Kwento Kwentuhan

Support Local Small Businesses in 2021

Liza A Pierce of “A Maui Blog” | All photos courtesy Liza Pierce

Happy New Year! With the New Year comes many new opportunities. Opportunities for self-improvement and opportunities to serve and support our community.

In this new year edition of Kwento-Kwentuhan, I bring your attention to the local small businesses in our community.

The key is our support local businesses during this unprecedented time of COVID-19—that will bring many happy returns of Aloha to our economy!

2020 was very hard on our local small businesses. Therefore, let us do our part in supporting them this year. Let us help get them back on their feet.

Incidentally, while I was musing on this thought, I saw a post that struck my attention because it is exactly what I was thinking about. My friend Laura DiBenedetto shared on Instagram about supporting small businesses. Laura is the author of the best-selling book The Six Habits. I asked Laura’s permission to share her thoughts here and she said yes! Actually, she said “absolutely, please do.” So here they are:

Things we need to know about small businesses

Prices are often higher than big box stores because they aren’t given the same bulk pricing. A small business can’t order 500,000 units of something and get the very best price (14¢/unit) like a Walmart can. They can maybe order 100 ($1.25/unit).

To compete with the big guys, small businesses need to price their items in the same range as the big box stores and knowingly make less money on an item, still staff the store and put food on the table for their family.

Where large businesses often have far too much rigidity in their policies, small businesses usually don’t. When you’re looking at the person that wrote the policies, it’s much easier to get an exception to a policy that doesn’t work for you. You can often just ask (nicely) and appeal to their good nature and logic.

A small business owner is versatile and is often responsible for accounting, inventory, sales, pricing, service, marketing and so much more. A big business has a person (or team) for each area of the business.

Can you imagine—all of those Hawai‘i made goodies fit in this little-bitty box?!

When you buy from a small business (a product or a service), you support the dreams of a local person who had the courage to break out of the mold and go for their dream! You help them to feed their family, put their kids through college and pay their mortgage.

When a small business has a slow week, it can put them out of business (imagine nine months of that) if they’re new, had too many slow weeks or are still learning the ropes for all 500 departments they need to run.

Once upon a time, America was over 80-percent small businesses. Blacksmiths, bakers, wood cutters, builders, restaurants, barbers and so many more. There was no shame in the trades. There was pride, apprenticeship and skills being passed on to the next generation. Small businesses were the norm!

How can we help these small businesses in our midst? Here are ten solid, easy things to do

  1. Grab all the PPE you or your state requires, get in your car and patronize those businesses that can help your holidays be brighter! Smile so huge it shows behind your mask!
  2. Call or get online and ask if they can or will deliver to you – or do contact-free pickup if that’s important to you. Don’t let excuses stand in your way!
  3. Write supportive reviews on Google and Yelp. Word of mouth is still the most important form of marketing.
  4. When you hear someone say they’re going to start a business, share their post on social media to your community. It really does help.
  5. If you usually buy services from a large company, give an opportunity to a smaller business. Don’t expect them to compete on price. Small businesses typically compete with much better service and treating you like you matter (because to them, you do!)
  6. Say “thank you.” Those two little words mean so much to someone that is working their fingers to the bone to make you happy. Our culture has transactionalized relationships and we’ve forgotten our manners. Just because you pay someone to do something for you does not mean you’re excused from good manners.
  7. It’s easy to spot someone who’s never been in a particular store before. If you encounter a newbie, say something nice about the business!
  8. Brag about your purchases to your friends. Let them know about your incredible new service provider. Tell them about the great products and service at the new retailer you just fell in love with. Be vocal!
  9. If you have the opportunity to meet the business owner, ask them how you can help them to succeed. Nine out of ten times, it’s going to be something really easy that only takes you two seconds.

Share this message with others so we can all participate in reviving our economy and supporting the small businesses that got this country started in the first place!

Liza Pierce of A Maui Blog is an Interactive Media Strategist in Hawai‘i. She started blogging in 2006 and she loves talking story online and spreading aloha around the world. She’s been living on Maui since 1994 and considers Maui her home. A wife, a mother, a friend…and so much more. She loves Jesus; Maui Sunsets Catcher; Crazy About Rainbows; End Alzheimer’s Advocate. Her life is full and exciting here on the island of Maui. Liza is currently the Interactive Media Strategist with Wailea Realty Corp.