Communities can celebrate local businesses image

Being your own boss has many perks, but also comes with its own challenges. - 123RF

Owning a business is the goal of many would-be entrepreneurs. Being your own boss has certain perks, including making your own hours and not having to report to anyone but yourself.

But owning a business is a lot of work, especially for new business owners trying to get their businesses off the ground. According to Bloomberg, eight out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within 18 months of opening their doors. The Small Business Association indicates the numbers are not so dire, saying 30 per cent of new businesses fail in the first two years of operation; 50 per cent during the first five years; and 66 per cent during the first 10.

Local businesses face an uphill battle to survive, but there are many things residents can do to support these valuable additions to their communities.

· Shop locally. Shopping locally not only supports local businesses, but it also contributes to the local economy. Shopping locally keeps money in the community, which can benefit everyone. Shopping locally produces a trickle-down effect, as local businesses that are thriving may patronize other local businesses, and so on. This, in turn, helps grow other businesses in the community, making it a nicer place to live and work.

· Spread the word. Word-of-mouth advertising is effective. A respected member of the community who shares a good experience with a local business may propel others to patronize the business. Speak up when you feel a business owner has provided an exceptional level of service. Recommend a company to friends and neighbors. You also may want to review a business via online rating websites such as Yelp or Angie's List.

· Attend grand openings. Each community is unique, and often the vibe of a community is defined by the businesses that call that community home. Attend grand openings to show you are invested in the quality and vitality of your community. When others see a business doing well, they may be more inclined to shop there as well.

· Apply for work. Another way to support a local business is to work for one. Small local businesses employ millions of people across the country, and many foster great working environments. In addition, small businesses are known for their customer service, and employees often become experts in their products and services because of the hands-on experience they gain while working for small businesses.

Supporting and celebrating local businesses can instill a sense of community pride and benefit the local economy in a myriad of ways.

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