Small businesses depend on their local communities to survive, and it’s time to give back by sourcing your produce and products from other local businesses. Keep reading to find out how sourcing locally can bring in loyal customers, help the environment, and foster community pride.
There is a growing demand for local products. People across the country are jumping on the trend for local products, especially food and beverages. Customers are more concerned about their health, the environment, supporting local shops, and many other factors other than big brand name products. As a small business owner who caters to a local clientele, you can really capitalize on the growing desire for locally sourced and sold products.
A Better World For Little Cost Difference
Sourcing products locally is not just a trend, it is also an important step towards sustainable business practices. Sustainable business depends on balancing sales with the ability to maintain growth.
When talking about sustainability, it is important to look at the Three P’s: Planet, People, Profit. Keeping these in mind when making decisions about your business will help you ensure that you can minimize your environmental impact, make your customers and community happy, and make money.
Sourcing your products and materials locally has benefits in all three areas.
- Planet: Buying from local vendors and manufacturers cuts down on fuel emissions because it takes less fuel to transport goods than it would to transport them across the country or across continents. Purchasing produce locally encourages biodiversity. Instead of a region specializing in one or two crops and exporting long distances, local farms and orchards that grow many different varieties will benefit. Biodiversity is good for healthy soil and preventing widespread plant disease.
- People: You support your local economy and foster community pride when you source locally. It is easier to build lasting, trustworthy partnerships with vendors when you can meet them face-to-face. Customers will appreciate the patriotism and local pride when they find locally sourced products. Lastly, it can help reduce our contribution to slave labor and unfair treatment of factory workers when we buy supplies from vendors that hire local workers who are protected by strict regulations.
- Profit: It is easy to see how sourcing locally will boost the profits of your vendors, but how will it increase your sales? People are willing to pay a little bit more for a product or service if they know their purchase supports local, environmental, or social causes. These emotional ties to causes will imprint your business inside their heads and can foster brand loyalty. Customers may love sales, but when the prices increase they will go to another brand unless they have an emotional connection.
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Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In FY16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses. Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.
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