One of the more common—yet highly elusive—goals that one can have is to own their own business. There are millions of small businesses out in the world yet many of them fold on a monthly basis. This is actually something that is detrimental for us all.
Today, we take a look at three reasons why small businesses are important.
Small businesses, no matter how miniscule they may seem, contribute greatly to the economy of any locale. When large businesses open in an area, it always said that they contribute greatly to the economics of the area. The same principle applies to small businesses.
Small businesses are a great source of income for those that work in it. As most small businesses are localized, they end up hiring within the community as well. There is a lot of representation about this in movies and books. Teens often find part-time employment to supplement their expenses and help contribute to their households.
Foundation for the Community
Communities thrive if they support each other’s endeavors. This is one of the more basic truths about our society—which larger corporations tend to forget. When small businesses are established and supported by those around them, they help to build deeper ties which promote unity.
As You Can See…
Small businesses are important for very a variety of reasons. Yes, there are more reasons than the three that we talked about above. They can do so much more for everyone involved—even the ones that do not realize that they benefit from small businesses. In a world where larger entities reign supreme, don’t you think we need to direct more of our attention and our support towards the businesses that help elevate our own communities rather than just our personal level of lifestyle?
When the end goal is to provide ample support for small businesses, it would only make sense to actively arm yourself with a suitable knowledge of what a small business is by definition. We may have already said this before but small businesses are the lifeblood of a lot of communities—even if they do not realize it themselves.
We want to take this opportunity to lay down a clear clarification of what small business is.
Why Learn About It?
Before you throw your support toward any concept of cause, it is critical that there be a rudimentary understanding of the precepts behind it. This helps not only those that you are supporting, but you ultimately help yourself.
A ‘small business’ is not limited only to the size of its employees. It could have something along 1500 employees and still be called ‘small’. This, however, primarily depends on the industry that they are in. Those that are in the food business cannot have 1500 employees and still claim to be small. Every industry has their own sets of definitions for what they consider as small.
What is generally agreed upon is the fact that a small business needs to be something that:
- Is established for the purpose of obtaining profit
- Is currently registered with their local and national registry
- Does not have any ties to any large or previously established entities
- Does not dominate any particular market that they are presently in
If your business falls under any of the descriptions above, congratulations—you have a small business!
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A small business is more than just your mental visualization of a tiny bakery or a “mom and pop” corner store. While you are not inherently incorrect in your initial assumption, it would still ultimately be better for everyone if your perception and understanding of the concept shifted and grew. How are you supposed to support something that you did not understand?
There has always been this rallying cry behind large conglomerates about ‘having more’ than local businesses. We’re here to shine a glaring light on how vastly incorrect that belief is. There is always a sort of long-standing animosity between small and large businesses. Not only is the reality of competition often unforgivable but the sense of convenience is often overpowering.
There is no denying that most consumers go for what is convenient versus what is locally sustainable. What a lot of consumers fail to realize is that if they just took the time to visit a local market or bazaar, they’d get everything they would actively look for in a large scale mall. For example:
There are a lot of small businesses that provide high quality furniture that are ergonomic and even modular. Small business owners understand that space is at an absolute premium for a lot of homeowners and renters.
One of the more well-known faces of local and small businesses is owned by those that cultivate and grow their own produce. Such businesses are normally found in farmers markets on a daily basis. Consumers can purchase wholly organic food that go beyond fruits or veggies. There are also other offerings like those that raise bees to obtain raw honey.
No matter where you live, there will always be a need for labor. It could be referring to a particular service that you need in your home or for anything you own. There are always large firms that are pumping the airways full of their ads—making them seem to be the only choice in the equation. The truth being there are a lot of other firms—just smaller—that offer the same service at a higher quality and for a more affordable deal.
One of the better examples of these would be party planning services. You may be able to get in touch with such businesses through their websites or through their social media.
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There are a variety of things and products that you can obtain from small businesses. If you have carried the belief that only large businesses would be able to provide everything that is one that you should correct right now. Not only do you gain better deals and prices, the quality is often worlds better. The examples we put above are only the tip of the iceberg.
What examples of products from small businesses do you know of?
It is our unending belief that when you care about something, you try your hardest to understand it. That way, you can fully support it in every sense of it—not just something that you say you’ll do. In light of this, we have decided to share some of the events that anyone interested in supporting or starting their own small businesses should look into.
Going to events or even if they are just webinars provide everyone with useful skills, tips, and lessons that were carefully cultivated and perfected through the years of personal experience of speakers. Much like what this website aims to achieve!
Mind you, some of these events happen annually. Some may change the information at the last minute—so it would be best if you followed up on their websites to procure more information.
The Small Business Expo
This particular expo has a pretty wide schedule as it has stops over several major states in the USA. Not only does this event have keynote speakers that share their wisdom borne from years of their experience, there’s so much more to see. This expo is also quite famous for the exhibitors that join. As the event travels, the exhibitors that join differ from place to place. This ensures that there will be a lot of small businesses that will get a chance to show what they have to offer.
Last year, this event was held in Boston. They are pretty good in providing information about any trends that would impact small businesses. What we like about this event is the fact that they combine the utilization of technology along with business processes. This provides a pretty modern insight for any mom and pop firm that is struggling with the concept of tech related business.
As our technology will only keep improving (and not regressing) it would be highly prudent for any business owner to attend.
Join the many like minded individuals in Silicon Valley come February this year. For anyone that wanted to learn more about starting their own business but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it, this is one event that you should not miss. This event features keynote speakers from LinkedIn, Slack, Reddit, and so many other big names!
Pick their brains as to how you can improve your business processes. If you so wanted to, you can secure a spot and present your startup idea—there are thousands of investors in attendance.
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There are a lot of opportunities to obtain further information about small businesses and how they are better supported. There are a lot of other events lined up this year. It is certainly exciting to see which event provides groundbreaking information that will just utterly change the way that you view small business processes.
Up to this point, we have been talking about why you should support independent businesses. Today, we take a look at the best ways at how you can actually support them.
4: Peddle Their Information
By ‘peddling’ we do not, in any way, mean that you should sell their information. When there is a small business or independent firm you want to support, sharing their information with your network can really do wonders. A whopping 96% of most consumers make their purchase decisions based on recommendations of people that they trust. If you vouch for a particular service or business, it must mean that you think that they are worth patronizing.
With social media being so accessible nowadays, one post of a glowing review (if you really mean it) can help the business down the line.
3: Join or Start a Community Event
It is the local events that really help to cast a much needed spotlight on independent businesses. If you can, pool together with other community members and talk about starting an event that can help boost the local tourism and provide revenue for local businesses. A lot of the best festivals around the US all started from the desire to help out small businesses.
2: Avoid Large Conglomerate Events like “Black Friday”
This can be quite difficult when you really think about it. We know that there can be a LOT of tempting deals out there. However, such deals often exist with smaller businesses year round and not just one day or weekend.
1: Buy Local
This is, of course, the very best way that you can show that your support small businesses. No matter where you live, there are tons of independent companies that you can support. All you need to do is look them up in local directories and you will be sure to find their information.
When you buy local or patronize small businesses, you open yourself up to the massive benefits of doing so.
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It doesn’t really take much to throw in your support to the independent heroes of your community. We say heroes because the present economy is super scary. It takes a lot of guts to keep at a small business, providing job opportunities for the locals or any transients, and paying taxes that go into bettering the community. When you help them, you essentially help yourself.
Which of the four ways we discussed is something you’re willing to try out?
When choosing where to procure certain items or products, there is always a question that you should ask yourself: is it available through a local business? As consumers, it is critical that we be smart about where our money goes into. After all, it is not like we simply pick up money off of the street or pluck it from a money tree. When you spend your money at a business, you are not only procuring a service for yourself, you are ultimately providing a livelihood for those that run and work at the business.
There are very real benefits for the consumer as well—should they choose to buy local. Here they are:
Better Quality Products
Smaller businesses tend to put more care and attention to the quality of their products. This is particularly true if the business is craft or goods based. Small businesses that sell apparel are a bit more stringent with their quality rather than their quantity.
Raise your hand if you have ever bought a shirt or outfit from a fast fashion brand (like Forever 21) only to have worn it once because it tore. As reputation is everything to smaller businesses, they make sure that they check each and every single product that they put out there. This means that you, the consumer, get only products that have passed their quality assurance personnel.
Another reason why buying local and patronizing is pretty great is that usually, you get to meet the owners. Let’s say that you go to a weekend market, there’s a pretty huge chance that the one running the stall is also the owner. This means that you get to see the person behind the brand and the product. They have pretty great stories that come along with their journey.
Small business owners are also pretty interested in the clients that their products bring in. What do you like about it? What else would you wish they offered? There is a more visible interchanging of experiences that lead to highly personalized experiences. Try getting that in a large chain brand.
As You Can See…
There are very real incentives for any consumer to buy from local businesses. Some of the benefits may not be immediately felt but we hope you realize that by supporting local, you not only do yourself a service. With every cent that goes toward a local business, you ultimately do more in their terms of longevity than you would for a large brand.
What other benefits of shopping local can you name?
Sometimes when the idea of a business is brought up, a sort of wall goes up between two entrepreneurs. With the world works, this is fairly expected. Today, we look at how entrepreneurs can ethically support each other.
We place an emphasis on the ‘ethics’ part of it all because in the world of business, it is entirely possible to come across another small business in the area that is in the same sort of field or market as you. This pretty much makes them your competition.
Line up with like-minded businesses
One great way to see if you can ethically support another business in the same market is to check their mission or goal. When they align with yours, there can be less friction. After all, two people working toward a similar goal can map out the path pretty well. You will both be aware of what you can talk to them about—which problems you are both facing together and whatnot.
If your products compliment each other, it would only make sense to join together for events or local exhibitions. For example, a small business that produces tea time treats could partner up with someone who sells various flavors of teas.
Not only will you provide a better service for your clients, you generate profit by being lumped together. After all, if someone is already looking for a tea-time snack, it would only make sense to buy some tea as well.
Just because your businesses are helping each other out, this does not mean that you are automatically each other’s best friend. If the affiliation is wholly positive and transcends the lines of business, that would be great. However, while it is still in its early stages, it would be important to be cautious.
It would be smart to have a frank discussion at the start. What are certain things or lines that you are not willing to be crossed? How about them? Determined lines or comfort zones can help to keep the waters calm. After all, you can’t exactly support each other ethically if you don’t like each other very much.
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These tricky waters can be traversed without creating any big waves that can capsize your livelihood. When it comes to business, especially your own, it would be very important to be cautious when engaging with other businesses in the same field as you. Although, it is important to still be supportive of other people’s endeavors, it should never be something that you are forced to do. When your heart isn’t it in, you end up being detrimental to others AND yourself.
Unless you are independently wealthy, the topic of securing capital for your business can be quite daunting. One thing you can try to do is to secure a business loan for your startup. Banks can always seem so unfriendly when you think about it but they can be the partner that your startup needs.
If you are not quite sure how to get approved for a business loan, we’ve come up with a few tips that you can use when you think you are ready for a talk with the bank!
Check Your Credit Rating
If you are in the USA, this is quite important. Your credit rating will help to determine what sort of loan you will be able to obtain and what sort of interest rate and payment schedules you will be facing. The better your credit rating, the better the loan terms you’ll receive from lending companies.
You can check out your credit rating for free at least once a year. Ask for your latest credit report and se if your credit rating requires a bit of rehabilitation before you go in for the loan.
Build a Proposal
Since capital for a business can be quite substantial, banks and lending institutions will want to know why you deserve a loan. What exactly will you use the money for? They need concrete plans and the more grounded and feasible your business plan is, the stronger case you have in obtaining the loan that you need.
Choose the Right Lending Institution
While banks are often the favored mode of lending, there are other options for you to pursue. There are other institutions that offer different terms and rates for you. It would be smart for you to compare rates between lenders. Just be wary if the terms sound too good to be true.
Prepare All the Necessary Paperwork
Knowing all the documents that you will need in order to secure your loan would be important. These documents may vary from place to place so it’s important to do your research.
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Securing a business loan does not have to something that you approach with fear. It is wholly understandable if you feel trepidation over approaching a bank for a loan. Just remember what you are doing it for and back yourself up with facts and necessary documentation. After all, a bank is a wholly neutral entity that will assess you without any biases. So if you have all the paperwork that you need, you have nothing to worry about!
As much as anyone would like to handle everything by themselves, it is often better to seek help when you need it. Today, we take a look at some established organizations that support entrepreneurs. Such organizations are crucial in the formation of business processes and even building up the entrepreneur’s confidence in their course of action.
This stands for The Association of Private Enterprise Education. They are wholly dedicated to providing information in a more social setting. They provide a pretty safe and conducive space for a think tank sort of approach. They have their own publication which they use to distribute nuggets of wisdom. If you can go to one of their annual conferences, see about securing a membership for yourself.
One of the older organizations on this list, Ashoka isn’t just something that you can find in one country. In fact, this organization can lay claim to one of the larger international communities of entrepreneurs. One of the top advocacies of Ashoka is to provide financing for any projects that meet their standards. They also provide a lot of different networking opportunities.
When you plan on running a business, knowing the right people can really be a super big help. Try to locate the nearest representative of Ashoka near you and unlock certain opportunities that you should really take advantage of.
The Youth President’s Organization has more than 60 years under its belt. What is pretty special about them is the fact that they offer global education and other such opportunities to those who under the age of forty-five. They focus on the youth that have a pretty good idea of what they want to build but have no means to do so.
The YPO is all about empowering the youth with entrepreneurial dreams and offer support for their families and other loved ones who may need to be taught on how to support their accordingly.
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There are quite a number of them. The great thing is that there are more and more organizations being put up every year—at the helm are people who once reached out and obtained help from the organizations we listed above. The organizations above have several decades’ worth of experiences under their belt. They have the wisdom of experience that was forged through personal successes and multiple failures.
You may even have local organizations in your area that support entrepreneurs. You should do yourself a favor and check those out!
Being supportive is often difficult—especially when you’re super close to the situation. Today, we address someone’s concern on how to sufficiently support their spouse with a small business. Before we get down to it, we would just like to say how we love this trend! We have been getting quite a few requests for discourse topics.
Today’s article is one such example. We got this letter in the mail and we’ll be answering here, just like she wants. We’ve also obtained her permission to share her concern. We’ll just be changing important information for security reasons. Now, let’s get to it!
Dear Project Enterprise,
I really love your articles about supporting local businesses and I really wanted to send this in. My husband and I have been married for five years and he got it into his head that he wanted to start his own pool cleaning firm.
I suppose he’s good at it—it’s been sort of a dream of his since he was younger. I want to be supportive but I think he’s putting our finances at risk by leaving his 9-5. It also does not help that since he made up his mind to start the business, he’s rarely still for more than 10 minutes altogether!
Please let me know how I can support him and still express my concerns in a way that won’t belittle his efforts or suggest that I’d rather not risk opening a business right now.
Hello there, J!
First off, we truly love that you follow this site and our articles. We do what we do because of courageous people like your husband and well-meaning people like yourself. We say courageous because the economy is quite tenuous and you are right to be concerned about what will happen to your finances.
We thought about how you could support your husband and here are a few ways:
Life is all about change. While we cannot control what other people want to do with their efforts, you can control how you react to it. If you are concerned about the state of your finances, you can be pretty darn sure that your husband thinks about that all the time. That is also why he probably cannot sit still.
When we say be flexible, we hope that you’ll be prepared to take on a lot of different roles. You will be his sounding board, his assistant at times, his secretary (especially since it’s just starting out), and so many other things. A small business can seem risky but if it is studied well before jumping into it, there’s a big chance of longevity.
Be Firm but Kind
Just because you do want to be supportive does not mean that you should be quiet about your reservations. Do let him know what is on your mind but do not attack him with it. Your concerns should never be a stick to beat your partner with. We suggest sitting down and talking things over calmly. More than likely, he is the best person in the world to allay any fears you may have about opening a small business.
Cheers and good luck!
Team Project Enterprise