Saturday, November 26, 2011

For Small Businesses, It's Not A Quick-Fix

Today is small business day -- a nice concept but, in our opinion, not quite enough. The American economy is suffering through long periods of non-growth (for lack of a better term). Salaries have remained flat for years now and many jobs have been eliminated all together.

Consumers pay more each year for products that give them less by continually shrinking. The only ones benefiting are big corporations who continue to make larger profits as they figure out new ways to eliminate small businesses (and more jobs).

Small businesses need our support more than just one day out of the year. Corporate America becomes larger and stronger every day by opening more stores and continuing to undersell the Mom and Pops -- making it ever more difficult for them to compete.

It may sound like paranoia, but envision a future where every single American works for one of five major corporations. Actually, we'll be lucky if there are that many left at the time.

If each town supports its local economy EVERY day of the year, we could all be much more independent. Our local economies would thrive, the quality of products and services would rise, and jobs would be plentiful and more satisfying to those filling the positions.

Granted, this is a somewhat simplistic model -- obviously -- there will always be certain products and services we can't obtain locally. However, if you start locally and expand out from there, your most local region will benefit first. The next time you're looking to make a purchase, think in this order; your own town, your own county, your own state, nationally, and finally globally.

Many will argue that Corporate America creates local jobs, but in reality it ends there. These corporations are otherwise faceless and impersonal and the bulk of jobs they create are low-paying and their employees dread going in day after day. Staff generally handle customers by reciting company policies instead of using common sense. Mom and Pops, on the other hand, strive to provide top-quality day in and day out -- they have to since they don't see the volume of customers that larger chains do.

As a general rule, you'll pay more for local products and less for those towards the global end of the list, but it's important to remember that a lower price can be indicative of an inferior product or service. Customer service goes a long way when you're getting nowhere with an automaton who works for a rubber stamp company that merely saved you a few dollars.

We urge you to support local businesses ALL year long... not just today. After all, if the culmination of a year's worth of work or all of your customers came to you just one day out of the year, do you really think you'd still be employed for the other 364?

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