7 Strengths of Small Town Businesses #7: Benefiting the Local Community

7 best strengths of small town stores

7 Biggest Strengths of Local Shops

And how you can build on them.

Remember the 7 Weaknesses of Local Shops? They were crazy popular because they touched a nerve. I acknowledged that some of our local businesses really need to step up to earn business today. This series is the flip side of that idea. Small town stores have strengths, too. Our best local shops know a lot about customer service and community, and every business would be wise to learn from our strengths. Start reading the series here:

  1. Get to know you
  2. Make customers feel loved
  3. Fewer layers
  4. More flexible
  5. More knowledgeable
  6. Innovative
  7. Benefiting the local community

Strength 7: Benefiting the Local Community.

This is the last of the series, and I think it’s the most important. Small town businesses benefit their local community.

It’s not hard to see that locally-owned small businesses in small towns have a focus on their local community. My feeling is that small town people start out more focused on our local community than people who live in suburbs or big, loose metropolitan areas. When you start a business in your small town, you don’t forget about your community; you support it. You donate to local causes, just like you did before. You volunteer at local events, like you did before you had a business. You participate in local issues, just like before. And if your business prospers, you have more money for all those activities. When you need help, you hire local people. You buy from local suppliers, and you contract with local services. That adds up to a lot of community benefit.

But you don’t have to believe my speculative thinking. Let’s go to the research.

 

Charles M. Tolbert, Baylor University, looked at the effects of small business on their local community. His research shows that locally-owned business establishments are associated statistically with some benefits that might make your jaw drop:

  • higher average income levels
  • less income inequality
  • lower poverty levels
  • lower unemployment
  • less juvenile delinquency
  • less crime
  • lower levels of obesity
  • lower levels of diabetes

Larger businesses were not associated with these benefits.

Tolbert said that business owners are a local independent middle class, vested in the locality, embedded in the community, and acting as stakeholders. He speculated that the entrepreneurial culture may be associated with better investment in health care facilities, recruitment of physicians, and a better social environment. What he’s trying to say is that local business owners care about their community. I agree.

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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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