Recently I read an article about an African-American couple who had decided to see if they could go an entire year without buying any products or services from businesses that weren’t African-American owned. The article got me thinking: As a small business owner, how often do you buy products or services from companies that aren’t small businesses?
If you’re like most of us, it’s probably far too often. (And no fair pointing out that Starbucks, Wal-Mart and Virgin Atlantic are all entrepreneurial businesses. Yes, I realize everyone had to start small somewhere, but I’m talking about companies that are still small.)
Supporting your local small business has gotten harder in some ways. For one thing, there’s more competition from bigger chains, forcing some of the little guys out of business. For another, we’re all watching our budgets these days and if a big company can offer something I need for a substantially lower price, I have to admit I often buy on that basis.
But in other important ways, shopping with small businesses has gotten easier. The Internet enables us to get just about anything from small companies that sell online. There’s also greater transparency today, enabling us to know who’s behind a business and where our money truly goes.
As small business owners, we’re proud of what we do and we know that we contribute to making America great. If you truly believe this, why not put your money where your mouth is? If you can buy from a small business rather than a conglomerate, please do so. If you can’t shop at an independent, choose a franchise. Even if it costs a bit more, you have the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting entrepreneurs like you—who just might turn out to be the next big thing. Just ask Starbucks’ Howard Schultz.
Ready to turn your small business into the next big thing? Your SCORE Mentors can help. Visit the SCORE website 24/7 for advice and information.