We need to support local. There’s something special about supporting a local establishment, product or service business because there’s more heart than profits that’s the motivation behind it.
Professionally, I have profiled many small businesses to know and understand their struggle, and why their success needs to be celebrated. Personally, I do my best to support local businesses wherever I can and promote them to my friends and family. This is especially true for home industries – the amazing bakers and chefs in our midst who work tirelessly to create unique products.
And so I’m really upset that a small business I have supported and promoted has let me down. Mind you, I even supported this small business owner from my hospital bed last year.
I will not name and shame because that is not in my nature. I reached out to the small business owner to ascertain why they had not fulfilled our agreement. There has been no response – almost two months later. And the arrangement that was not fulfilled was made in November last year. Should I have seen the warning signs? Perhaps. I have had issues with clear communication with this small business owner in the past and simply overlooked it. I should not have.
Communication, I believe, is the most important ingredient for any business to succeed. Even when something goes wrong, communicate. We are all human. Mistakes happen; things do not go as planned, emergencies crop up… but be upfront and honest.
I have also learnt that while social media is a vital tool for small businesses, it should not be the only gauge of the quality of service or goods. The good old-fashioned word of mouth is also important – by that I mean speaking to people who have supported the business about their experiences. Another critical factor in today’s COVID-19 era is delivery options. These should be readily and easily available.
The arrangement that I had made with this small business owner involved a third party so in addition to being disappointed, I was left red-faced. The would-be recipient has been very gracious and understanding about it, despite the fact that her own attempts to reach out to the business owner have drawn a blank.
In an attempt to make it up to her, I decided to support another small business whom I had personally heard about from my cousin. Upon mentioning it to a friend, I was told that she too knows this amazing sister duo and can vouch for them. I began following them on Instagram and when I saw a product that caught my eye, I reached out to order. It was an efficient process – from payment to delivery. And finally, a very happy customer! Thank you to Over the Rainbow for restoring my faith in small businesses. (follow them on @overtherainbow8382)
The take-home lesson for me is that there are many amazing businesses and a bad experience with one or two, should not stop us from supporting local in the future. Many small businesses are borne out of a need to earn an income, given the saturated job market and that COVID-19 has left many without jobs. Some small businesses are a side hustle – that will probably one day help fund a child’s education.
Now, isn’t that worth supporting?