‘Stay local’ has been a watch word for us all over the last few dreadful months whilst we have been in the grip of the COVID pandemic. Travel has not only been discouraged but, in many cases, has been the subject of legal restrictions for everyone’s safety.
We live in a world that grows smaller by the day, as technology develops the ‘other side of the world’ is no longer very far away – a quick Zoom call and you can be face to face with a customer or client tens of thousands of miles away – and that is no bad thing, it allows business growth, broadening of minds and exchange of ideas among many other advantages. That said there is much to be said for keeping it local as well.
A local business may well be in a different field but they know the area, know it’s quirks and foibles, know what is needed, know other businesses and how you can work together to help each other. It is in their interest to prioritise and work with you because everyone benefits – especially themselves.
It doesn’t matter whether the business you do is direct or not, just supporting those in your local community enriches the whole community. It means that there are shops, cafes, restaurants, entertainments, businesses that will keep the community employed, active and thriving. Of recent years it has been the (misguided) policy of many local councils to push developments out of towns creating a doughnut with a hollow centre, forgetting that when there is no heart there is no life. A community without a heart is a dying community and benefits no-one.
When calamity strikes, whatever shape it takes, the lack of local facilities and basic infrastructure is brought home with a vengeance, no excuses or crying over spilt milk will bring it back. Thankfully it seems that the long, tedious Lockdowns we have been subjected to have brought this home to the real people, the ones who live in the town if not to those who prefer the trappings of power to reality. So many local businesses went out of their way to support their community – providing help that was desperately needed whilst the authorities wept crocodile tears and did little.
A global client base is a wonderful thing, but you should never neglect your own backyard, building your business on a sound footing with deep roots in your community gives you the strength you will need to survive the tough times that always come – stay local.