You’ve heard it a thousand times: location, location, location. And sure, if you run a brick-and-mortar small business, details like great traffic and excellent parking certainly improve your possibilities. But regardless of your location, I thought maybe we could talk a moment about “place” and what it means to be a small business rolling into these next years.
The Importance of Place for Small Businesses
Ever since the COVID-19 Pandemic began in 2020, people everywhere have had to reconsider their relationships with local businesses. It used to just be a sign you’d see in the window: “shop local.” But with lockdowns, unemployment, shipping and logistics delays, and so much more to contend with, people everywhere found themselves having to think about who they wanted to spend their money with and what that meant to them.
Before 2020, people might not have thought twice about placing their order with a large online retailer or a global big box store. But as the Pandemic continued, many communities rallied around supporting local businesses like never before. It suddenly became quite clear that without some direct and thoughtful local intervention, some of these small businesses might not make it for more than a few months, and some doors might be shutting forever.
What could a small business do? Well, lots, as it turns out.
Sean Hopkins opened “Hoppy’s Cantina” in a small northern Massachusetts town a few days before the entire state’s first big virus-related lockdown. He’d run restaurants before–this kind of delay might end up being a kiss of death before he’d even had a chance to fail in all the typical ways.
He started posting little videos on Facebook about the kinds of burritos you could pick up via Take Out ONLY. Of course, just a few items were available, but Sean’s Facebook videos sold the heck out of them. His guacamole videos (often complete with singing) made your mouth water, not to mention the incredible pulled pork burritos. Sean’s efforts on his Facebook page drove sales that kept his restaurant alive during lockdown for sure.
Local is More of a Badge Than Ever Before
It’s a great time to promote your local roots, and people are showing interest in keeping their neighborhood businesses alive. It’s one thing to worry about who has the right price. It’s another to know that a company might vanish, thus leaving people with no local choice, if something isn’t done to keep it that way. All that glitters is not gold, after all.
But one caution: there’s not a lot of forgiveness for poor customer service. You might not be able to compete on price, but if you don’t make the buying experience professional, friendly, and very efficient, you might not be able to count on that local support for long.
One last detail: share the wealth. Just as you might run a local business, also remember to visit some local restaurants, buy from a few local shops, and refer as much business as possible to your neighbors. It’s most definitely a group effort, and the more people sharing the work, the easier it is to keep more local companies safe.
What have you done to make “local” matter even more?
About the Author
In addition to being a best-selling author and influencer in the marketing space, Chris is a sought-after keynote speaker and showrunner of “The Backpack Show.” Currently, Chris serves as Chief of Staff at AppFire, providing strategic advisory services to the senior and executive leadership of the company, with a mandate to drive the company’s major initiatives across the organization. He is also President of Chris Brogan Media, offering brand and digital content strategy and business strategy advisory services.