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Supporting Local Businesses: Why and How?

Every year, many of us feel the pressures and financial strain of the holiday seasons. Over the last couple of years, this has only increased with the added stress of the pandemic, job insecurity, and other outside factors that have made finances tight and made a lot of us hold onto our loose change. For those that have been keeping both their family and small business running, there’s an added pressure during the holiday season. This year more than ever we’ve wanted to focus on ways to support local businesses, and ways that our communities can pull together to ensure everyone is taken care of. We’ve written many articles from lists where small businesses can post their business, to specific ways we can make a difference in helping locally owned businesses.

With the holiday season here and the spirit of giving upon us, we wanted to offer up a different article and explain the benefits of supporting small businesses. We’ve provided many ways you can do so, and ways that a community can step in and be helpful, however, there are many reasons to support local business and why it’s still important even after the waves of the pandemic and holidays have settled. Below, you’ll read four reasons to support locally owned businesses and the benefits that come with the small actions. 

1. Local businesses are more environmentally friendly

Because locally owned businesses tend to source from other locally owned businesses like farms, chains, and other supply stores, they tend to have a smaller impact on the environment. Locally-sourced materials such as meat, produce, and supply usually have less packaging since they’re coming right from the source; which ultimately leads to more recyclable materials being used, or less trash being thrown away. Locally-sourced materials also require less travel time, cutting down on gas and energy used to transport. Because of this, when you support local businesses, you support environmentally friendly businesses and changes, which everyone is happy about.

2. They offer higher quality work

It’s very easy to head to the nearest department store or national chain for the gifts you’re looking for or for the holiday meal prep you’ve been waiting all year for. However, it’s always possible that the quality of the object or the customer service you receive may not be the best. When you support local businesses and shop locally, you tend to receive a higher quality of work and a higher quality of customer service. Typically this is because small businesses are rooted in their community. They support those that both live and work within their town or city and therefore have more at stake and more of a reason to provide quality work. Their work is their reputation, and maintaining it is a huge responsibility that is solely on their shoulders, so usually from the quality of work to the employees, you receive a better quality of service.

3. They support job and economic growth

Even though small businesses may not seem like they’re able to employ a lot of people at once, according to mass.gov “Small businesses employ 77 million Americans and accounted for 65% of all new jobs over the past 17 years.” which is a significant number especially during these hard times. When we ask ‘why shop local?’ or question the importance of supporting locally owned businesses and brands, this is one of the main reasons, it provides people with jobs and stability that they need for their own families. There’s also the trickle effect when it comes to supporting local businesses, where what you give, is put back into the community. Local shop owners also tend to support each other, which leads to a lot of local economic growth and wealth because the money isn’t going to an outside business or operation. The community continues to benefit financially because of the constant flow of local consumerism which is great especially for small towns and cities. 

4. It’s just the right thing to do.

When it comes down to it, supporting your community and local business owners is just the right thing to do; plain and simple. Caring about your community and doing your best to lift them up during hard times, or just in general, is an act of kindness that can seem so small but goes a long way. When we give back to our community, we make it safer, and easier to live for those around us. 
At the end of the day whether you’re buying a gift card, going into the store, visiting their online website, or even ordering takeout, the ways you support local businesses matter just as much as why you should support them. We hope that this holiday season you’ll continue to spread love and support one another, and we’ll be happy to provide tips and tricks along the way!

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7 Reasons Why It’s Beneficial to Support Local Businesses

Talking about supporting local businesses has been a topic of interest for a while. The interest-only increased when the pandemic fully hit in 2020, causing businesses to close, or others start to fail while we were in quarantine. It’s very easy to go to a larger chain for your supplies, especially in difficult time periods because you know what to expect, you know they have the support to mostly keep their shelves stocked, or you know if you need a midnight snack fix they’ll probably be open. So why shop locally? Why support local businesses?

The benefits of shopping locally become a chain of events that ultimately comes back around in a positive way. Below, you’ll read about seven reasons why you should support local businesses, and how it benefits the community. 

1. Supporting local businesses helps support local economy

Local businesses are more prominent in our communities than we realize, because of this the benefits of supporting small businesses owners are also more powerful than we think. When we support local businesses, we also support local banks, phone and internet providers, or even local grocers and farmers. This is because locally owned businesses are more likely to work with other local chains or businesses, the revenue given to them flows back into the community, strengthening the economy. 

2. Local businesses are more likely to support local organizations

When small businesses or local organizations support each other, they grow together and are able to accomplish their goals or meet the needs of their community easier. Supporting small means supporting not just their family or their business, but it also means supporting local non-profits like food programs, shelters, or programs that help other families. Going back to the first reason why you should support local businesses, the support given to the small businesses flows back into the community and ultimately helps everyone. 

3. Typically small businesses have a smaller carbon footprint

Supporting a local or small business is also better for the environment! Small businesses tend to have a smaller carbon footprint in comparison to larger or national businesses. This is again because they tend to source directly from their community on the items they can. Usually, when you source locally you’re less likely to produce more waste either in the air or packaging for shipping, which directly helps the environment by lowering trash and allowing items to be recycled. 

4. They could be your neighbors

Caring for your neighborhood is one of the first ways you can support your local community. Especially in these hard times, looking out for each other is important and if your neighbor has a business, supporting them only supports their family, their children, and ultimately you! When we care for one another we show respect towards each other and our community, which helps it grow and become a place of safety. It fosters a sense of pride and a sense of ownership that encourages others to continue supporting each other.

5. Local businesses help support job growth

Supporting local businesses supports job growth! According to mass.gov “Small businesses employ 77 million Americans and accounted for 65% of all new jobs over the past 17 years.” Local economic growth is something we don’t necessarily think about, but it’s important. It helps schools gain funding, recreational programs continue, and it helps others stay employed. When we continue to support local businesses and our local community, we find that the impact is lasting. They’re able to grow and hire more people or pay their current employees more which will only contribute back to the growth of the community.

6. Small businesses tend to have higher-quality services

Small businesses are active members of the community, so they have a reputation to uphold. Whether it’s quality items, good food, or any other fantastic selling point, they have to stay true to how they started to keep their current customers and gain new ones. They rely on community support to keep their business open and to continue living their dream. So quality and standards are important for their businesses, which means their customers are getting more for what they’re paying for. When you continue to shop local you continue allowing small business owners to keep providing that quality the community has grown used to and allows them to uphold a reputation they’ve worked hard for. 

7. Supporting each other is important.

In the end, you can boil down the benefits of supporting local business into one point; it supports your community. Regardless of if the small business owner is your neighbor, they’re helping employment rates or donating to organizations, you should support local and small businesses because you should care about your community. The benefit and betterment of others are what create a space where others feel safe and thrive, and being able to be a part of that is rewarding enough. 

If there’s a local business you enjoy, or maybe a local restaurant you have tried yet, we definitely encourage you to give it a shot! Or, with the holiday seasons upon us, you can try buying a gift card or even donating to a local cause. No matter how you choose to support big or small, your continued business is important to small business owners and your community. 

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Best Methods For Using Google Maps to Support Local Businesses

There’s no arguing that Google and other online entities have made our world easier and convenient. In the age of the internet, we no longer only utilize search engines or message boards, but social media and digital directories to find services or items we need. For small businesses, this can be a great way to not only promote your business but to gain support from your community. 

Over recent years and with the heavy impact of COVID-19, Google Maps and Google My Business have become staples not only for the regular business information but also for others to support local businesses. Below, you’ll read about features in Google Maps that have transformed the way we support local businesses.

1. Reviews

We try to highlight how important reviews are for small businesses or even large businesses. They allow customers to let others know about their experiences and provide positive feedback, which is important when potential customers or clients are looking at your business or services. Even if a business receives negative reviews, it allows the business to provide a response and ultimately show that they care about what others are saying, and they’re willing to correct any wrongs that may have been done. 

With Google Maps, users are able to see reviews and star ratings, which allows them to make an informed decision. They can also see photos of services, food, or other items the business may provide, all while on the go or when in an area they haven’t been to before. The information in Google Maps is a great way for those traveling, moving, or exploring their local community, to help support local businesses.

2. Business information

Keeping your customers and clients up to date with your most recent information is crucial to success. Especially in times where hours are changing due to labor shortages, different city mandates, and other issues, keeping your online information updated is more important than ever. Now, not only does Google provide users with a map of local businesses, but other features as well. 

Google Maps supplies users with important information about a business such as hours of operation, current services provided, and days that the business is open. Due to the recent state of small businesses, Google also implemented a way for users to suggest edits allowing others to know if anything has changed, and helping local businesses stay up to date. Google receives the information changes and makes the updates as they come in. These changes and information allow others to support local businesses by being active in their community, leaving positive feedback and sharing information that links others to the business. 

3. Report as opened or re-opened

The harsh reality of this new world is; a lot of businesses are closed. Whether it was temporarily and they’re getting ready to reopen, or they closed permanently, a lot of local businesses felt the impact of quarantine and closed due to lack of customers or inability to keep employees hired. Even as people returned to the workforce and quarantine restrictions lifted, for some local and small businesses the impact was too great to recover. 

Within this transition, some businesses that returned may have forgotten to update their hours, safety protocols, or even that they had reopened. Google Maps put the power of updating these factors into the hands of customers and clients. You can report that a business opened or reopened the same as reporting a change. This helps local businesses continue being seen by potential new customers and clients and letting the community know that the business has returned. 

4. Options for donation or gift cards

As we’ve also talked about in the previous blog and social media posts, gift cards are a fantastic way to continue supporting small and local businesses. It provides the business with revenue but you or your recipient don’t have to use the gift card right away. You can also support local businesses in your community by providing a donation either directly to them, or to an organization that supports small and local businesses.

Google Maps has put a lot of power into users and businesses alike. In an effort to continue supporting local businesses, they also added a feature that allows users to purchase gift cards, or provide donations through the app. To do this, users simply search ‘support a local business in their Google Maps app to see a list of businesses accepting donations or allowing gift cards to be purchased online. This is a great option especially with the holidays on the way, and for those who want to support but also want to stay safe. 

While the internet is a lot like our real-world and constantly changing, there are a lot of good things that are available to help those in need. Ultimately, the use of the internet and apps like Google Maps is to bring us closer together and to help support our community. It provides needed and useful information, as well as ways we can support and lift each other up. It’s one of the great tools that allow us all to support local businesses and continue supporting them in the future. 

20 Free Best Websites to list your business

Still unsure where you should list your business? No worries, we’re continuing with our list of free local business directories you can list your business on and get noticed! Continue reading to see some oldies and newbies, and how they can help your visibility!

  1. Great American Buy Local 

Naturally, we’ll start with our directory! Great American Buy Local is free and easy to sign up with. We also promote your business across different social media channels to help your business reach organic traffic. We also include blogs and articles to assist you with your online business journey.

  1. Facebook Business

Another great option is one of the internet’s biggest corporations: Facebook. The Facebook Business feature allows you to not only have a social media presence but also create ad space, promote posts and services; and it gives your business a face so your customers know what you stand for. Creating an account is free, and you can schedule posts, add your business hours, menu of services, photos, and other information that’s valuable to your business.

  1. Google Business

Speaking of internet titans, Google My Business is a feature through Google that allows you to manage your business listing on Google Search. Through Google My Business, you can not only list your business online, but update your business information, respond to reviews, and if you choose you can utilize Google Ads through your My Business page as well.

  1. Bing

Bing utilizes business and search ads the same as Google, so if you list your business with Bing you can utilize all the benefits the search engine has to offer! It’s easy to do, and like the other listings, it has free and paid features depending on your needs.

  1. BBB (Better Business Bureau)

The BBB is an organization that’s been trusted by the public for many years. It’s an online local business directory that showcases your local businesses trustworthiness as well as your commitment to transparency. Like Google, Yelp, and other directories, you’ll receive a score, and reviews of your business will also be listed, increasing your connection to your community.

  1. Angie’s List

Angie’s list, like few other directories mentioned in this list, allows someone in your community to search by category and need. It provides a review and rating system, and it’s easy to list your business through their website.

  1. Yelp

Register your local business with Yelp to not only reach a new customer base but to give others the opportunity to review your business! Yelp is based on customer reviews and ratings, and is a trusted source not only for restaurants but also for other industries as well! It’s easy, it’s free, and it will expand your reach.

  1. Thumbtack

Thumbtack is a local listing site and an app that brings customers to your business. When you list your business with them, they provide leads submitted by people in your community looking for services. Whether it’s wellness, home improvement, private lessons, or other services, your business can find a niche!

  1. Chamber of Commerce

Your local chamber of commerce is a great place to look as well! Your local chamber is a trusted source of information for your community, and they have a local business directory where locals can find your business.

  1. Yahoo Local

Yahoo! May not be the first listing site you think of when it comes to search engines, but the company also offers free and paid listings for local businesses to utilize and grow their audience.

  1. JustLocalBusiness 

Just Local is a free listing site that takes out the hassles of other sites and makes it easy to navigate and find exactly what you’re looking for. It gives business owners the ability to be seen quickly and display their services without being jumbled between ads and other distractions some sites have.

  1. 411

411 is an extension of Yellow and White pages. However, this is a great option because it gives people the option to search online or dial 411 and be connected to you. The steps to register with 411 are a little trickier but very worth it to continue reaching out to your community.

  1. LinkedIn

Getting on LinkedIn could help not only reach potential clients and customers, but it can also help connect you to other small businesses. This platform is great for networking and keeping up to date with what’s happening in your industry, as well as events that you may want to take part in!

  1. FourSquare

The benefit of FourSquare is its real-time geo-locating. People can share their location with your business, as well as review and rate. This local listing site also shows local favorites versus chains, which is helpful when trying to find new customers or clients.

  1. YellowPages

YellowPages has since transformed from a thick phonebook to both an online directory and an app! It’s a huge asset to have when trying to reach new customers, as well as get your business name out to your community.

  1. SuperPages

This directory is free but also gives you a free score so you can see how you stack up against competitors. This is great because then you know what customers are saying and what they’re looking for, allowing you to get an edge in your industry. Our previous article also stated that you’re able to post deals as well as business information.

  1. Merchant Circle

Merchant Circle gives business owners and consumers the ability to rate and review, as well as respond to comments. It’s free to sign up, but they do have paid features as well to boost your reach across the platform. You can also post deals on the website for those in your community to take advantage of.

  1. Nextdoor

Nextdoor is a local listing site that allows you to reach your local community when you register a local business, but you can also list deals and events happening with your business. This is an excellent perk and incentive for you and your community members to use!

  1. DiscoverOurTown.com

Discover our town allows you to list your business with the local area. It focuses on allowing those that are traveling to find local small businesses quickly and easily for their shopping and travel needs.

  1. HotFrog

HotFrog is another local listing site that allows you to register for free and gain leads or traction in your community. It’s easy to sign up and validate your business online.

Some of these are our all-time favorites and some of these are new, but we encourage you to explore your options and decide what suits your current needs. Every industry is different and will require different listing site options depending on who you’re trying to reach. To find other options you can check our some of our other lists in our blog!

20 ways to support local businesses in 2021

business, now more than ever we need to support each other. Small businesses have found themselves in pretty dire situations, and it’s no surprise people are responding with an outpour of support to try and help. If you feel like you’ve run out of ways you can support your local businesses, or community, keep reading. We have twenty great ways you can support local, and support small businesses.

  1. Commit to Local Businesses

While this seems simple to do, it can be harder in practice! To support local businesses, it’s important to commit to those businesses the best you can. Below we’ll dive more into ways you can help, but the key ingredient here is committing to those businesses, even if it’s just a few of your favorites. 

  1. Write a post

We all know that for business, content is king, and this idea extends to being a customer. Utilizing your social media to write a nice post about your favorite local business or small business can go a long way! You don’t have to be a novelist or write something lengthy, but just putting up a post to let your friends list or followers know where you like to go can boost business for your favorite shop!

  1. Tip Well

Going out to eat? Tipping is customary in our culture, but remember that not only are you supporting the business by dining out, but you’re also supporting their staff. A lot of the staff rely on their tips to make ends meet, and fewer people dining out means fewer tips. Remember to tip well if you can, it’ll be appreciated by a lot of people!

  1. Go Online

Want to keep your distance but still help small businesses? Shopping online at your local business stores is another great way to help boost their sales and also supply yourself with items you need, or even items you want. 

  1. Offer your own services

Do you have a special skill? Maybe a few connections in the community? Reach out and offer them! It never hurts to ask if there’s something else you can do other than purchase their services or supplies. Businesses often pay a lot of money for graphics, consulting, and advertising. If you have a skill that can be of use, offering it can go a long way in keeping local businesses running.

  1. Donate

Not only is donating great for the community, but any extra supplies could be welcomed by small businesses, and a great way to support local shops and owners. You could donate money to a cause they’re running, items to a fundraiser, or even extra supplies that you may have hoarded like hand sanitizer or toilet paper. Check in with your local businesses and see if there’s anything you can offer them to make their operations smoother. 

  1. Write a Review

Reviews do a lot for a business like helping it rank higher in Google searches, letting those on social media know that their customers are happy, and ultimately driving more business to them. With travel reopening, leaving a great review for your local businesses can help boost their customer base by showing not only loyalty but the satisfaction their customers receive!

  1. Tell All Your Friends

Word of mouth is also still one of the top ways to market and advertise. Telling friends and family about your favorite haunts and encouraging them to try out your favorite restaurants or shops can increase the support the business sees, and help them get through these hard times. 

  1. Take Pictures

Especially for restaurants, or businesses where you receive handmade goods, photos are important. It gives others the ability to see the quality you received, and when posting to social media or a review, can help the business receive more positive reviews and business. Also, use of photos helps with advertising, just remember to tag them!

  1. Order Take Out

Ordering take out from chain restaurants has been made easy by delivery apps, but next time you’re looking for a quick meal, double check to see if your favorite restaurant is offering delivery or take out services! Not only will you be able to fill your stomach but you’ll also continue supporting small business and community members. 

  1. Keep the Membership

With social distancing, work-from-home measures, and other precautions that have made leaving our homes different, keeping gym memberships or other memberships seems to be illogical, especially if they’re temporarily closed. However, keeping your membership until the space reopens could potentially help keep that small business or local business in operation. 

  1. DIY Projects

We all picked up a hobby or two during the initial shutdown, so why not keep it going? If you’re in need of craft supplies, or you’re looking to spruce up your space, try hitting up local suppliers before big chains first. They may also offer better deals or tricks on how to accomplish your project. 

  1. Follow, Like, Share and Subscribe

We’ve said it once, we’ll say it a lot more, content is king. Follow your favorite local businesses, like their posts, share their posts, or subscribe to their channels for regular updates. Not only does this boost their social media presence and help their name spread onto other feeds, but it can help you stay on top of what they might need, or any deals they might be offering. 

  1. Check Local Business Directories

We’ve done a few articles in different directories businesses should sign up for, and you can check them out for yourself to see where your city might have the most listings! But checking these local business directories for contractors, restaurants, shops, salons, and other needs is a great way to support small business and local businesses alike. 

  1. Continue Checking In

Sometimes, reaching out to check in and directly ask what they need to feel supported is the best thing you can do. Letting a small business or local businesses know that you’re there to support is a meaningful way to show you care and you’re present for your community. 

  1. Lookout for Local Events

Events that allow small businesses to showcase their products and services are typically held throughout the year, usually at an expo or a fair. Keep an eye on your local paper, chamber of commerce, or other city social media to be sure you’re up to date on events happening and how you can support them.

  1. Be Thoughtful

During these times, it’s difficult to keep others in mind with all the stress that’s mounting. But continuing to be thoughtful and mindful when shopping can help small businesses continue to succeed. 

  1. Be Compassionate

Compassion is a gift that everyone can benefit from but is one that can sometimes be lacking in times of hardship. Allowing yourself to extend compassion is just one way to show that you’re in it with others and you’re going to support in the ways you can. 

  1. Be Patient

This is a big one, especially for local businesses. Some places are lacking staff, some are having difficulty getting supplies, regardless of the reason you may have to wait or your favorite item might be out of stock. Being patient is an extension of showing compassion, and kindness. It will allow businesses to feel at ease and it allows them grace while they try to fill your needs.

  1. Keep Spreading the Good Vibes

A lot of us can agree times are hard. Positivity is a way to outreach to your community and when you get involved with a positive attitude others will follow suit. Bringing unity during hard times makes us stronger, so keep up the good attitude and continue to persevere. 

US Business Listing Sites

Top 10 free US business listing sites USA

With the never-ending amount of information on the internet, it can be difficult to navigate where you should advertise your business. Each business has its own personal and unique needs when it comes to advertising and marketing, so having information on resources is important. To start gaining traction, it’s a great idea to get on a business listing site or a business directory. Not only will this help drive traffic to your site, but it can lead to an increased number of clients or customers as well! Below, you’ll find our top ten local business listing sites.

US Business Listing Sites

1. Great American Buy Local

We’ll start with our own directory, just in case you need a refresher! Great American Buy Local is free and easy to sign up with. We also promote your business across different social media channels to help your business reach organic traffic. We also include blogs and articles to assist you with your online business journey. We’re easy to use and contact if there are any questions, and we focus on local areas so your customers will be close to you!

2. USCity

USCity is a .net website that allows you to list your business through a verification process. Though you may have to go through a phone call process, it helps avoid any spam or potential fraud listings that could be added. There is also an option to search for your business and claim it, which can help avoid inputting incorrect information and being rejected from the site. The site will list your business information for clients and customers to find based on their city location. This site doesn’t allow customers to leave reviews, however, if you would like to provide your customers that option, this list will have other directories for you to choose from!

3. YellowPages

YellowPages is a classic business listing site. Having evolved from the traditional phonebook to both an online website and mobile app, Yellow pages puts focus on your local business listing to bring you customers in your local area first. This directory allows you to claim your business by verifying information to avoid fraud or scams. It also allows customers to rate and leave reviews of your business which can help spread the word about your business and what you have to offer! 

4. CrunchBase

According to TendToRead CrunchBase is “…the leading platform for professionals and business owners who wants to connect companies and people behind them. There are millions of business professionals—including entrepreneurs, investors, market researchers and sales people. Through Crunchbase you can not only add your business also get connected to people who are dealing in the same fields or business. You can also get information about the business for funding and leadership positions and also mergers of acquisitions.” To summarize, the site allows you to post your local business listing and reach not only customers but also other businesses that you may want to partner with in the future. It’s a great way to network and build connections while still allowing yourself to reach out to your community. 

5. City Local Pro

This directory allows you as a business to list your site and cater the listing to maximize who you reach. Users can search based on specific keywords and criteria to find the services or company they’re looking for in their area. It’s a great way to make sure you’re reaching only those that are actually in need of your services, rather than taking calls or receiving emails from those who are unsure. City Local Pro is also easy to access so if customers are on the web or mobile, they can still search and find your business. 

6. Yelp

With Yelp not only is it easy to reach a new customer base, but it gives others the opportunity to review your business! Yelp is based on customer reviews and ratings, and is a trusted source not only for restaurants but also for other industries as well! It’s easy to use, comes on web or a mobile app setting, and allows you to adjust your business information as needed. Because it’s a rate and review service, you also have the ability to respond to reviews customers have left, thanking them for stopping by. 

7. Merchant Circle

Merchant Circle gives business owners and consumers the ability to rate and review, as well as respond to comments. Even though it is a free business listing site to sign up and use, they do have paid features as well to boost your reach across the platform. You can also post deals on the website for those in your community to take advantage of.

8. HotFrog

HotFrog is a local business listing site that allows you to register your local business and gain leads or traction in your community. It’s easy to sign up and validate your business online. HotFrog also allows your customers to leave a review and rating of their experience with your business, letting others know of your great work!

9. Foursquare

While FourSquare is not limited to the United States, it is a great place to post your local business listing. This directory is mobile app-based because it allows customers and clients to check in and let others know they visited your business. It’s a fantastic way to show how many people are coming to see your business, and a great way to interact with customers and your local community. 

10. TrolleyLocal 

TrolleyLocal is a business listing site whose mission states “ALL of us can make a difference and making a difference in our community is our top priority”. One of the great perks of this site, is not only does it provide customers with a local business listing, but it allows them and you to compare your business to others that are in the similar category. The listings provide ratings, reviews, and profiles for each business so you can see what your customers are saying, and how other businesses are operating. 
Deciding where to lit your business can be a daunting task. There are a lot of different sources, and a lot of information regarding these online directories. With the information provided here, these free directories could be a great choice for your business, but if you have any questions or want more information? Feel free to check out our other blogs regarding online directories and what they offer!