3 Easy Ways To Support Local Businesses In Your Company
The concept of buying local has been growing in popularity in recent years. The trend is typically talked about from a consumer perspective. However, it can also be wise for businesses to do their corporate shopping through local vendors.
While it may seem like little more than a call back to simpler times, there are many reasons to prioritize buying local, even two decades into the 21st century.
The Benefits of Buying Local
Buying from local businesses isn’t just a fun activity or a tip of the hat to a neighboring brand. There are very real benefits that come from supporting a local enterprise.
For example, buying locally can have a significant impact on your community. It allows businesses that are native to the area to help define and shape local culture. It also adds to the prosperity and quality of life for those around you.
The environment can benefit from local business interactions, as well. Fewer miles and less overall transportation are both helpful.
Even your own business benefits from frequenting local vendors. For instance, increasing local prosperity can improve the quality of workers that you hire. It can reduce things like shipping and handling fees. It even gives you an extra marketing chip as you can inform customers about your commitment to buy locally and reduce your carbon footprint.
Ways Businesses Can Support Local Businesses
Seeing the benefits is nice, but actually turning them into reality can be challenging. Here are a few suggestions for ways that you can implement local business initiatives into your own operation.
1. Use Third-Party Vendors
One of the challenges that many businesses face is finding local companies that they can easily support. After all, you’re focused on operating your company with efficiency and in a profitable manner.
This can make the idea of shopping local or patronizing smaller businesses, in general, sound like an overpriced luxury. The good news is that there are often third-party tools and organizations that can streamline this activity and make it well worth your time.
For instance, wholesale apparel marketplace Faire specializes in facilitating B2B interactions between designer brands and retailers. This includes business that takes place between smaller brands and labels. By using this platform, a retailer can streamline the effort required to find smaller designers that they want to work with and support.
If you’re looking for ways to support local businesses through your company, don’t just look for the individual businesses themselves. Try to find tools that cater to connecting smaller brands within the field or industry that you need.
2. Find Complementary Business Partnerships
If you’re a local business, chances are you need to be supported as well. Even if you’re at the top of the heap, it can often be mutually beneficial for local companies to work together.
This doesn’t mean you need to find and work with your local competitors. That can lead to tension and conflicts of interest.
Nevertheless, there are countless ways that companies can find other enterprises with products and services that complement their activities. For example, a restaurant could find a local farmer that they can buy from. An office building could source its utilities through a local green energy supplier.
Often these alliances are natural and easy to come by. However, if you add a sense of purpose behind each cross-business decision that you make, it can ensure that each interaction is truly targeted toward helping your neighboring businesses.
3. Don’t Opt for Convenience Every Time
In the past, a large number of business activities had to take place between fellow companies within a geographic area. However, as the global economy has grown closer together, it’s become easier to outsource various needs to vendors half a world away. If companies aren’t careful, they can hurt local businesses by simply taking advantage of this new way of doing things.
This applies to products and services alike. One good example is a coffee bar. If your office signs up for a recurring shipment of beans from an online vendor instead of buying freshly roasted stock from a local shop, it can hurt your local economy.
In the same vein, don’t cancel your attendance at a nearby event purely because you’d rather attend an online version that’s more convenient. This can make it difficult for local shops, restaurants, hotels, and the like to stay in operation.
We live in a convenience-first world. However, it’s becoming all too easy to prioritize convenience over other items of value. As your company goes about its daily activities, put each decision through a filter by considering how it’s helping or hurting your local businesses.
There are plenty of reasons to support local businesses. These don’t just apply to consumers, either. From reinforcing a healthy local economy to helping the environment to improve their own bottom line, it’s important that businesses also do their part.
So, consider your own company’s activities. Where are you already helping your neighboring enterprises? Where can you step up your efforts?
Use the suggestions above as a litmus test to help you vet your current efforts and inspire future activities. That way, you can make sure that your company is doing its best to help local businesses succeed — right alongside your own company.
This article has been published in accordance with Socialnomics’ disclosure policy.