We’ve all seen variations of this quote, originally written by a local shop keeper who put it on a blackboard in their shop window, and now used worldwide. A sentiment it’s very hard to disagree with, but just how far does it go?
Small businesses can’t benefit from the economies of scale, meaning they can’t often match the huge multi-nationals on the price you or I pay.
I play tennis, I have done for 20 years. I always buy my racquets from a shop attached to my local club, run by a very knowledgeable & passionate fan and indeed player of the sport I love. My racquets are also restrung by him and I go to him for everything I possibly can. Mark can’t always price match, but I have absolute trust he does his best and I’m happy to support his business on that basis.
My weekly grocery shop is done at Sainsbury’s. My car is maintained by a national dealer. I occasionally buy pizza from an amazing local pizzeria but it’s expensive compared to Dominos or Papa John’s and as such, I buy from those behemoths more. Alcohol too, I buy from one of the major supermarkets when I know there’s an amazing Beer & Wine store just a fifteen-minute walk through a leafy dene away (or a five-minute drive). I try to visit pubs that aren’t part of a national chain but they’re bloody everywhere aren’t they! My point is this – I support local businesses, but only when it suits me, and only to a certain extent but crucially, I can and will do more.
Perhaps we should all make more of an effort even when it involves a slight inconvenience? Mark, my go-to supplier for anything tennis-related, is a local expert, and since that’s why I go to him, I have no excuse for not using local, expert suppliers for everything else.
Anyway, I do marketing in recruitment, not groceries, but the point remains.
There are an estimated 40,000 recruitment businesses in the UK, several are now huge, but they all started small. It’d be disingenuous of me to suggest that those huge ones don’t have local knowledge or expertise, they have local offices staffed by local people so they do, and you could use them, but really, why would you? As the quote at the top makes clear, why help a multi-millionaire make even more money when you could help a local business-owner grow their business, employ more local people and help you recruit fantastic staff into the bargain.
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