The holiday weekend may be over, but that’s no reason to stop celebrating your independence. If you’re a small business owner, it’s important to be proud about your business’s independence all year long. Year after year, consumers demonstrate an increasing desire to buy local, which means they’re looking for small and independent businesses from sea to shining sea.
Thanks to the growing buy local movement, consumers know what it means to support independent businesses and they increasingly want to do so. According to the 2015 Independent Business Survey, sponsored by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and the Advocates for Independent Business (AIB), buy local groups help independent businesses grow. In 2014, independent businesses located in cities with an active buy local campaign reported average sales growth of 9.3 percent. Independent businesses located elsewhere, on the other hand, reported sales growth of just 4.9 percent. The good news is that small and independent businesses are growing across the country; the better news is that buy local groups are helping to change consumer attitudes and behaviors along the way.
This shift in consumers’ spending and thinking is especially evident around peak retail seasons. For instance, awareness of and participation in American Express’s annual Small Business Saturday celebration grows steadily each year. In 2014, 88 million consumers shopped small on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, up 14.9 percent from the previous year, according to American Express.
From these numbers, we know that consumers are responding to the buy local movement and looking to support independents. For independent businesses trying to compete with powerful national chains, that’s a key first step to success. The next step for these businesses is to draw the indie-friendly shoppers to their store. To do that, they must assert their independence and celebrate it around town.
Celebrating your independence can be as easy as joining an existing buy local group in your community. After all, these groups drive consumer awareness and sales growth for the businesses in their communities. Do a little digging and see if the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) or the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) has a local chapter in your community. If not, consider starting a chapter of your own.
With a buy local group, you can gain the resources you need to celebrate your independence. Your business will be identified as independent in marketing materials, like business directories, social media posts and more. Your buy local group may also offer free marketing materials for your storefront. Something as simple as a “Come in, we’re local,” window sticker could go a long way in attracting customers walking by your brick and mortar.
As a small business owner, you work hard to maintain your independence. Be proud and let your community know who you are. Celebrate your independence with simple branding and marketing materials to bring local-friendly customers inside.
This post is part of a twelve-month series by Independent We Stand. Each month, we’ll feature a new way to promote your small business. If you have a tip or tool that you’d like to share with small business owners, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Independent We Stand inspires small business owners across the country to celebrate their locally owned status and help consumers understand the importance of supporting them.