By Taylor Smock, Associate
The “pull yourself up by your own boot straps” mentality is one that is foundational to a core set of traditional American beliefs, and has stood the test of time from the days of our forefathers. Ever since 17th and 18th Century United States, small businesses have been vital to our economy and lifestyle. What began as agriculturalists, merchants, and independent craftsmen has transcended into modern corporations and entrepreneurs. To this day, small business is absolutely necessary to the health of the U.S. economy.
When you support a small business, you’re supporting a dream.
Business start up costs in the U.S. average around $30,000, although depending on the type of business, this number can vary widely. However, no dollar amount can sum up the countless hours of hard work it takes to make a small business fully operational – the long days and even longer nights, fueled by coffee and the ambition to create one’s very own American Dream.
This dedication to making things right pays off – in fact, independent businesses consistently end the year with their bookkeepers writing in black ink, as opposed to large chain stores that tend to show annual deficits while simultaneously reducing employment rate. For example, the opening of a Wal-Mart reduces retail employment by an average of 150 jobs for the entire county in which it was established.
Customers are the ones to benefit from the annual return of the small business in the form of outstanding customer care and exceptional expertise gained through years of experience. While there are exceptions to every rule, the direct ties that bind an individual to a local business allows for a more hands-on and personalized customer experience. This commitment to good business means that most owners and employees aren’t just in it to make money and go home without a second thought – the roots to their industry run deep and this passion is passed on to the consumer.
Investing in local business is also investing in your community
A study was conducted in Austin, Texas to track how spending at one store went on to influence local economic activity. For each $100 spent at a chain bookstore, $13 of it was returned to the local economy, whereas for each $100 spent at the independent bookstore yielded a $45 local economic return.
Every dollar you spend with local merchants returns far more back into the economy than big box stores can allow. In fact, if the population of an average American city were to shift 10% of their annual spending from chain retailers to local shops, the local economy would be boosted by about $235 million. Furthermore, on the national level, if each family spent just an extra $10 per month with an independent business, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy.
Where is this stimulus coming from? Keep in mind that in the United States, small business is big business. According to the 2010 Census, there are 27.9 million small businesses, all of which are more likely to reinvest their income into the local community. This is achieved through a variety of avenues, including using local suppliers for goods and necessities, paying local wages and taxes, service recycling such as using local banks or advertisers, and community donations.
Economic dollars aside, there is no better contributor to the uniqueness of each community than its independent businesses, giving each city a unique flavor all it’s own. From artists to salons to restaurants and everything in between, each and every small business owner and their employees adds something special to your town, and that is something that should most certainly be celebrated and cherished.
How to get in touch: Lubbock edition
KCDB Best of the West: http://www.kcbd.com/category/305940/best-of-the-west-2016
Lubbock Chamber of Commerce: http://web.lubbockchamber.com/search
eLocal – Find anything local, anywhere: www.elocal.com
Small Business Saturday, the national movement to shop with independent retailers and craftsmen that is traditionally celebrated in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, has come and gone for the year, but why limit it to one weekend? Local business is the heartbeat of our community, so I challenge you to make it a regular stop on your to-do list.
TL;DR – Independent business owners tend to show an annual return, as opposed to big box stores that tend to show an annual deficit, while at the same time the small business owner will generate about 3.5 times more wealth for the local and national economy and employ more people. The customer benefits from shopping small through industry expertise, dedication to customer service, and the contribution to making their community unique.