Why Small Business Community Matters
At Townsquared, we never stop talking about why community matters for small business. Our entire value proposition is based on the idea that being part of a community matters.
Did you know that just 19 percent of Americans know all their neighbors? Those that do know their neighbors are 55 percent more likely to be online daily.
Most people agree that community matters, and knowing your neighbor matters. It’s easy to say that an online forum with resources and conversations about everything from navigating health care costs to alerting each other about crime in the neighborhood is important for small business owners. Easy to say, but we actually did it.
The value of being a part of the largest, free online network for small businesses is provided daily to our members. For those who haven’t joined or are just curious, we thought we could lay out exactly why small business matters, and why being part of a greater small business community is important.
Small businesses support the communities around them. For every $1 spent at an independent local business, $.68 stays in the community. For every $1 spent at a national chain, only $.43 remains in the local economy. Small businesses support more than just local economies. Small businesses also support the identity of a community.
A strong small business presence reflects the neighborhood’s residents and values. Whether it’s San Francisco’s Castro Neighborhood, with its rich LGBT culture, or Spanish Harlem in NYC, where Latino culture abounds, the small businesses in these neighborhoods are as much a part of the community as the people who live there. In many cases, those small business owners are residents too.
Combine the local economy and identity of a community, and the strong personal relationships local businesses have with their communities, and you get a sense of what Ellen Thrasher of the U.S. Small Business Administration describes when she says: “Small business is part of the heartbeat of the larger community”
Thresher continues, “Many small businesses are not only owned, but also managed on the ground by the owner,” and “Those people are invested in building relationships with community members. These days, shopping is as much about the product that you are buying as it is about the relationships and transaction at the shop.”
Small businesses define communities as much as they are defined by them, and one cannot succeed without the other.
Small Business Community
They are the cornerstone of neighborhood communities, but small businesses also need their own community, created for them.
We turn to our friends and family for support during hard times. We ask for advice, get recommendations, and rely on each other to achieve our goals. For small business owners, it can be difficult to turn to personal relationships when their challenges are specifically business-related. We’ve all been through challenges in our relationships, but what about the challenge of choosing a credit card processing service? That’s different.
These are the kinds of questions and challenges that business owners face every day. There is no one better to turn to than a business peer who has faced similar challenges. This is why a community for small businesses matters. This is why Townsquared matters.
What are the ingredients of a successful small business community? For our Townsquared members, they are: information, relationships, support and resources.
Information for Small Business
There’s Facebook, there’s Twitter and there’s Instagram, but only a small amount of the content generated on social media is relevant and timely for small business owners. The small business community is not interested in pictures of food, cats, shoes, leaves, and espresso, although there is a place and time for those things.
Access to information is what makes a business community valuable. It’s important to have a space that is only for small business, because being able to call upon your business peers when you need advice or have ideas to share in real time, is why it’s so important to have a space that is only for small business. A community is a place to give and get advice, share information, and learn best practices.
A Network For Small Businesses
Our lives are built on relationships. Owning a business is no different. Every customer, every referral, and every personal interaction is about building relationships. Small businesses exist as an extension of their local communities, and nowhere are these relationships more important than when they’re forged locally with fellow business owners.
Small businesses rely on referrals and leads. Who better to generate these referrals and leads than your community. Small businesses that are part of a community can direct other businesses to each other, and recommend each other’s goods and services. When an entire community supports one another, there’s business enough to go around and competition is not a concern. Ten restaurants on one block might seem like an oversaturated market, but a thriving block that’s attracting more customers than before, raises the tide for everyone.
Small Business Help
Getting the support you need, when you need it, is one more reason a small business community is important. There are a lot of skills and expertise that cut across the spectrum of small business owners. Invariably there will be people who are better at some things than others. Why not look to them for support rather than facing the challenge alone?
A small business community is a great place to find entrepreneurs who have already achieved the goals you’ve set for your own business. Getting support from someone who has been there before is just one benefit of being connected to a community.
Access to Resources
Having access to the resources you need, when you need them, can make all the difference when encountering challenges that arise over the lifetime of a business. Whether it’s knowing how to become a certified minority-owned business, or knowing the ins and outs of new minimum wage laws, having access to the resources you need is a requirement of any community.
The Townsquared Community
Small business matters. Being a part of a community matters. Townsquared is built on these premises. As the largest free network for local businesses to access information, build relationships, support one another, and share resources, we are making your local small business community closer than ever.