Why you should care if small businesses in your area are struggling

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A small business closing is bad news everywhere.

Key points

  • Many small businesses are struggling in light of rising inflation.
  • Supporting these businesses can really work in your favor.

During the pandemic, many small businesses were pushed to the brink as stay-at-home orders were put in place and non-essential establishments were forced to close temporarily. Although small businesses were eligible for various forms of assistance at the time, including PPP loans that allowed them to support payroll costs, many local businesses came close to closing for good during the one-year period following the outbreak of COVID-19.

But the small businesses that survived that blow are not necessarily thriving today. Labor shortages make it difficult for small businesses to operate. And in recent months, local businesses have been buckling under the weight of inflation.

Just as everyday consumers are racking up huge credit card tabs to keep up with basic expenses, small businesses are spending more money than ever before to buy goods, pay employees and cover overhead costs. And many of these businesses are still at risk of closing — even though it may not seem like it.

If you have a small business in your area, it’s worth supporting them as much as you can. You might think that closing a small business won’t matter to you individually. But in fact, they can affect you more than expected.

Keep these businesses alive

If your favorite coffee shop or bookstore in town is forced to close, you tend to be pretty upset—and so you might be inclined to support them in an effort to prevent that from happening. But if there’s a clothing store down the block that you hardly ever set foot in, you might not care much about the financial health of that business.

Here’s why you should, though. For one thing, small businesses tend to pump more money back into their respective communities. A small business in your area will likely source supplies from other small businesses, thereby contributing to their success. And small businesses are paving the way for more local jobs.

Plus, if small businesses close on short notice, it can lead to lower property values. If you are a home owner, this is not good.

On the other hand, thriving small business communities tend to attract other businesses looking for a home. Say your town could really use a vegan restaurant. If local businesses do well, a vegan chef with a business concept looking for space may be attracted to your city. But if 20% of the businesses in your area are closed and abandoned, that chef might run off in the other direction and take his idea to another city.

That’s why it’s worth aiming to support small businesses as best you can. This doesn’t mean you should spend money on things you don’t need or want. If you’re a vegetarian, you don’t have to frequent the steakhouse down the block. But if you usually order craft supplies for your kids from Amazon, you might want to pick them up at the store in town—even if it means paying a little more for your purchases.

Do your part

Small businesses rely on local residents to stay afloat, and supporting them is a great way to give back to your community. And if you don’t have the means to do that, help in other ways. Promote your local bakery on your social media page and encourage friends from nearby cities to check it out. There are ways to direct revenue to local establishments without spending money you don’t have, and if you’re willing to put in the time, your efforts can go a long way.

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