By: James Bonadies
Local businesses are the pillars of our communities. They’re the places we see every day as we go about our lives, giving our neighbourhoods their unique vibes. Businesses where we know the owners by name and don’t need a menu before placing an order are the lifeblood of our local communities. Now with the rapid proliferation of corporate big box stores and e-commerce—and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic—our local businesses are being threatened. But there’s an opportunity in this crisis for those who are willing to grasp it: we can help local businesses survive and thrive, and make money in the process. I’ll show you how.
How local businesses benefit communities
Small businesses make up 99.9% of all businesses in the United States, where they keep wealth within our communities, our municipal coffers solvent, and people employed.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses have generated more than eight million new jobs since the turn of the millennium — twice as many as corporate giants.
Our neighbourhood businesses pay local taxes and are not subject to big corporate tax breaks, which means they help generate revenue for our schools, streets, and public works.
Local businesses are hotbeds of diversity, since 29% of them are minority-owned.
How to help local businesses and make money, too
There are 29 million businesses in the United States alone, and they all need the same thing: customers. This is where you can help: become a bridge between local businesses and the customers they need to survive will not only better the commercial landscape in your community, it will also allow you to develop your own local business in the process.
How can you start doing this?
1. Start local, stay local.
We all think we know our neighbors, but when was the last time you schlepped over to the local hardware store instead of going to Lowes? Do the workers at your neighborhood diner know you by name? Are you up to date on the challenges that the local businesses in your community currently face?
Hit the streets and get to know your local entrepreneurs. Participate in meet-ups and events. Shake hands, make friends, and pass around your business cards.
2. Use your personal social network.
Since your focus is on the businesses in your community, start as local as you can get: your inner circle. Do you have an old buddy who manages a restaurant? Does your brother-in-law own a bar? Does your mother gab with the gals at the hairdresser? In local communities, people talk. Put out the word that you can help these local businesses get more customers and watch the referrals roll in.
3. Offer a service that local businesses already need and want.
If you follow my directions, you’ll be providing a service that most entrepreneurs desperately need. By leveraging simple communications technologies that you’re already using in new ways, you’ll increase your clients’ online visibility.
4. Activate the Baby Yoda strategy.
When you get your first client, start by offering simple services, then scale up as you prove your worth and build trust. For your first contract, offer a service like providing positive reviews on Google Maps. You can gradually offer more advanced services, and watch your income rise exponentially.
5. Take a training course.
I’ve made over seven figures per year operating a bridge business in my community and you can, too. It is important to find a training course that will show you exactly how to do this, and an expert who can coach you through each step on your path to success.
Become a neighborhood savior
Imagine for a moment what your community would be like without local businesses. If the only places to shop, dine, and hang out were big box stores and monotonous chains. Local businesses not only stimulate local economies, they also invigorate tax bases, provide jobs for your friends and neighbors, and make your community vibrant, unique, and full of flavor.
All over the country our local businesses are in trouble, so do your part to help them stay alive … and make yourself a little money while you’re at it.
Local Marketing Vault