Maidenhead Gift Emporium
Photo Credit: Maidenhead Gift Emporium

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been talking a lot on this blog about the support that’s available to small business owners. Examples have included support networks, how to alleviate feelings of loneliness and how to look after your mental health. But one of the biggest sources of support for small business owners are, of course, our customers!

So as a consumer, why should you support small business? Here are 10 reasons:

  1. At the start of 2019, 99.3% of businesses in the UK were small (49 employees or less). And of these, 76% did not employ anyone apart from the owner. So when you support a small business, you’re making a HUGE difference to an individual person, not just making a single transaction within a corporate machine.

  1. When you support that person, the difference you make may not just be purely financial. You could be helping a parent work flexibly so they can be at the school gates every day. Or allowing someone to be there for a family member who themselves might need a little extra help. By supporting a business that the person cares so much about, you’re supporting allowing them to live the life they need to.

  1. Shopping locally can also have a hugely positive effect on your environment. By choosing a small business, your items are probably locally made. Therefore there is no mass production, and hopefully the carbon footprint is as low as it can be.

  1. You’re also choosing to support someone’s individual skills and experience. The owner has probably invested in their own training and development. Or spent countless hours refining and perfecting their craft. By choosing their business, you’re showing a true appreciation for the work the owner has put in.

  1. Research shows that for every £10 spent with a local, independent shop, a huge £50 is returned to the local economy. Choosing to support a local business means that you’re making an important contribution to your area, town and region.

  1. As explained above, the vast majority of small businesses are run by a single person. This means that the business owner will be personally invested in the relationship between you. Therefore, when it comes to customer service, you can expect the personal touch.

  1. If you buy from a chain, you buy something that you can find everywhere. While it may well be lovely, you buy it knowing that other people will have made the same purchase. But when you buy from a local artisan, you’re choosing originality, innovation, and again, the personal touch. A chance to be different. To stand out from the crowd.

  1. It can be incredibly difficult for small business owners to achieve the reach they need to grow their businesses. Advertising can be very expensive, and even prohibitive, when you’re trying to bootstrap! So when you engage with a social media post, leave a testimonial, or share your experience with someone, you’re having a direct, and very important, impact on that small business. And one that the owner(s) would really appreciate!

  1. Often, small businesses create a real sense of community around them both for their customers and for their broader network. Some communities, including our own, provide support to business owners at individual level. However, there are also some great examples of businesses who work together to amplify their voices and support each other. Maidenhead Gift Emporium – a collective of eight female-led small businesses – is one such example.

Fabulous things really do happen when small businesses collaborate.

Denise McCormack, Maidenhead Gift Emporium

  1. Finally, we can’t talk about the importance of supporting small business without acknowledging the recent pandemic. A recent survey from Simply Business found that the average financial impact of Covid-19 on UK small small business is £11,000! So in choosing to support a small business, you may well be choosing to help that business to survive.

So next time you decide to buy a product or a service, why not consider choosing a local provider? There are so many amazing, inspiring businesses out there, so go out there. And discover them!

When you support a small business, you’re supporting a dream.