America was built upon small, privately owned business. It’s part of our country’s lifeblood – its heritage – and owning/operating a small business still represents the heart and soul of that attainable American dream today.
A recent survey from Sage found that small U.S. businesses help to build more engaged communities. When Sage asked small-business owners if they personally donate to charities or nonprofit organizations, almost every one – a full 92 percent – answered “yes.”
Sage also found that 53 percent actively encourage their employees to volunteer, and 58 percent wish they could do more to support their local community.
This attitude of truly wanting to give back to local communities is what owning and operating a small business is all about. When owners live in the same community as their business, they want to nurture their relationship with the people they are part of. Many get a personal sense of satisfaction from giving back locally, which is why they tend to take up leading positions in making their community a better place to live.
Most small businesses don’t realize how much of an impact they’re already making. According to data from Civic Economics, out of every $100 of income from local businesses, $68 stay close – circulating around the local community. Comparatively, for every $100 spent by larger non-local retailers, only about $43 are left to circulate in the local community.
Small businesses also contribute significantly to job creation. Just last year, roughly 2 million out of 3 million private sector jobs were created due to small businesses, according to the U.S. Small Businesses Administration.
“Small businesses are a vital part of our nation’s economy and of the local economies they operate in,” said Jodi Uecker, interim president of Sage North America. “As the holiday shopping season approaches, shop at local small businesses to support your community.”
With the coming of a new digital age, younger generations often expect supreme speed as well as handheld mobile convenience. Digital savvy is more important than ever for small businesses to survive and continue to assist their communities. Below some tips for how to bring your small business into the digital scene.
How to grow your business in a world going digital
In 2010, there were more than 27.9 million small businesses in the United States, according to the Small Business Administration. Each of these businesses makes a significant impact upon its community, but many mom and pop shops aren’t savvy with the increasingly connected and digitally reliant consumer economy.
Complete connectivity has already mutated several types of businesses. With the rise of Uber, GrubHub, and Peapod – an expectation of ease and speed is sweeping across many consumer-facing business models. According to Inc42 Magazine, at some point online disruption will hit you. Perhaps not today, perhaps not tomorrow, but unless your business or service is willing to adapt to market trends, it will happen.
Small businesses forward-thinking and digitally savvy enough to adapt may just be able to ride the wave of innovation toward great success. Here are some tips for hopping on the digital bandwagon:
- Free your mind
No matter when your business first opened its doors, understand that things can change at the drop of a hat. New technology, trends, political or cultural happenings and a million other factors affect the market every day. Realize and embrace the chaos. Understand that it affects not just your business, but all businesses in your industry – large and small.
- Get online
No matter what industry, every business must be available to its customers online. Whether your service is consumer-facing or otherwise, people want to research and inquire online first. Many want to compare pricing before they buy.Establishing an online presence makes your business transparent. It offers a display case from which to show off your inventory, and a relatively cheap soap box from which to promote your brand. Getting online will also help you keep a bead on your competitors, and stay up to date with current, relevant events.
- Quick responsiveness is key
In the next few years, online consumer purchases will make up the majority of overall shopping. Because of this, purchasing decisions are all about how quickly a consumer can be convinced to buy, before simply scrolling down to another Google search result below yours. When inquires are posted or called in, respond as quickly as possible, Inc42 Magazine reported. Immediate responses will make you stand out from competitors.
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