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Chain stores dominate the retail industry, from grocery stores to department stores, to the global Wal-Mart Industry. At a glance, these appear convenient because of their low prices and availability, but there are several reasons you should support small businesses instead of these corporate ventures.
1. Better Customer Service
In a survey sponsored by WebVisible, 83% of people preferred small businesses. The top reason was because the service is more personal. Small businesses are community-based: they function entirely within the space they are located. The employees are much friendlier, to the point that they know customers by name.
The same WebVisible survey reports that many customers like having direct access to the decision maker in the event of a problem. For example, small business owners are more likely to do a favor for these customers, such as ordering a specific item that the customer has trouble finding. They are more understanding about price disputes and similar issues. The employees are hired based on knowledge and skill. They are trained to better serve the customers based on specific needs, and will actually know the details of their job.
2. Better opportunities for Employees
Small employers are the top employer in the U.S. According to the U.S. Business Administration, about half of all workers, 52% in total, are employed in a small business. New jobs and titles often spring up from small businesses. Employees are also more likely to stay employed. Mass layoffs have only occurred within big businesses and chain stores: 119,463 people lost their jobs from large businesses in February.
Employees are often guaranteed hours and wages, and are likely to have a voice, a say in how the store changes, and an opinion in the expectations for those sharing their job title. In this way employees feel more included, instead of simply being a worker bee. Small employers are more likely to hire minority employees because of their level of skill, not just to fill state-mandated minority requirements.
3. Economic Opportunities for the Community
Small businesses put the money they earn back into the community where they live and work. Corporations are more likely to pump their money elsewhere, like ad campaigns for political parties that support big business ideals. Furthermore, small businesses present a price competition for big businesses. One company cannot monopolize the entire market of an item if other small companies are around to sell them for less.
For example, more cell phone providers drove down the price of cell phones to break down the monopoly set up by AT&T early on. Finally, small business is based on the idea of entrepreneurship, people who organize and operate business ventures. Small business owners are much more likely to develop or create new products, or hire employees that are encouraged to do so. The Microsoft Company started out as a small business. So did Federal Express, Nike, America Online, and Ben & Jerry’s.
These are only a few of the reasons to support small business. Keeping these stores from drowning under chain stores can benefit everyone.