I’ve heard business owners say things like “in this economic climate, it’s hard to get new customers” and “no one has any money to spend, we can’t afford to use new ways to advertise”.
I’ve heard customers say “they never do anything different” and “why should I shop local? I can get a better deal at Wal-Mart”.
These comments are opportunities for local residents and businesses to help create change and share a new mindset on how we think about our community. Here’s a little advice to consider.
1. Stop saying “in this economic climate” – people are still shopping, traveling and talking about businesses/places they visit. Start looking at what people want. Where we live, there are more day travelers coming from around the state. What can you provide for them?
2. Don’t spend other people’s money. In other words – don’t prejudge people. You really don’t know what their priorities are and how they want to spend their money. People do have money to spend. Your job is to figure out what they want to spend it on!
3. New ways to advertise don’t always cost money. They do cost time. Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, blogging can all be done for no cost or almost no cost. You do need to spend time on it to be effective. You wouldn’t just put up a billboard and expect people to flock to your store either. People need to see something 7 times before it sinks in!
4. If you’re not doing anything different, you’re become stale. Rearrange your store, change the windows, use new ads in the paper and on the radio – give people a reason to come visit you.
5. Wal-Mart helps put small, local businesses out of business. Most of your dollars spent at Wal-Mart don’t make their way back to your county/town. The average Wal-Mart worker is paid $8.81 an hour, works under 32 hours a week (so they don’t get insurance) and requires $943 a year in Medicaid and other public assistance. * 66 cents of every dollar spent locally, stays local. Local businesses also know you, give much better customer service as a rule, hire people from your neighborhood, pay local taxes and live where you live.
The picture is Danielle Noah painting a temporary sign for Cornerstone Cottage Kids. They received a grant from the Chamber to put up a new sign, but that project won’t start til spring. So until then, they took some plywood and made their own temporary sign. It’s new, different and brings people into the store. Isn’t that the point?
*In exchange for all the family-supporting jobs Walmart has take away, all it has given us in return are very low-wage jobs working in its stores. The average Walmart worker makes just $8.81 an hour, data from IBISWorld show, and requires $943 a year in Medicaid and other public assistance, according to information from the state of Ohio. Taken from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stacy-mitchell/another-shocking-fact-abo_b_1138952.html