MBIE states that small businesses generate 28% of New Zealand’s GDP and employ over 600000 people – that’s over 29% of the workforce. They’re pretty much the backbone of our country.
There are thousands of small businesses in New Zealand, playing a key role in local regional economic growth, and supporting larger businesses who export to the global audience.
When small businesses grow and succeed, they’re not just helping themselves, they’re creating jobs, providing opportunities and incomes. And, often, small local businesses have strong links with their communities and give back in other ways too – supporting charities, local schools and community events**.
But being a small business can be tough! Technologies are always changing, not to mention all the rules and regulations. And often it’s just one person dealing with all these things, as well making their products, dealing with suppliers and retail outlets, marketing, doing the accounts, working out how to absorb the latest price increases, emails, social media (ugh, the bane of our lives keeping up with the algorithms), bills, bills and more bills!
Now imagine if these hard-working small businesses weren’t supported, and ceased to exist. Imagine if they disappeared. Swamped and drowned out by the pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap big box stores from abroad … How dull your world would be!
😞 No mid-morning pick-me-up from your local coffee shop with its quirky buzz and welcoming vibe.
😞 No delicious freshly-baked sourdough from the artisan baker who created the bread fresh this morning instead of putting a pre-made frozen loaf in the oven. (If you know me, you know I don't really mean sourdough bread, I mean salted caramel donuts with cream oozing out the middle, but that doesn't sound classy enough!)
😞 Only being able to buy veges from the supermarket instead of a local grower who picked them a few hours before heading to market.
😞 No variety and flair. No independent take on products and design. Just the same cookie cutter mass produced items.
Small businesses have authenticity, love, passion and more.
And when you support them:
😀 You’re directly helping them to fund even more ideas and ventures. Ventures that can help your community, provide jobs for your neighbours, keep the local culture alive. It’s a virtuous circle – money that is kept in the local economy supports local charities, events and other businesses. Businesses who then put their money back into your community and so on. In other words -
😀 You’re a BIG part of supporting your local and wider community. Keeping money recirculating in your local economy is good for New Zealand’s economic activity overall.
😀 You’re helping maintain a more diverse and interesting marketplace that means more choice for you.
😀 You’re more than likely receiving great service, a quality product, and value for money. I know my kids have bought cheap things from offshore websites that end up being a complete waste of money as they fall apart on the first wear, or break after the first use. And there’s not much they can do about it. Bath soaks and bath bombs in particular wind me up, as they look cute, fun and very 'gifty' and they seem quite cheap. But they contain unpronounceable ingredients that can irritate your skin, leaving it red and sore and in need of soothing cream. Suddenly not so cheap any more.
😀 You'll be dealing with someone local who knows what they're talking about. If you have a query, the person who's helping you will be truly invested in making sure they can help you. You're an individual not another number.
We do understand it can be hard to always support small businesses. Our costs are generally more than those of big business because we don’t have the big buying power, so we won't win the battle of low prices. We don’t get offered great deals by the couriers so we can’t always offer free shipping. We might not stock everything you need etc.
So what can you do to help?
😀 Word of mouth is always appreciated. Well, kind words are! If there’s something you’re not happy about, a small business will always prefer you to contact them first to see how they can help you. If something was done well or particularly delighted you, you could share it on social media.
😀 If you follow a small biz on social media, send the occasional comment their way. It doesn’t mean they’ll bombard you with sales requests! You’ll have made them feel seen and validated and probably brightened their day a bit. It can be pretty lonely running a small business - your comments are so welcome!
😀 Another way to make them feel seen and appreciated is by leaving an online review. Either on their website, social media page, or on their Google listing. This last one in particular can really help them stand up against the big national and multinationals.
😀 If the business is running a deal or special, or is supporting a good cause that you like, encourage your friends to take a look too.
😀 If you’re signed up to receive their newsletters, they often contain a share button to easily keep your friends in the loop. NB – for the life of me I cannot find such a share button for our Salt & Oil emails, which is very frustrating!
😀 And if you can, aim to do at least some of your shopping with small businesses. Especially when it comes to gifts, or items that you might not regularly treat yourself to (maybe you should!) but you’d like to let a friend experience. If you’re on a tight budget, perhaps just a small part of the gift could be from a small NZ or local business.
How many NZ small businesses do you like and support? Or maybe you are one! Let's see if we can't all come together and divert even a small percentage of funds from big, offshore concerns to our own NZ-made and NZ-loving small businesses!
Yay for positive vibes, even small ones!
Here's a final positive vibe for you: If you haven't signed up to receive our Salt & Oil Weekly Soak email yet, your welcome email contains a code for $5 off AND a free gift worth $14.50 with your first order over $50. We currently only ship within New Zealand.