Build your local connections (video)

Since our book Small Town Rules was released by Que Publishing this year, Barry Moltz and I have been sharing lots of videos, interviews, and guest posts all over the web. So I’m offering this series to share some of these ideas here. Even if you aren’t interested in the book itself, you can learn something from the principles we’ll be sharing.

This week, build your local connections. I’ll talk about how small businesses and big brands, urban or rural, can Go Local.

(Don’t see the video? Click through to Small Biz Survival to view it.)

Local flavor is the antidote to a single, bland national culture. This is how we respect our own local tastes, our local flavor, our local foods certainly, but also our own local culture, also, and the things that make each location different and interesting.

The rule is to build your local connections, and there are two ways to do that. The first is to connect with your culture and place. That means you have to know your local culture and place. That involves looking at your location and noticing those things you never think about, the things that you never think about. I’m from western Oklahoma, and we’re very much a frontier and cowboy kind of place, even though we’re not all cowboys. That culture pervades a lot of what we do here, and influences how we do business. If you’re from a different place, your culture is going to be completely different. For example, rural Maine has a completely different culture. It’s a matter for you to look at your business and the culture that your business should be a part of. And you have to understand it first before you can be part of it.

The second step is to use your local story to build engagement. It part of moving through the cycles of know, like, and trust, to buy because they know you better. You do that by telling your stories. Sharing your connection to your culture is a way of accelerating that, of giving them a framework for understanding you better. Giving pieces of your local culture and telling those stories, helps people to better know you.

If you can, and if it makes sense for your business, be involved in a shop local campaign. If you’re a small business located in a neighborhood or small town, then definitely get involved in your local campaign. For a big business, get involved in the way that makes sense for your business. You can support a local campaign directly or indirectly. If your business covers a lot of territory, you talk about shop local in each area where you are local. Either you have a location in that area, or you use products from that area. You can connect to what is local in that area. Share your local ingredients. Share the efforts you’re making to support the local community and to protect the local environment. All of those give the markers of quality that your customers are looking for when they make a decision about what’s local and what they are going to support. 

If this makes sense to you, you might like a sample of our book Small Town Rules.

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About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

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  1. says

    Network, network, network. You’re bang on, Becky. I started a new business a couple of months ago AND moved at the same time. I had the mentality of running a company with 7 digit annual revenues where most people in business in my old city knew who I was, and now I’m at a place where I’m again a neophyte and now I’m in a place where I don’t know anyone. In other words, I am back where I was 7 years ago when I started my previous company. What got us noticed and started the ball rolling was good, old-fashioned networking. Even though we wound up having clients worldwide, our first few clients came from the backyard.

    Perhaps this topic would make a good post: 5 places where you should network when you’re new in town (or new to business). I saw Rick’s interview, but that doesn’t quite scratch the itch.

    As usual, spot on post. Thanks!

    • says

      Thanks, Jason. You piled on the challenges, didn’t you? If you’d like to do a guest post with that title, I’d love to have it! Either way, I think it would be a great topic to cover!

  2. says

    I think local involvement is definitely the key to local success. A company that shows interest in the community and their needs, supports them, defends the local environment or a local cause, will make a big difference in local customers’ minds by making them feel closer and more connected to this company’s culture and values