If you think about what makes a community unique, your mind probably goes to the quaint shops and small businesses that often make up Main Street. A variety of small businesses bring individuality and character to the neighborhood, but they also do so much more. There are many benefits of having a warm and welcoming approach to entrepreneurship and eager new business owners.
Benefit 1: Unique Community Identity
Small businesses help differentiate between communities. A local restaurant or cafe gives patrons a taste of the region, especially when they partner with local farms, dairies, or butchers. A farm-to-table restaurant takes a guest full circle around the community from vegetables to meats and local bakers. These places also tend to display their pride in their community with artwork or elements taken from local shops and artisans.
Small businesses also incorporate professional services. Visitors walking down the street get a feel for what residents in the community are like, the quality of the education delivered at local colleges and universities, and the financial and legislative resources appropriated to help the community thrive. The right display can create a positive perception of wealth and vitality.
Benefit 2: Increased Economic Health
The good thing about small businesses in a community is the tight network that owners become a part of. Entrepreneurs look to their peers for guidance and support as they figure out the new world of ownership, but they also value working with others within their community. Many research local locations for providers of utilities, legal assistance, accounting, cleaning, and garbage services.
A local company usually prefers to keep their money within the community, a decision that has a profound impact on the economic health of the region. Strong community bonds are formed, but it also put money back in the pockets of their friends and neighbors.
Small business employees and owners often tend to be happier in their positions, further encouraging the vitality and energy often felt when strolling through the heart of a small town. A small coffee shop or a bowling alley can help keep the community’s economy from taking a deep hit whenever the national economy falters. Their presence creates stability.
Benefit 3: Greater Community Involvement
You will find events and festivals in communities of all sizes, but many of the participants, donors, and volunteers come from the small businesses of the community. Look at the ads displayed during youth sporting events. Many of them will be from small businesses that have paid the organization for ad space. The statistics show that 52% of small business owners actively donate to charities, with 90% of the funds being sent to local causes. Because the community is home to the business owner, it makes it more important to take pride in their town and share their success with their fellow residents
Donations and volunteer work provide dual benefits for small business owners. Not only are they supplying a helping hand to the town that supports their business venture, but they also develop a favorable reputation across the community. It doesn’t matter if its plumbing services or tax accounting. The positive reaction that is received from the community is an effective form of establishing rapport and connecting with your market.
Benefit 4: Environmentally Friendly Developments
As communities look for ways to revitalize their downtown or Main Street areas, very few residents approve of bringing in big-box retailers or large chain stores. To do often means destroying classic architecture to make way for huge parking lots and corporate warehouse stores. The character and charm of the old buildings get lost in the chaos, and communities are left with very little memory of their past.
Small businesses are great tenants for older buildings that have been repurposed and designed to preserve memories while maintaining functionality. Choosing this method of revitalization avoids the ecological impact that comes from new building projects, construction waste, and increased emissions from more vehicle traffic and industrial energy consumption. Urban blight is a common occurrence in downtown locations that have been compromised and abandoned by the impact of a nearby shopping mall. Walkable downtown areas reduce traffic congestion, air quality, and noise pollution. Small business owners typically recycle many things for their storefront locations and source their materials locally, further reducing the environmental impact of their downtown operations.
Benefit 5: More Local Jobs
In 2017, the U.S. Small Business Administration revealed that two out of every three new jobs since 2014 were created by small businesses. What is even better about this statistic is that these jobs are often given to residents of the local community, rather than being shipped overseas. Local jobs mean more people are able to live and work in the community they love and call home.
Many people leave small communities because of the lack of employment opportunities, especially if they are looking for more than blue-collar wages and hope of financial success. A strong small business sector creates jobs that can support the economic structure and financial needs of the locals. People who work close to home often shop closer to home and keep their expenses lower. Commutes into town can be costly, as is real estate in the city. Small towns have eateries, pubs, cafes, organic shops, furniture stores, and just about everything one would need, making it also easier to live and work in the same areas for a much lower cost of living than larger, neighboring cities.
Money that stays local further strengthens the local economy. This is what a small business can do for the community.