Here are my top five reasons to support a small business May 4.
1. Buying local creates jobs: As the old saying goes, everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Well, the same could be said for jobs. Congress just changed hands mainly because of jobs, and President Obama’s job is in trouble because of jobs. We all want more jobs, but no one seems to be able to create them.
But buying local is YOUR chance to do something about it.
Did you know that half of all employees in the U.S. work for small business, and that small businesses create 60 percent of all new jobs? By participating in Small Business Saturday (and simply shopping local whenever possible) you foster job creation in a very real and tangible way.
Buy local, create a job.
2. Small business fosters community: What is a community, anyway? It is a group of people with something in common. If you go downtown in your city, the community you will likely find is one of small business owners. When a downtown has a bustling small business district, it is usually said there is a strong community there, and conversely, when there are too many empty storefronts, it is bad for the community.
By buying local then, and supporting your neighborhood small businesses, you are fostering a strong community in your community.
3. Buying local keeps the dream alive: What is a small business? Sure, from an economic perspective it is an entity engaged in commerce that sells goods or services for a profit. But that dry definition fails to do justice to what a small business really is.
A small business is someone’s dream.
It takes a lot of courage to leave the security of a 9 to 5 job and venture out on one’s own. Being an entrepreneur is a risky enterprise that usually happens when someone’s passion is so overpowering they cannot help but start their own business. Given that most small business people have little formal business education and that they are fueled by passion more than profit, they are generally a self-taught lot who learn as they go, make mistakes, keep calm and carry on.
By supporting small business, you are allowing someone to live the dream another day.
4. Buying local boosts your local economy: There is an economic ripple effect that occurs when you support a small business.
First of all, as indicated, it fosters jobs; the owner needs to hire people to service his customers.
But the economic ripple goes far beyond that. There are the employees with money in their pocket; they spend that money with other small businesses. Moreover, there is the business owner with profit in her pocket. She spends that on buying more goods to sell, on taking care of her family, and on growing her business. Then, there is the business. That business pays taxes, which helps build roads and fund schools and the police.
Buying local creates an economic cycle that helps everyone.
5. Buying local creates a ripple in society: Think about throwing a pebble into a still pond. It creates a concentric circle that starts small and then ripples out bigger and bigger, right? Well, that is exactly what happens when you support a local small business, and this ripple is different than the economic ripple. This is a spiritual/psychological ripple.
When a small business person succeeds, it is noticed. It may be a child who sees that dad didn’t have such a kooky idea after all and that dreams do come true. Or it may be the entrepreneur’s neighbor, who sees the successes and decides that he could do it too.
The ripple grows.
One successful small business begets others. New entrepreneurs create more entrepreneurs. Enthusiasm breeds imitation. Suddenly, that blighted block downtown is bustling with energy.
And it all starts, literally, when you choose to spend some money at a local small business.
So please join us May 4 for Sycamore’s Small Business Saturday.
• Rose Treml is executive director of the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce.