Businesses have relied a lot on the goodwill of suppliers, customers, and employees this year. They cut each other slack on bills, worked hard to fill orders, and rallied around peers and competitors alike. It was a nice reminder that there are people at the centre of every business transaction.
The #buylocal movement sprung up on social media at the beginning of the year, which was nice to see. But we wanted to measure how strongly consumers really felt about that sentiment. So we point-blank asked them how much they cared about small businesses. The answers might just give you the warm fuzzies:
- 69% say they feel proud of local small businesses.
- 93% say they are more likely to buy from (and recommend) a business that shows empathy toward the community.
You can read more in our Small business trends 2021 report.
Is this a surprise?
Only about a third of small businesses feel their connection with the community gives them an edge. Which means two-thirds probably underestimate the value of being a good local citizen.
That is likely to change as owners look back on the year and realise how community connections have helped sustain them.
What the experts say
Tate Henshaw of US firm Arc Management, agreed that businesses may only now be learning the power of their relationships.
“I don’t think people realise the opportunities available for extending goodwill during this time period. The ability to forge meaningful lifelong relationships is within our control, even if it seems like not much else is.”
Meanwhile, James Devenny of Australian firm Devenny Payne, said emotional intelligence was important to all business relationships.
“It’s the same with finding ways to keep staff. Small businesses were much better at working through this than big businesses.”
Takeaways for small businesses
- You probably underestimate the standing you have in your community.
- Consider promoting your local credentials in your marketing.
- Contributing to community causes will increase your marketability.
Check out other trends for 2021
Besides community relations, our business trends report looks at nine other things that are working for small businesses right now.
The report is based on the experiences of our 2.45 million users, plus surveys with small business owners and customers in 180 countries.
Check out the Small business trends 2021 report to see what else businesses did in 2020, and what they’ll do more of in 2021 to survive and thrive.