Extending the “buy local” message to B2B

Extending the “buy local” message to B2B

Source: Succeeding in Small Business

By: Jeanne Yocum

Pictured: Jack Templin, Affiliated Distributors

All the garden centers in my little town have opened in the past few weeks, and we will again be hearing lots of “buy local” messages, encouraging us to buy fruits and vegetables from nearby farms over the summer growing season. Over the past ten years, the mantra of “buy local” has become more and more popular, with restaurant after restaurant letting us know that their menus feature locally sourced ingredients.

The positives that come from this movement cannot be denied. By keeping more of our spending in our local communities, we are all helping to build a stronger regional economy. This is why I think it’s high time the “buy local” message is extended well beyond farm stands, restaurants and retail businesses to include B2B services as well.

My corner of the world here in Western Massachusetts is filled with talented people providing B2B professional services of all types. Yet far too often, I hear of instances in which local companies and nonprofits hire professional services firms from Boston or New York or sometimes even farther afield. I’m sure this situation is duplicated in many regions across the country.

Is it the bright lights of the big city that dazzle people into thinking they will get better service there, when in reality what they often get is only higher prices? (I can say this with some authority having worked for 32 years in a big city.)

If you ask people why they felt they had to go outside of our region to get the talent they needed, you often find they really didn’t look very hard close to home. They just assumed the best people would be found in the eastern part of our state, when in reality, many very experienced and highly skilled people here in the Pioneer Valley had fled that part of the state in search of a better quality of life. So if you search, you can find the same level of talent and experience here as you can in Boston, for example, without having to pay city prices. I’m sure this is true in community after community across the nation.

So what do you say we extend the “buy local” thinking to all kinds of goods and services, including B2B professional services? Look around your part of the country. Isn’t there some strong B2B talent there you could tap and keep your dollars in the local community where it will be spent to help keep the economy strong?

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