Conscious Living: support a small business
Updated: Jan 11
I love the start of a new year. It feels like turning the page in the middle of a brand new book and seeing the end of one chapter and the feeling of excitement to start the next. Not that it is always a fresh start, often just the continuation of the heroine's journey or the answer to a shocking statement or piece of news. Regardless it is the knowledge of something new coming your way.
Through out the years, a new year meant a new resolution. Maybe you practice this by starting that new fitness routine or making a financial commitment to saving or donating etc. However I have also seen a rise in resolutions defined by a word or mindset. A few examples are living a greener life, refocusing priorities or conscious living and eating. I think all of these choices can be wonderful and healthy and will always support someone making steps in good and wholesome directions. However, another interesting fact about the new year is decline in traffic for many small businesses, especially small coffee shops, cafes and boutiques. This can be attributed to multiple factors and I imagine mostly to the amount of spending that is common over Christmas. It is easy to look at those bank statements and realize we bought one too many gifts for the kiddos...or you know ourselves and now need to cut back. This got me to thinking though about ways to keep business thriving both for our shop and roastery but also for small businesses in general. And then realized that intentionally supporting small or local businesses and places that align with my worldview and goals can also be a way of fulfilling many new years resolutions.
So to kick off this year I want to share some of the benefits of shopping small, local, or ethically and how that aligns to common new year resolutions. Over the next few weeks I will touch on a few more common resolutions and how shopping small or local can be apart of achieving those goals. Maybe this can inspire all of us to live a bit more consciously and help our favorite businesses keep thriving through their slower season.
Some of the expected and most often true aspects of shopping small is the quality of customer service and uniqueness of the business to large national chains. It is imperative for a small company to step up in areas that large chains don't have to. They are competing against big names and more money. Therefore a quality business will focus on more personal service and creating a far more comfortable and cozy space. Being smaller and therefore with less employees they have the opportunity to invest into the work environment, making it a happy work place even if its just for minimum wage jobs. A happy employee who knows their boss cares about them will reflect that in the way they treat customers adding again to a positive vibe for that business. This also means good part time jobs for someone needing that extra income, or a high schooler learning how to be a good employee. As these individuals grow from working at a small business that invests into their character they can then contribute even more to their community. This is yet another way that a business can invest into human lives, and I believe a quality business works to create that growth atmosphere for their employees.
This flows into another part of shopping local, the focus they often have on running an ethical or sustainable practicing business. I will delve a bit deeper into my thoughts on this another week but feel the need to plug it in as a benefit of shopping small.
Another key aspect to shopping small is that these businesses are more often local to your community. This is huge for the local economy and allows your dollar to go way further. That $5 latte or $15 lunch is benefiting local schools, non-profits ect. A study done by Civic Economics showed that almost 50% of what you spend locally stays local compared to less than 14% when spent at a large chain. What a way to invest into where you live even more! And that doesn't even include the jobs provided and that a local business owner will be more inclined to spend their money on local contractors and businesses as well. Along these lines is the fact that many small businesses are started by entrepreneurs. Not only is entrepreneurship key to our countries economic innovation it provides the opportunity for families to move up into higher wage jobs. I can fully relate to this because starting a coffee roasting company and learning online what I needed for it was far more affordable than getting a college degree. Especially for the current financial and family situation I was in, choosing entrepreneurship was key to stepping out of poverty. This shows others in the community it can be done and when you have a strong business community like in Lexington there are plenty of outlets to learn and see how to start your own company. This all shows that thriving small businesses are a huge asset to the financial prosperity of your city. And the more prosperous your city the better your schools and infrastructure and property value etc. You benefit more and your dollar is worth more when shopping local.
So how does this tie in with a new years resolution? Well if you started this year off with a goal to live more consciously and refocus your priorities, then just remind yourself of the above benefits. Consciously choose to grab coffee or breakfast at a small business rather than the large chain. If you are cutting back on spending then just chime in to conversations to make those around you aware of the small businesses in your area. Word of mouth is the largest growth factor for a business, the more who know the better. Prioritize following and liking posts by small businesses and local guides rather than following along more with the big guys.
If you chose to take more time for yourself or to visit regularly with friends and family, do so at a small coffee shop or restaurant. Snag a cup of black coffee or a plain latte to cut back on sugar while also meeting up with a loved one. Make an appointment with a local massage therapist or nail salon for some self care. Grab donuts from the local shop for Sunday morning church or breakfast with your mom. Maybe your self care involves a new diet or fitness routine? Well then look for the local dietitians, fitness instructors and life style coaches in your area. You have a better chance of achieving those goals when you can meet someone face to face and not to mention all the benefits I mentioned above still apply.
In conclusion, even if the new year resolution isn't your thing there are still plenty of great reasons to choose small over the large chain businesses. I hope this has inspired you, as it has I, to be a bit more conscious with how we spend our time and money and the positive impact it can have on those around you.
Happy new years to you all! And cheers to 2020!
P.S. here are a few small/local businesses I love and recommend! Check them out and give their accounts a follow!
- https://www.mollysmealprep.com/ - Molly'a Meal Prep for wholesome tasty meals ready to cook!
- http://eatgreatbagel.com/ - Great Bagel for delicious breakfast and lunch!! @greatbagel
- https://amylorrainenutrition.com/ - Amy Lorraine Nutrition for food needs and plans! @amylorrainenutrition
- https://www.dopemagicco.com/ - Dope Magic for killer web design and a new podcast coming this month!! @dopemagicco
- http://trubeehealth.com/ - Online fitness coach! @dr.cicktrubee
- http://nicolegifford.org/ - Nicole Gifford a local blogger covering small businesses and life! @sharelexky
fact reference: https://www.amiba.net/resources/multiplier-effect/