Running a small business anywhere in the world can be difficult, but do you really understand the true impact your business has on the surrounding community? Obviously, battles rage on amongst small business owners and their big box competition like Home Depot, Tesco and Walmart making it more convenient than ever to get everything you need under one roof, at the lowest prices to be found anywhere in the country.
However, this doesn’t mean that communities have given up on small businesses, though. Quite the contrary…
After all, who wants to live on the same street as a Walmart, Costco, or BJ’s Wholesale? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look out my front window to be greeted by a 5-plus acre plot of tree-less concrete! As detailed in this infographic published by Slater and Gordon Lawyers; a sense of community is important to the vast majority of UK residents.
Small businesses in the country contribute to several factors that make Brits feel happy and proud of the communities they live in including shopping and convenience, job availability and security, and access to recreational facilities. Looking at the UK’s most desirable post codes, such as Neilson and East Renfrewshire in Scotland, or Swansea in Wales, and you’ll find the streets dotted with small businesses that service all their community’s most burning needs and desires.
Here are 5 big reasons your small business really and truly matters to communities big and small throughout the country:
1. Local businesses are a prime reason people love their community
You might think of yourself as just another slog toughing it out to make a living, but your community values you much more than you might think — even if they don’t tell you very often! Referring to the graphic, 75% of UK residents claim to ‘like’ their community, with 50% saying they like where they live ‘a lot’. The top reasons Brits like where they live were:
- Location (33%)
- Views (22%)
- Local Facilities (12%)
Small business is responsible for adding to the view and ambiance of a town or large urban center, whereas much of the facilities in a tight-knit community are made up entirely of small businesses that provide food, beverage, entertainment, and more. Add to that the fact that views, which include surrounding shops and other small businesses influence 95% of home renters and buyers and it should be obvious just how important small businesses are to the people who live nearby.
2. Local UK businesses contribute more than a product or service to the community
A lack of affordable housing and facilities are a big gripe among Brits who’re unhappy with the communities they live within. However, a lack of employment opportunities is also high on the list of things that leave people dissatisfied with their locale and/or lacking inclination to move to the UK’s most undesirable post codes.
Small businesses in fact provide more than just a place to buy the essentials of life. They also give back to local communities by:
- Providing jobs to locals, which not only serves the existing community, but also attracts hard-working professionals into the community. Adding jobs also lowers the welfare burden on tax payers and keeps crime down in developing areas.
- Local businesses contribute their time, labour, and other resources to local charities and events. It’s impossible to count all the ways UK entrepreneurs put back more into the system than they take, such as fundraising, volunteering, counselling youth, helping the homeless, and donating to local sport teams.
- Small businesses add depth and personality to the communities they serve. As indicated in the graphic, 62% of UK respondents feel they’re a part of their local community. Much of this is due in part to the services they use, as small business owners are ‘people businesses’ that get to know their customers by name, figure out how to satisfy as many of their needs as they can, and overall contribute to the communal conversation. UK business owners also help each other out, helping to increase foot traffic by referring customers to other local businesses who can service needs they cannot.
3. Small businesses contribute to local economic development
By providing services to residents in the place they live and work, small businesses actually help to stabilize and grow the local tax base. Keeping money in the communities where residents live incentivizes local governments to inject money into developmental initiatives like new infrastructure, healthcare, and recreational facilities such as parks and community centers that help to keep and draw in new residents.
4. Small businesses protect the environment
When residents have to commute from home to work travelling long distances every day, it contributes excessive greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere. Worse, when residents who have to travel outside their community to buy the products they need to live and thrive also contributes to a big part of the problem. Many areas of the UK, such as London rank in the top half of the world’s most polluted cities, making the need for more environmental protection that’s paramount to Britain’s health.
5. The need for small businesses give the lower class hope
If it weren’t possible, or impossibly difficult to open up a business you were passionate about, most people would never bother to try. With the UK government and its citizens so passionate about providing local communities with the small business services they need to start, grow and thrive with a small business; UK residents don’t have to feel like they’re stuck in a set financial class due to poor job availability. Anyone can start a business nowadays, with financing support and small business startup grants being more affordable and widespread than anytime in our country’s history.
Let’s all contribute to our local communities and help UK small businesses thrive
Sometimes a trip to the big box makes most sense. However, it’s important for everyone to remember that consistently passing up on the convenience and service offered by a committed local vendor means those businesses may not be there in the future when you need the fast, knowledgeable, and intimate service they can offer, over the stuffy superstores and their uninterested and often oblivious staff.
Keeping small business in our communities means everyone’s money stays in that community, continuing to contribute to building the local infrastructure and economy, keeping the sense of community high, crime rates low, and creating friendships among its residences.