Promoted by AMEX, Small Business Saturday has finally come to the UK. Hopefully we see the same level of interest in SBS as Black Friday invoked on parts of the UK. Maybe we are being a little optimistic there, but here a few reasons why its important that you spend a little locally.
Small businesses keep your local economy going; they pay local taxes, rates and employ local people. They give valuable business and employment skills to the young and they ensure towns don't fall so quickly into decline. You see those empty shop spaces blighting the high streets of the UK? That breeds economic depression in regions.
Remember that Saturday job you had in the shoe shop, the newsagents, the clothes store or the record shop? Well with so much business going online to multinational businesses, those stores are fading away and so are the part time jobs with it. More and more kids grow into adulthood with ZERO work experience. Thats a tragedy, as they are going into the work marketplace with no skills and no opportunity to grab them; which makes it harder and harder for them to aspire and to achieve.
Before we set up our first Vape and Juice ecig shop in Southend, the only experience in retail I had, was working on a saturday and after school in my local high street. It is these customer service values I picked up, that I make a fundamental part of Vape and Juice now. Skills I learned at 16, help me in my 30s and in turn I try to offer opportunities to those youngsters that too want a helping start.
Small businesses pay tax in the UK; they aren't registered in some far flung tax haven, depriving the economy of tax receipts. Tax payments from the profits these companies make, should go to improve our Health Service, Armed forces, Education or pay for those underpaid and overworked care workers - they don't though. They are siphoned off to boost the coffers of a few.
It isn't practical in this day and age to visit 20 shops to do your weekly shopping and it is also the duty of a shopkeeper to ensure they work hard to make customers lives easier too. Keeping prices comparable with an online marketplace and offering hours that enable local people to be better serviced than any website can ever offer. BUT for every 10 pounds you spend online this year, try to spend a little locally.
A bit of meat from the Butchers, some bread from the bakers, a card from that local shop... every time you make a conscious effort to do that, you are making your hometown a better place to be. They'll give your kids jobs, they'll make your streets nicer and you'll feel like your making a difference too.
The only way we can help to improve our economy is by keeping the money in your pocket aimed for businesses that make your town a better place to be. The meat might look cheaper in the big supermarkets, but your pounds go further in the Butchers.
Stretch your legs this saturday and try do one thing locally that you wouldn't normally; then keep that habit up.
Make a difference with 'Small Business Saturday'
Founder of Vape and Juice - Southend - Canterbury - London