So often the culture of entitlement that is so rife in our country at the moment really gets to me. Everyone has a right to this and a right to that. Well actually, with every right comes a responsibility! This is where so the problem comes in. We have so much focus on human rights but who is advocating for our responsibilities? We have duties as citizens of not only this Earth but as citizens of our country and as the “chick who does Local Yokel” (yes, that’s how I was referenced recently…hehehe), my focus is on our responsibilities as citizens of the Buffalo City region. For me, the biggest responsibility that we have right now is to support the businesses who continue to slog it out in a very tough economic climate to bring us goods and services that we need. Every article or book that I’ve ever read about being an entrepreneur has referenced how tough it is. I have been there. I have faced the struggle of fighting for business and competing with the pricing offered by national and online. It is incredibly demoralising when the flyers of big-box chains land in your post box and you see the ‘specials’- knowing that there’s seldom a way to compete. Knowing that our logistics costs are greater and our buying power is far smaller.
This is where my plea comes in, again and again, and I’ll more than likely take these words to my grave, but please GIVE LOCAL A CHANCE! Local doesn’t only mean vegetables from a farmer, or meat from a butcher. LOCAL means any business that operates in our city, where the profits that are (hopefully) generated, are reinvested here. It means choosing a local building contractor as opposed to a national operating here. It means buying your appliances from a family-owned store versus buying online from the company that “takes a lot” from us but gives nothing back. It means not flying to another city to collect your new car. It even means antiques or pre-loved instead of “big box assemble yourself”. Of course, it means groceries too. In fact, it means that every time you part with your pennies think where they’re heading.
Again, the title suggests there’s always give and take. So business owners, as much as I believe that we owe it to local to try, a recent blog that I read by the amazing Marnus Broodryk, – an advocate of the SME world, who pointed out that a customer is a privilege and not a right. Customer service – or lack of it – is always the biggest stumbling block for my advocating for LOCAL. I realise that life is chaotic as an entrepreneur and often we drop the ball but be real about your appreciation for your customers and keep showing how you value their support of YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS. Identify yourself as LOCAL so that we as consumers know where to spend.
Please mail me your ideas and suggestions as this campaign has been run entirely on a wing and a prayer, with the support of some amazing people. There is no manual. I still doubt my ability in making it what I do daily but I believe in our city and I know that together, we can make it better…