Shop soon at your local small business, while they’re most likely to have what you want (or something unexpected and great instead!)
► Supply chain issues: What are they and how will shortages impact the holiday shopping season?
3. Cut out the middleman
Small businesses make more money – much more money – when you buy from them directly. Food delivery services like DoorDash or GrubHub take up to 30% or more when you order meals through their website rather than the restaurant itself. Online retailers typically take half.
So whenever possible, buy direct. For example, my little 4-year old and 2-year-old nieces wanted certain American-made toys that were sold from many online retailers for their holiday gifts. Searching quickly online, I found the manufacturer. I bought directly from them. The price – including shipping – was almost identical, and the gifts are already there for the holidays.
4. Buy gift cards
A gift card from a local small business – whether a retailer, spa, salon, restaurant – makes a great gift and the business gets the money upfront. This is a terrific way to support your local business community and find the perfect gift for that hard-to-please person on your list.
5. Order online from local stores
Don’t want to leave the house? Shop online from your local small businesses. Many of them have e-commerce websites. If they don’t? Pick up the phone to order.
6. Shop local
Not everything you want will be available from a small business – either online or in your community. When that happens, make it your priority to buy from a LOCAL big business, like a superstore. At least the taxes and jobs stay in your own community.
I love small businesses. They’re what make communities interesting and unique and lively. Your neighborhood small business owners are the ones who support the Little League, the churches and synagogues and mosques, the food banks.
As a sign I saw once said, it’s “Buy Local or Bye-Bye, Local.” The survival of your local small businesses depends on YOU.
Rhonda Abrams is a small-business expert and a “Top 30 Global Guru” for startups. Her book "Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies" was named one of the 100 best business strategy books of all time. Connect with Rhonda at facebook.com/RhondaAbramsSmallBusiness; Instagram and Twitter @RhondaAbrams. Register for Rhonda’s free small business newsletter at www.RhondaAbrams.com/subscribe.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Holiday shopping 2021: 6 things you can do to support small business