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Why You Should Shop at Small Businesses

Small Business

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but this post serves as a reminder to how supporting small and local businesses impacts you and your community. Feel free to share with your customers the next time the topic comes up!

Small businesses define communities

Think back to when you were a child – what stores do you remember and why do you remember them? Likely these stores were a staple of your community, that also happened to have great products. Local businesses add character to a neighborhood, and provide it’s employees freedom that large companies stifle. Thanks to this, innovation is more likely to thrive in a small business. Do you remember the last time you were sad hearing of a business that closed down? Small businesses become more than just an economic driver and add to the well-being of a community.

Small businesses have better service

Local businesses face many challenges to stay afloat in their respective marketplaces, marketplaces that are only becoming increasingly more competitive. Because of this, you’re likely to receive better and more personalized service; this means you’ll never be put on hold when you call and they’re going to know your name when you walk in. You’ll never have to worry about who’s interests are being met, whether it be stockholders, boards, or an algorithm, small businesses have your needs in mind.

According to Forbes, shopping at small businesses is a sign of respect, not only for the product but for the owners, too. It takes a lot of work and heart to get something going, and supporting that benefits all parties involved. Share your tips below on how you encourage others to support local businesses, and what small businesses have inspired you.

Have you heard the news? American Quilt Retailer is hosting the opening session at spring Quilt Market in Kansas City! Their Schoolhouse Series includes breakout sessions and an opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge from the people who make, design, or write about the products you sell. Register to attend today.

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Let’s Talk Money

Money never seems to be easy. Not easy to talk about, not easy to understand, and especially not to get.

But whoever said there’s no such thing as free money never applied for a small business grant. Grants are a great way to give your business the extra financial push it needs to meet it’s next goal.

When it comes to setting yourself apart from the rest of the applicants it’s important to do your research well ahead of time. Make a list of the grants you could qualify for, their deadlines, and their requirements. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to meet these steps, and begin to schedule a rough timeline to complete each task.

Make sure you don’t have to force justification for these grants; it will show in your materials if the fit doesn’t seem natural. And don’t forget to search for local or regional grants that may be better suited for your area’s economic needs (and thus a better fit for your business).

Next, seek professional help. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Or utilize resources that have experience in grants, like the Better Business Bureau or The American Association of Grant Professionals. If you have a friend with experience in the professional writing world or with a stellar set of skills and experience in editing, then you’ve hit the jackpot if they’re willing to give you help for free.

small biz grants

Often times these grants can seem like a pipe dream, but it doesn’t hurt to try. And with most things, persistence pays off. If you don’t get it in year one, try again. With each year you apply, the more the committee will recognize your effort and the less daunting the process will seem.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

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What’s in stock?

Inventory management. What a scary phrase, right? And when spoken as a task it can sound even worse.

But all business owners know how important inventory management can be. How is anyone supposed to know how much of a new product a business should order? Being small business owners makes these processes a little harder when time is already thin.

For those of you who don’t know, inventory management is the process of tracking assets and stock items. Inventory management follows the flow of goods from the moment you order product from a manufacturer to delivery to your local store and finally to the point of sale.

The goal is to keep as good of records as possible for each new and returned item in your store.

Inventory management

Building your own excel sheet is a good start for keeping track of your inventory. Another way to make the numbers more personal is by including the cost of the inventory in the spreadsheet as well.

Stock review is an important manual step in the inventory management process; simply analyze what’s on hand versus what you will need in the future. Of course you can always order product for a customer if they request it; but isn’t it handy for both of you when it’s already in supply?

Another plus of inventory management is that the process forces you to keep records; be sure to review these records once a year to know your best selling products during certain seasons. This can also help with new product predictions too. Keep in mind the ABC system when you’re doing this to keep you focused and organized, where

  • A equals high-value, low quantity goods,
  • B equals moderate value, moderate quantity goods, and
  • C equals low value, high quantity goods.

There are systems in place now to help with the financial side of inventory as well. Since each business owner has their own personal preference, I recommend this article that may help you make the best decision for yourself on what system to purchase.

Once you get this system in place, it can help you determine your reorder point and the amount of stock you want to keep on hand. Knowledge is power, and the more quality data you have on your inventory can save you time and money.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.