It's National Entrepreneurship Month! Roughly 16%, or 31 million people in the U.S., are entrepreneurs. That number jumps to 55% or 582 million worldwide. For various reasons, 20% of small businesses fail the first year, and 50% within five years. The top three are Insufficient cash flow, trouble recruiting employees, and marketing. According to the Small Business Association, just under 18% of small businesses are owned by minorities, with Black/African Americans making up only 2%.
The statistics are sobering. If you’d like to read more about entrepreneurs, this article at Apollo Technical was informative. While it takes a special kind of person to start a business, it takes support to help them maintain it. There are multiple ways to support businesses, which is an investment in your community. According to Score, 66% of small businesses support local efforts. While an item may be higher at a local store, so is the direct impact in your neighborhood.
How can you support local businesses this month?
Shop with them. You can find a few local businesses with products or services you love that are your go-to for gifts. You can commit to purchasing ½ of your products from a local merchant or creating a price window. If an item is within $10, shop local.
Engage with local businesses! Whether on social media, by referrals, or through their websites, small business owners need you. Marketing is the third highest reason that companies fail. Essentially, you become an unofficial brand ambassador. When you’re at a meeting, and someone suggests ordering lunch- have a list of local businesses ready. Invest 10 minutes daily in engaging with local business posts by commenting, sharing, and/or leaving a review.
Connect them to potential customers. This week, I attended an event where a vendor had lots of artwork with oysters. A few weeks ago, I visited with a neighbor who had several pieces of artwork with oysters. I texted my neighbor a few pictures and the artist's contact information. While I wasn’t in the market, I thought of someone who might be.
Inquire about their biggest need. If your friend who recently opened a salon has a long to-do list, you can find the perfect gift for her from that list! Sometimes they need a distraction- just a night away from the business; other times, they may need a hand managing inventory or reorganizing the storage area.
You may have noticed if you don’t have a concrete plan to accomplish a goal, it may not happen. Spend a few minutes reflecting on how and who you will support this month. Your community, local entrepreneurs, and neighbors will have something extra to be grateful for this holiday season.
What businesses do you recommend? Share your favorites in the comments so we'll know about them too! Self-promotion is allowed.