Magic Happens When Local Business Engages with the Local Community

Local Business

When a community embraces a local small business, magical things can happen. They both grow together and a new market is formed. This simple but effective tactic helped our client Jake take his small business to whole new level. His business became a local destination where customers gathered to spend time, converse, andyes  spend money. This is what happened when Jake deployed this strategy. 

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

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Jake’s Story

Our client Jake owns a small restaurant in a gentrifying part of New York City. His neighborhood was going through some rapid changes, with an influx of 20 somethings looking for affordable housing in city. These new neighbors were educated, had sophisticated tastes, but were short on places to go that catered to them. The gentrifying formula in New York is well established. Once a community gets established, it becomes self-sustaining if it feels like a place that they can call home. Jake was part of the trend. He came early and saw an opportunity to cater to the needs of his generation. Just catering to the tastes of the newcomers wasn’t enough, so we worked with him to find a way to make his restaurant the go-to place for the community.

Why Get Local with the Locals?

Research has shown that 68 cents of every dollar spent at a local business stays within the community. The reverse is true for chains. Nearly 60 cents of every dollar spend flows OUT of the community. Gentrification has winners and losers, but by spending locally, you boost all businesses in the community, not just those catering to the newcomers. Not only are local shoppers supporting members of their own community, but they have access to unique products not found in big box retailers. Finally, small businesses donate way more than larger business. I mean 250% more. Since they are part of the community, they support local causes that have a true impact in the community.

How Jake’s Business Became a Local Hot Spot

Kept his Focus on His Target Market

Jake knew his market. He knew that he had to create an environment where people like him would want to spend time. Also, he knew that his customers had more time than money, so he kept the formula simple. He kept the menu and pricing affordable. Jake knew whatever he lost in margin he would need to make up for in volume. So, he created themed events per evening. They were free events, but he knew if he kept them fun, people would stay longer and spend more. He had a trivia night, a gaming night (competitive teams), a sports night, etc. 

Created a Positive Impact for the Whole Community

Jake, like the rest of his generation, was concerned about the impact of the influx of high-earning, upwardly mobile Millennials on the existing community. Being socially conscious, he wanted to make an impact. So, he had a charity night. Where proceeds from a special drink or menu item went to support a local charity or business. This was a big hit with his customers since they cared about the same things. He also partnered with other local business serving the same target to pull their efforts so they could have a great impact. This was all built around the idea that “we support each other because we live together”. It was genius idea. On his ‘charity night’, he also invited other long-time businesses and residents to share with this client what they had to offer. It was a great way for both communities to interact and create bonds. 

Hired locally – Creating Jobs for the Long-time Residents

Jake took advantage of the NY State’s Youth Jobs Programs, which provides funding for business who hire individuals with lower incomes and/or opportunities. By creating jobs for the long-time locals, his business was viewed positively by the whole community Also, local talent attracts local customersThis is a trend that has been noticed before: 

Small businesses also create employment opportunities and encourage innovation. Small businesses are the engines of job creation in this country and account for 64 percent of the net new private-sector jobs and over 49 percent of private-sector employment.  

Jake was aware of the PR and work-of-mouth impact of investing in jobs for the local community. Plus, as we’ve said many times before, it can only help to delegate!

Summary – Getting Local with the Locals is Good Business

By creating a local hot spot for the community drives people to your business. Getting involved in the community via job creation and charity involvement, provides positive PR and word-of-mouth, which tends to create a positive feedback loop. If you can find a way to integrate yourself within your community, we strongly encourage it. It can only help to expand your market

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Small Business Awards: Everyone Loves a Winner

small business awards

Winning Small Business Awards can boost your credibility. We’re giving it a try, and we think you should too. Want to know how to get started? Here are a few ways to do it. Standing out from competition is hard, especially if you are the new kid on the block. But it is a key method to growing your business. 

Building credibility takes time. One way that we are starting to try is to apply for entrepreneurial and small business awards. Distinguishing yourself through an award has been shown increase revenue. In fact, a study by the British Quality Foundation showed that small award-winning twice as much sales growth than non-winners. 

Thinking about making changes to your business? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Sure, It’s scary

Look, no one likes rejection. But you can’t win if you don’t try. I’ll be brutally honest. It’s taken me a long time to overcome my feelings of imposter syndrome. Yep, Ive got to take my own medicine too. How could I recommend this to you without doing it myself? Let’s support each other as we give it a go.

Which programs are the right ones?

Well, we’ve done some research that we would like to share with you. We’ve broken it down into paid submissions and free submissions. We kept this list to the broadest level. There are several industry specific awards that are worth exploring beyond these.

These are national and not industry specific. We encourage you to explore local and industry specific opportunities. We are going to submit to a few of free national programs while exploring several local options.

Things to keep in mind regarding small business awards

These applications are all pretty similar so creating a file once, where everything is stored will save you a ton of time going forward. Make sure you have a 3rd party review it. We are too close to our business that we sometimes forget or assume that people may or may not know our jargon. An impartial pair of eyes can help. Finally, make sure you tell a story. A story is much easier to read than a laundry list of achievements. Your business is more than numbers. It’s about what you unique bring to the market, and part of that uniqueness is you. Most programs are online, but others, like the SBA, require hard copies. 

Good Luck!

While we may be competing for the same prize, we wish you luck. There’s more than enough praise to go around. I would be thrilled to hear if one of my contacts or readers won. We’d happily showcase you. 

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

How Small Businesses Can Help Each Other Succeed

Help Other Small Businesses Succeed

We all buy products and services every day. Why not try to
purchase these from other small businesses so we can help each other succeed.
This strategy has worked in immigrant communities for years. While it may not
be cost-effective at first, it is an investment in your own business.
Reciprocity is hard-wired in human nature.

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

It’s Not Always Easy to Help, BUT it can be done

Why isn’t easy? Two reasons – cost and competition. By definition,
small businesses don’t have the economies of scale to effectively compete on
price like larger competitors online or off. As a result, costs are usually
higher. Consequently, because they aren’t as competitive, they can more easily
be pushed out of business. Therefore, the best way small businesses can help
each other succeed is to create a network. Your neighborhood local chamber of
commerce or LinkedIn are all great places to start.

While there are several factors working against helping other businesses succeed, there are a few ways which are working in our favor. The increased adoption of e-commerce by small businesses provides greater access than ever. This is also why a network can be helpful.

Build a Small Business Network to Help Each Other Succeed

A small business network is a powerful way to help each other succeed. How
do you do that? Simple:

Get to Know Your Neighbors. A walk or a drive around town can be very enlightening. See who is there. Walk in the door and get to know them. Helping other small businesses succeed in your community pays dividends in the long-run. Not only can your neighbors recommend you, you also help the local economy create jobs, and make your neighborhood a better place to live.

Go On-line. If you want to help a particular kind of small business succeed, start by looking online for directories. For instance, if you want to buy from women-owned businesses, Hispanic-owned businesses, or LGBTQIA businesses, you can find directories devoted to these types of business owners.

Use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a powerful B2B tool that you can use to help other small businesses succeed. You likely have small business owners in your network, and you don’t even realize it. Putting out a request to your feed can help start building these links. If you want a less techy approach, you can use your local chamber of commerce or other business/professional associations.

How Helping Other Small Businesses Succeed Helps You Succeed

When you boil it down, business is about relationships. Relationships are
sticky. They tend to be resilient. Remember, reciprocity is hard-wired. We’ve
built client relationships via referrals both to and from our business. It may
cost a bit more to buy from a small business, but it is an investment in
relationships. You never know who will be wildly successful, or from where a
great business idea or opportunity might come. 

If you are a small business and would like to join our network, feel free to contact us. We’d be more than pleased to add you.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

How Can NYC Help Small Businesses

NYC help small business

NYC is one of the BEST cities for Small Business”.  While this is true, NYC can always do better to help small businesses.  If we wish to continue using tax incentives to drive economic growth, we may need to shift that focus to provide direct support to small and medium-sized businesses and the jobs they create. 

NYC is facing a major storefront vacancy crisis.  In fact, the amount of vacant storefronts has nearly tripled since 2016.

A survey conducted by Douglas Elliman found that about 20 percent of all retail space in Manhattan is currently vacant, she said, compared with roughly 7 percent in 2016.

NYTimes

Thinking about making changes to your business? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Small Businesses Account for 1/2 of NYC’s Employment.

In fact, New York small businesses employed 4.0 million people, or 50.2% of the private workforce in 2015 according to the SBA.  Importantly, “Small businesses make up 99.8 percent of all New York businesses [in the state]” – SBA   If we can find millions of dollars to help large businesses, why can’t we do the same for small businesses?

New Yorker’s Love their Favorite Delis, Restaurants, and Bars/Hangouts

If there is enough political pressure to kill deals like Amazon, perhaps there will be more support to use those funds to help struggling small businesses, or to spur small businesses growth.  NYC is a large patchwork of neighborhoods, each with its own flavor and character.  These neighborhoods are most impacted by our storefront crisis.  Why?  We form emotional connections with people we see every day – our favorite deli, bar, or restaurant.  We, as New Yorkers, rarely share that same connection with the towering glass office buildings we pass every day.

Small Businesses are Less Equipped to Handle Government Mandates

Bureaucratic red tape and fines, and, the near-constant addition of new, complicated, and expensive government mandates adds a tremendous burden for small businesses.  If we want to support the storefront businesses and keep New York vibrant and unique, we should expand existing incentive programs to small businesses

How Can NYC Help Small Business

First, Extend the Job Program Incentives

Let’s take a page from the Amazon example.  For instance, the state’s jobs program offered to Amazon as a tax incentive should be extended to jobs created by small business.  These jobs are vital to NYC, and NYC could help small business greatly with extension of these benefits.  Small businesses offer entry into the workforce for people from all walks of life.  They provide careers, work schedule flexibility, and create tons of opportunity for workers and job seekers. 

Second, Provide Help with Soaring Labor Costs

NYC is an expensive city.  As such, people need to earn a livable wage.  However, labor costs have soared in New York City. NYC could help small business by encouraging the State to use its direct wage subsidy to provide a needed financial boost to small businesses.  Labor is usually the largest cost for retail, hospitality, and service businesses.  Because of this, they are highly sensitive to labor costs.  This makes a compelling case for why the tax code should be used to support and preserve these jobs.

Third, Commercial Rent Regulation  

Rents in NYC are rising faster than labor costs. This is one key area where NYC can help small businesses, commercial rent regulation.  Commercial tenants typically bear the burden of real estate tax pass-throughs in addition to non-regulated rent.  We also lose out in the new tax code. State and local taxes are no longer deductible for pass-through entities. Since most small businesses are, we’ve lost that tax break. If NYC or the State could help small businesses with some remedy, that would go a long way to reverse the damage from the Tax Cut.  Also, commercial rent control would help small businesses better anticipate and manage costs. 

Forth, Off-sets for Mandates

While I believe in paid part-time sick leave and proposed paid vacation for part-time workers, NYC could help small businesses by including some offsets and/or administrative support to lighten the impact on businesses. Small businesses are ill-equipped to fully shoulder the cost and administration of societal benefits and safety net programs.  Perhaps by adopting a collective system, like worker’s compensation for instance, NYC or the State could help mitigate burdens and send a message that the NYC wants to help all citizens including small business owners.

Finally, These  Are NOT Giveaways

The purpose of these tax benefits would not be to subsidize failing businesses or be irresponsible giveaways.  Rather, they would help the countless successful small businesses that contribute much to NYC.

Summary: NYC is a Great Place for Small Business. But We Can Do More

Even with these challenges, “NYC is one of the BEST cities for Small Business”, as we mention in our blog.  Just imagine how much more successful we could be if we put the same rigor and effort behind small businesses as we do large.

If we want to balance progressive ideals with business opportunity, small business is where to do it. It’s small business who employs the lower wage works. As such, we could have the most impact.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.