Many moons ago when I was actively involved in trade union activities, I learned many valuable lessons during the workshops and seminars which I attended. One of the most important lessons was the role of small businesses and why we should support them.
Fast-forward to 2021 and the support for local small businesses is perhaps more important. Owing to the internet and the increasingly small world in which we live, it is easy to purchase goods and services from across borders at the expense of small and local businesses.
I would be the first to say that browsing your favorite superstore website, making a few clicks and have your product shipped to you is convenient and liberating. In many cases, there is no equal for this on a local level, and thus we have limited options.
Yet, every time we make such transactions, we keep that merchant in business, his staff employed, and his chain suppliers happy. Don't get me wrong, I am not against international trade. I just want you to gain an understanding of the transaction at a macro level.
When we buy from a local or small business on the other hand, we keep them solvent, their staff employed, and the other small and local businesses that support them in business. A win-win all around.
Employed people must support themselves and family which necessitate them purchasing goods and services from the community in which they live. It is expected that some of their purchases will be made outside their community, but this will be relatively small.
I love Dhal Puri. If I purchase a few from my neighborhood vendor, it is likely that he/she will continue to purchase the ingredients from the neighborhood grocery store. Once the grocery store stays in business, it can continue to employ workers from this very community. The greater the number of people that remain employed, the less likely they are to steal to make ends meet.
Of course my analogy is a simplistic one, but we can ramp up the chain of events for all kinds of goods and services to see how Guyana can benefit as a whole.
As a burgeoning petrostate, big businesses are better positioned to leverage new opportunities that are emerging, and this can push the economically disadvantaged section of the population to the fringes of society.
With development comes the good, the bad and the ugly. According to social-scientists, crime is a function of the socio-economic conditions in the society. In every society there is a small fraction of people who are hell bent on a life of crime. If we exclude this group, people are more likely to eke out an honest living if they are gainfully employed; whether they seek jobs or create their own.
When it comes to showing your support for small businesses, there are a few ways that you can do that:
- Write a positive review
- Refer your friends and family
- Follow them on social media
- Engage with their posts
- Give them a shout out
- Do not ask for a discount
Everything from the neighborhood food stand to the corner shop relies on the support of loyal customers to keep its doors open.
With the coronavirus pandemic still raging, the stakes are higher than ever for small businesses as their owners try to recoup lost sales.
The government of Guyana must be applauded for their support for small businesses that is provided through the Small Business Bureau.
Perhaps it is time to adopt "Small Business Saturday" which was launched by American Express in 2010. It is observed each year on the Saturday immediately following Thanksgiving Day in the United States. This should not be a stretch since we have already hooked on the "Black Friday" tradition.
It's time for us to give support to our small businesses. Let's do the right thing.