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There seem to be endless headlines about the death of the British high street and the bleak conditions for our small businesses. But there’s something positive we can all do to improve the situation. It’s a simple case of ‘use it, or lose it’. If we want our villages, towns and cities to thrive, we need to use the services and buy our goods from local businesses.
The Leicesterhsire and Rutland Business Club exists to support local business people in our area. Take a look at our members page to see who we recommend.
There are three really good reasons why using local businesses is good for you, as a member of your local community.
Growth of local economy
It’s a lovely circular thing when you spend money in your local shops and businesses. You buy something from a local business, they spend that money in other local businesses and it just keeps going round. Wonderfully, this applies to every area of your life where you pay for goods or services: financial sector, tradespeople, food and drink, printing, online services, independent shops, markets, fairs – the list is huge. This builds the strength of a local economy, making it more resilient to national economic pressures.
Trust and accountability
With smaller, local businesses, you have the chance to build up an authentic relationship with businesses whose reputation you can trust. You don’t have to engage in a webchat or sit in a phone queue to ask a question. If you’ve had a recommendation, you can trust the quality of their work from the off. You deal with the same experts every time and feel confident to ask the ‘silly question’ or pop in with quick queries.
Everyone makes mistakes on occasion, most people accept that. The frustrating thing about large national and multinational companies is that their level of accountability is disproportionately low compared to their profit margin. A local business will be able to find the solution to any problems in a much more acceptable time frame.
Lots of big, successful companies have great customer service and are also big investors in local communities, particularly in providing employment. But, by definition, they cannot have the same unique identity and personal service of a local business.
Google doesn’t always have the answers
The internet can be a wonderful thing – but it doesn’t always have the answer to what you’re looking for. We’ve all had disappointing experiences with online shopping:
- a supermarket substituting a bag of lemons with a bottle of lemon Flash
- clothes that don’t fit, despite being in your usual size
- travel plans that take hours to plan and don’t end up saving you any money
We’ve all been there. If you haven’t seen something ‘in real life’, how can you be sure that it’s the right colour? Just because they can afford TV advertising, doesn’t mean you really are getting the best deal. For that reason alone, it’s worth checking out your local offering before you commit your digits to an online purchase.
There are plenty of other reasons why shopping local benefits your local community but these three really ring true to most people. It’s not initially about boosting local business, it’s about making the most of your hard earned cash and getting efficient, expert customer service. Rutland and Leicestershire are full of top quality local businesses, who do you recommend?