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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.