Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage, shares his top five reasons to shop small – in the holiday season and beyond.
As the leaves continue to fall and Christmas trees start to appear on local high streets, Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate and support the small business builders, owners and entrepreneurs who create the majority of growth in the global economy.
To celebrate this event, here are my top five reasons to shop small, in case you need any convincing.
1. Products you won’t find anywhere else
Like many fathers, I too am a frequent recipient of socks. Nice as they are, smaller businesses are full of one of a kind, artisan products, the originality of which can be hard to match in a bigger business.
Red Herring Games – one of our Sage customers and one of the Small Business Saturday Champions this year, create murder mystery dinner party games and events, with weird and wonderful titles such as Murder on the Disorientated Express, A Midsummer Night’s Scream and – my personal favourite Death by PowerPoint.
2. Great customer service with quirky characters
The nature of small businesses allows them to cultivate a personality more easily than in big, multinational companies.
A local independent coffee shop in London Bridge, Three Wheels, which I visit frequently, has perfected this art of tailored, quirky customer service that puts a smile on your face. The baristas are often singing and the owner’s dog usually sits in his basket next to queuing customers.
Recently, a major coffee company opened up next door. When I asked one of the baristas at Three Wheels how she felt about this, she shrugged, smiling. “It doesn’t really matter to us,” she said. “They’re not our competition.”
This confidence in their own product and unique brand will serve this local gem amazingly well – they know it’s this originality that keeps the customers coming back.
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3. Advice from the experts
A smile and a bargain aren’t the only things you could walk away with after a visit from a small business. These independent retailers are specialists in their product or service and their expertise could really help you decide how to spend your cash.
Bradford-based Super Food Market not only sells a range of great natural food and beauty products, but has an entire section on its website dedicated to learning about the benefits of different ingredients.
Or have a look at Blakely – another customer and former Small Biz 100 member – who pairs its design expertise and inspiration with your input to create beautiful, bespoke furniture.
4. Supporting the local economy…
Shopping small is better for the economy – and there’s data to prove it. Research from the Federation of Small Businesses shows that for every pound spent with a small or medium business in a local area, 63p was injected back into the local economy, compared to just 40p per £1 from big businesses.
In fact, small companies generated £746m more for the local economy compared to larger businesses in the area.
5. … And supporting the global economy, too
And, of course, small businesses are not just the engine room of local economies but of the global economy, too. These are the business builders who make up the majority of all business and create two-thirds of the world’s jobs. By shopping with them, you’re not just getting a unique gift, you’re helping to fuel economies the world over.
Shopping small is for life, not just for Christmas. But the holiday season does present a great opportunity to make the most of what your local high street has to offer. I’ll be shopping with small businesses on Small Business Saturday and I encourage you all to do the same.