Updated: Jul 25
Small business shopping isn’t just more fun, it’s healthier for you and your community, too.
We learned from COVID-19 that people need and crave personal contact to improve their physical and mental health. We know that small businesses impact local economies more than large, non-local ones. Now’s the time to re-think your shopping strategy. Point-and-click shopping with behemoth digital retailers is easy (initially), but not as healthy.
Quick: Choose between these two phone calls. Which restores your health, and which exasperates it?
Call #1: “Thank you for calling xxx store. Your call is important to us. Your wait time is...16 minutes.”
Call #2: “Hey, (Jan), great to hear from you. How are you and (Jim) doing? How can I help you?”
Now, put a price on the well-being call #2 offers, vs. call #1. Whether it’s a product inquiry, a problem, or a general question, which call is soothing; which leaves you seething? That’s the value of doing business with small, local businesses. They get to know you, and care about you and are eager to please you. That’s healthy and reassuring. Large businesses? You’re another bank account number.
Perhaps Treadle, a St. Paul, MN, small-business fabric store, says it best.
“[Giant digital retailer] may be cool and convenient, but it is NOT local, and it will never know who you are, remember to ask about your sister, or support your community. It just won’t.”
What’s Happening Even with Department Stores
Personally, I have a friend who called a national retailer’s local outlet, renowned for its customer service. She was on hold for 24 minutes before her call was answered. An appointment was made with the clerk. After arriving, the clerk was busy and left her hanging an additional 15 minutes. You can bet that’s the last time she entered that store. Now she shops local boutiques.
So, what constitutes a small business?
Small businesses are 44 percent of all economic activity in the US (SBA). In addition, 80 percent of small businesses have no employees. As Penn State Professor Stephan Goetz says, of 31.7 million small US businesses, 25.7 million are non-employer firms. Yet, they contribute greatly to our economy. So, consider that before you dismiss a business as too small.
10 Benefits You Gain Buying from Small and Local Businesses
Cox Business (tech services for businesses) says they:
Build local communities
Strengthen the local economy to promote future growth
Add character to cities and towns
Create more job opportunities
Provide tax dollars that stay local and re-enter the community
Foster “real” connections with local owners and employees
Offer more personalized customer [client] service
Make priceless memories when visiting and shopping small, local businesses
Can draw tourists and neighboring communities via their diverse nature
Encourage local entrepreneurship
It’s All About You—and Your Community
But let’s get back to your health, and why small businesses can help you beyond awesome phone calls. We already know small businesses mean great service—or they won’t be in business long. But how can their personal touch help you?
In 2014, Dr. Emma Seppala, Science Director of Stanford Medicine’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, said we need a strong social connection. Because it:
Leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity
Strengthens your immune system (research by Steve Cole shows that genes impacted by loneliness also code for immune function and inflammation)
Helps you recover from disease faster
May even lengthen your life!
She adds that these social connections reduce levels of anxiety and depression. They also raise self-esteem, empathy, trust, and cooperation. “In other words, social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being.” Those lacking social connectedness are associated with declines in physical and psychological health and other things. https://stanford.io/3rPNIhc
What I’ve Seen
No wonder I am so pleased to be a small business owner. I experience that social connection daily and love it. Furthermore, the respect and appreciation I receive from my clients propels me to do even better each day. My clients know to treat me with dignity and respect because that’s how I treat them. We all benefit.
Make Holiday Shopping 2022 Your Most Enjoyable Ever
So, as you think about holiday shopping, before you do business with giant retailers, consider the benefits of working with me and other small businesses. We’re in this for you, and ourselves.
And if you like that philosophy and have your own business idea, contact me. As a small business coach, I’m eager to help you.
This year let’s make holiday shopping fun—and ditch the drudgery of keystrokes. Your health, outlook and local economy will be richly rewarded.