Supporting small businesses has been the focus of hashtags like #SmallBusinessSaturday and interesting research. However, when it comes down to it many people still end up favouring the convenience of companies like Amazon. So why should you move away from the large corporates and support smaller, independent businesses?

Local investment

First of all, when you support a local small business, whether that’s the butcher’s down the road or a second-hand bookshop, you invest back into your local economy. With the decline and decimation of the UK’s high streets paired with impact of the pandemic, businesses need all the support that they can muster to  stay afloat. Town and city centres have been hit hard, reinforced with the BBC reporting that in the first six months of 2021 more than 50 stores were closing down per day across the UK.

Supporting creative, innovative small businesses can encourage other entrepreneurs to open their doors and fuel prosperity. Optimistically, it seems that consumers want positive and engaging shopping experiences that only local or online small businesses can provide.

Sense of community

Alongside investment, choosing an SME on or offline can contribute to a stronger sense of community. There is something wonderful in popping down to the friendly local shop or pub that cannot be replicated by large corporations. Loneliness has been exacerbated by the pandemic, so building a friendly relationship with your local shop owner and community can be invaluable to those who need it.

A neuroscientist and science communicator stated that “people underestimate the impact loneliness has on our brain and health – with lonely people being more than twice as likely to have mental health issues and loneliness is considered a bigger health risk now than smoking.”

Studies have shown even small interactions, like a conversation with your barista, can boost your mood and help to erode loneliness. This was further highlighted by the Samaritans Small Talk Saves Lives campaign last year.

Ethics and Sustainability

When it comes to ethics, small businesses are the way to go. Sustainability is at the forefront of our minds, particularly after COP26 last year and the ongoing impact of the climate crisis. A recent report has shown that many companies from Amazon to Nestle, have little integrity or clear steps when it comes to their Net Zero or carbon neutrality pledges. The report showed that some pledges have been undermined by contentious plans to reduce emissions elsewhere, hidden critical information and accounting tricks. Even more worrying are the companies that are supposedly underreporting their greenhouse gas emission rates.

The operations of a small-scale company mean there is likely less transport of goods across the globe, especially if products are source locally. There is also more likely to be clarity about supply chains and the treatment of staff. Many small businesses are themselves dedicated to being green, with SME leaders wanting value beyond profit. Moreover, many small businesses, such as zero waste shops, offer direct greener alternatives to your everyday products and food items.

How can you offer your support?

When it comes to celebrations, like birthday’s or valentine’s day, why not choose to shop small? Explore your local options on the high street or take to the internet on sites like Etsy and Not on the highstreet. Many local artists or craftspeople have their own online marketplaces too. There’s always the option of gifting an experience, like a gin tasting or skydiving, for the more adventurous of us.

Instead of eating out or grabbing your morning coffee at a chain, why not try out an independent café or restaurant. In cities, such as York, there are organisations like Indie York that highlight the best local, small vendors. And with a quick google, you are guaranteed to find lists of the best indie shops near you wherever you are in the UK. Many towns and cities also have a great selection of markets where you can get your cooking staples.

It’s not just shopping that can be done small. Services, from haircuts to legal support, can be procured through independent, small-scale businesses.

Small business is close to our hearts at Hey Me. Not only are we a small team, but we support a whole range of SMEs through our client work. That’s why we focus on championing these great organisations and shopping locally and independently as best we can.

If you are looking for marketing, communications and PR support get in contact with one of the team today and email communicate@heyme.co.uk.

Amelia Spanton

Author Amelia Spanton

More posts by Amelia Spanton

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