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Ten Reasons To Support Local Business, First


Money doesn't flow in mysterious ways. So it's not hard to work out why, if you buy local you directly support your community, in your country. If that's the case, why aren't more of us doing it? Talking about it? Promoting it?

Michigan organisation Local First encourages the growth of sustainable, locally based economies. It's a model I think we should push more, in community based groups, here.

To explain why going local is important, they quote Michael H. Shuman, author of the book Going Local, who says;

going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It Means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependant on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs.

It's simple. If you go local,  innovation grows. Business grows. And most importantly, creative industries grow.

If change is going to make any impact it has to come from communities and people of influence within those communities.  It's something that must be stimulated from the bottom up. Talking, promoting and doing.



Ten reasons to go local:

1. Significantly More Money Re-circulates
When you purchase at locally owned businesses rather than nationally owned, more money is kept in the community because locally-owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms. Purchasing local helps grow other businesses.

2. Non Profits Receive Greater Support.
Local business owners donate more to local charities than non-local owners.

3. Unique Businesses Create Character & Prosperity
The unique character is what brought us here and keeps us here. Our tourism businesses also benefit.

4. Environmental Impact Is Reduced.

5. Most New Jobs Are Provided By Local Businesses.

6. Customer Service Is Better.
Local businesses often hire people with more specific product expertise for better customer service.

7. Local Business Owners Invest In Community.
Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community's future.

8. Public Benefits Far Outweigh Public Costs.

9. Competition And Diversity Leads To More Consumer Choices.
A marketplace of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.

10. Investment In Greater Grand Rapids Is Encouraged.
A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

It's this last point that I find most interesting, and relevant to New Zealand. And I think this 'local' applies to us on a national level, as well as a community one.

In the New Zealand context money re-circulates when purchases are made at local or nationally owned, rather than internationally owned, businesses. And this happens when businesses support each other, buying other local services and suppliers.

The former Government resurrected it's "Buy New Zealand made" campaign a couple of years ago. But it was axed last year.

This fact in itself is an incredibly pathetic one. It's sad, and appalling story of mismanagement and I'm surprised more people aren't angry about it. It's not that it was cut. The ideals were there, but it the grossly ineffective and poorly led advertising effort, the lack of insight and execution and real scarcity of any real movement among the people to prop it up. The thing bombed. Why was that? Perhaps because it blindly used ideas pulled from the 20th century school of social advertising. Where was the word of mouse and word of mouth? where was the buzz factor? where was the community?

It was BORING and no-one got excited about it. And they should have.

To be honest, it's shameful that there isn't a stronger "go local" movement in New Zealand. In an economy as small as ours, it is so important. Especially in the local creative economy.  Whether you're a designer, artist, musician, supporting local creative by buying seems it could not be more urgent as it is now. As the graphic shows, the only way to have a flourishing local economy is to inject money back into it.

It's not that global initiatives don't help local business, as you can see, they do. It's that if you can first 'go local, you should do it. It's that support that makes an incredible difference.

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