The industrial economy is over.
For many reasons, that’s a good thing. Heavy industry is a big polluter. Heavy industry relies on humans behaving like cogs in a wheel. Heavy industry suppresses the earning potential of the workforce. But heavy industry also provided good jobs, with health benefits and a way to stop working at age 65. As industrial jobs disappear, so do the securities they carried.
The only ones who can fill that vacuum–creating jobs, filling vacant buildings and pushing the economy forward–is entrepreneurs. Today, “Small-business Saturday”, is their day. Here’s why you should care.
• 64% of new jobs come from small business in the US. In Canada, 87.7% of new jobs come from small businesses. These trends are rising.
• Your kid will probably work for a local entrepreneur, or become an entrepreneur themselves.
• Local entrepreneurs give more to local charities.
• Local entrepreneurs support other local entrepreneurs, creating a cascading effect.
• Small businesses pay more in local taxes than you do.
• Small business owners pay their staff far more than they pay themselves.
• Small business pulls money INTO your city. Big business pulls it OUT.
• Small business creates sixteen TIMES more patents than large business does. That means more innovation, more future security, and more jobs.
But the real reason: the local business owner has probably been up since 5am, getting ready to serve you. They’ll probably still be going after you’ve had your dinner. They probably make less than you–for now–and they’re probably wondering if they’ll still be open in twelve months. The city your kids will inherit, and the opportunities presented to them, depend on the success of your local small businesses.
Here’s how to support them:
• Choose to support local service industries. I don’t say “buy local” because paying twice as much for milk doesn’t make sense to anyone. But signing up for local services, like gyms and dentists and lawyers, makes a huge difference. Franchisees are local too–you don’t have to stop visiting McDonald’s or Tim Horton’s–but corporate-owned stores like Starbucks pull money out of town.
• Tip their staff REALLY well. One of the hardest parts of owning a business is creating meaningful careers for your staff. When people like their jobs and earn enough money, they stay. They keep their kids in local schools and local sports; drive better cars; keep their yards clean. Be nice to the front-line worker.
• Decline their discounts. Most small-business owners will surrender a discount if you ask for one. Don’t. They’ll discount themselves to death, because they think they’re helping a friend. If you ask for a discount, you’re not being a friend; you’re taking advantage. I challenge you to go in the other direction and decline a discount when it’s offered.
• Forgive their mistakes. Big companies screw up all the time, but they make their mistakes in other cities, and then teach their staff how to avoid making the same mistake in the future. Local entrepreneurs have to make all of their mistakes on local people. A personalized experience means you’re dealing with a person. And people screw up. But people can also make it up to you.
• Tell your friends. Small businesses depend on referrals for growth.
• Take them a coffee. They need it.
No one’s asking for charity here. Some businesses deserve to be successful, and some don’t. But there’s a lot on the line: if you don’t want your kids to be labeling boxes for Amazon or losing their jobs to China, you need to support the people who will keep them employed locally.
Thank you, thank you, to our customers and clients! We care about you, too.