Proud to be local
By Adam Snook
There are many ways to support local businesses within our communities.
By Adam Snook
If there’s one positive that’s come out of this COVID craziness, it’s a renewed campaign to really promote supporting locally owned suppliers of all kinds.
Countering the increase in Amazon and Walmart online sales is an equally increasing realization of the importance of supporting the local businesses that are either owned by or employ your neighbour.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has said that it is expecting over 100,000 Canadian small businesses to close over the next six months due to the pandemic. It has been trumpeting this over news channels mediums all across the country for months now. People are starting to take notice.
We need to do a much better job of telling current and potential customers how local we are. I’m not talking about the fact that the business is just owned by someone who pays property tax in the same town. I’m talking about all of the support we offer to local events: sponsoring sports teams, charity drives, equipment donations to fundraising events, donating equipment to emergency situations… the list goes on.
When the local ball diamonds need an aerator donation to keep the fields green they don’t go to Home Depot, they come to us.
When the Festival of Lights needs a boom lift donation to string lights on a 60-foot tree they don’t go to the multi-national to get a donation. They come to us.
We’re the ones buying meat lottery raffle tickets and sponsoring the boards at the local hockey rink.
The biggest problem is that most of us don’t like banging our own drum. We help out because it’s the right thing to do, not because we want accolades.
We need to change that! There are ways to get the message out that we are truly local without coming across as bragging. Post it on your Facebook and Instagram pages like you’re promoting the event, while at the same time promoting yourself. Social media is a huge local advantage. No one pays attention to the Facebook page of a company based in Los Angeles unless you’re local to them and have an engaging page that gives you an immediate leg up.
Ask the people you’re donating the product or service to if they’d be so kind as to put your logo and name on any event banners and a mention on their Facebook pages as well.
Always ask a satisfied customer to leave you a review on Google and Facebook. The request is free and they make a huge difference when new customers are looking for possible suppliers.
Being truly local should be one of your sales team’s first promotional tools. We all rent out the same equipment for relatively the same prices. There’s a chance that whoever you’re promoting your equipment to will have been at the event you sponsored, or maybe their kid was on the hockey team that you donated to.
Personally, when we’re trying to gain a new customer and once we’ve overcome the price point issue our biggest selling point is the fact that when they call for something they’re talking to an owner, not a call centre. It makes a huge difference.
Lastly, don’t forget to support the organizations that support your small business. They give a voice to small businesses like us who the decision makers wouldn’t otherwise listen to:
- Canadian Federation of Independent Business
- Canadian Taxpayers Federation
- Local Chamber of Commerce
Adam Snook owns JustBins, a Regina-based provider of waste disposal solutions. His background includes building First Choice Rentals, an Alberta-based equipment rental and oilfield service provider.