We’re all guilty of it. A quick trip to the store, a simple drive-though pit stop on the way home. That old, ‘convenience factor’ is everyone’s favorite excuse for visiting the big chains.
As much as we may want to support local all the time, it can be difficult to work it into every area of your life. (But it won’t be long until local businesses will get online to band together and localize the entire country!)
And while it may be a stretch to cut out all corporate chains from your personal life, there’s no reason why you can’t make the effort for your small business. After all, we did!
We thought we had this local stuff down. We spent our days promoting local businesses across the country, getting to know local business owners in our own community, and going out regularly for locally brewed beers. But one glaring transgression continued to go unnoticed: our office supplies.
Since office supplies are integral to our daily business activities, it seemed natural to switch to locally produced items. So, after ordering office supplies from Staples for too long (don’t judge us), we finally learned the error of our ways and switched to Wist Office Products, and we’ve never looked back.
We’re so happy with the switch that we’ve not only renewed our efforts to become a “localized” business, but we figured out how to help you get there as well.
How’s this for a go local kick-starter: Enter our small business Office Supply Contest to win $300 in office supplies from Wist Office Products, a local business based out of sunny Phoenix, AZ, and learn from our mistakes with these simple steps to localize your small business.
Buy Local Office Supplies
The first things you localize should be the items that keep your business chugging along every day: the pens, paper, bags, cleaning supplies, printers, and furniture you use regularly. For most small business owners, this should be a natural extension of their local outsourcing. Giants like Staples and Office Max are so prevalent that it can be easy to overlook this step. But by doing a little research, you’ll be able to find locally based companies like Wist that can offer you higher quality products and a better deal on your office supplies.
Buy Locally Printed Marketing Materials
Those neat stickers in your windows; your menus; your pricing structure; a cute family photo, everything you hang in your store should come from local printers. Fortunately, this can be an easier step to work into your business plan. If your city is anything like Phoenix, there are an abundance of small print shops in your area to meet your needs. These local companies are more likely to be helpful on design and creativity, and will allow you to order exactly the quantity you need.
Local credit unions and locally based banks are always better options than national chain banks. Why? Not only are you supporting a local institution, and all of the jobs that go along with it, you are more likely to get the personalized attention that your business deserves. Whereas a corporate behemoth may not look upon your situation with much flexibility, a local banking partner will be more likely to do whatever they can to positively impact the community. Whether it’s helping you get a small business loan, or assisting you in building your business line of credit, these local institutions are more deeply engrained in the community, and it’s as important to them that you succeed as it is to you.
Purchase From Local Manufacturers
Purchasing from local suppliers is a smart move on many levels. First off, it will put you in closer contact to your products as they move along the supply chain, which will help you ensure a quality final product. One of the biggest challenges in business is getting all of the pieces to fall into place without breaking the bank. But when you are building a product from locally manufactured materials, you can minimize the shipping costs and waiting time. Secondly, local suppliers mean more local jobs. With your business, you are indirectly supporting a wide array of jobs in the local community. And finally, the best part of purchasing from local manufacturers is getting to see the product and meet the people before you agree to a deal.
Join a Local Association
I don’t think I can write enough on the positive aspects of belonging to a local business association. There is a ‘go local’ movement happening across America, and although small business owners sparked it, local business associations are ushering it along. Joining this movement will help your business, and your community, thrive and grow. Start by checking our ever-growing list of small business associations across America to find a group in your area. Then take a look at the resources at Be A Localist, or the American Sustainable Business Council. Then get the word out to fellow small business owners and help them go local too.