The High Street Deli has been an utter breath of fresh air for me – it’s my de stressing place. Whenever I have a spare moment I’ll hot foot over for tea and cake in the secret (shhhh ) garden – sometimes beer and cheese appears in front of me too 🙂
Mr + Mrs Deli have always been a constant support to me and my business, doing all sorts like offering advice on projects, sharing my work, hiring + recommending me for jobs…..or just filling me with Jojo’s amazing cake to keep me smiling – they are just the best and now true friends. Thank you so much Barrie + Jojo for always being there for a fellow local business person (cheese and cake loving photographer).
I’ve been wanting to get a few wise words (scribbles as he’d call them) from Mr Deli (The High Street Deli) for a while now.
So here he is on a subject close to both of our hearts…….
There are plenty of social media campaigns urging us to ‘shop local’ and ‘eat local’. National movements encourage us to rebuild the high street, support a small business and boost the local economy by switching a relatively modest proportion of our spend to local businesses.
These are all important ways of reminding local people with spending power in their pockets to give local businesses a fair chance in a world where the easy click of a button and lower prices tends to recalibrate our individual and collective perceptions of value. We small business owners need all of those encouragements to level a playing field that is often in favour of the big guys, the multinationals and the internet giants.
But there is something else small business owners need … and it is within our own gift to give it. In giving it, we might well receive something back, that vital little leg up, a practical encouragement at a crucial moment. And if it is within our own gift to generate it without the need for headline-grabbing initiatives and national campaigns, surely that’s a great reason to reach out.
The thing we all need is a support network.
And who better to support our small business endeavours than other small business owners? Who understands best the long hours, the multi-tasking, the 7-day weeks and the energy required to get something off the ground, to deliver it consistently to the highest quality and to get a discerning public to hand over their hard-earned money for the goods, services and skills you have to offer?
It has to be other small business owners.
So, here’s the challenge, in a world where you need to focus on your thing, where you need all your energy to drive at your project, to finesse your design, to hone your craft, how do you make more time to encourage others, to support them, to advocate for them?
The best way – from experience – is to embed it in the way your business chooses to be. Make it natural. Work with people you like and admire … and tell people why you work with them. Show off examples of awesome things talented people have done for you. Your customers have needs and interests way beyond the services you might offer. They want to be pointed in the right direction, they need experience-based peer recommendations because that’s how we all choose who to engage with.
In a fast moving world, make time to support local businesses through advocacy, through sharing, by talking them up not talking them down … make a dead end with you a signpost to someone else – you might not be able to offer a service, but find out who can and recommend them.
The uplifting moment when someone in the business community likes what you do enough to tell someone else about it is the best support network any small business can need!
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