Why buying local is the best Christmas present.

Nowhere else in the world is this be a more appropriate celebration than in New Zealand.

In days gone by, heavy industry would be the winner here.

Nowadays that’s changed.

The industrial economy is over.

For many reasons, that’s a good thing.

Heavy industry relies on humans behaving like cogs in a wheel. Heavy industry suppresses the earning potential of the workforce.

But the heavy industry also provided good jobs, with health benefits and a way to stop working at age 65.

As industrial jobs disappear, so do the securities they carried.

The only ones who can fill that vacuum; creating jobs, filling vacant buildings and pushing the economy forward, are entrepreneurs.

 

Here’s why you should care.

 

New Zealand is built on small business:

• 97 per cent (487,602) of all enterprises are small businesses

• 29 per cent (599,880) of people are employed by businesses with 20 or fewer employees.

• 26 per cent of New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product

• 42% of new jobs in the year ending 2015 came from small business.

 

– Your kid will probably work for a local entrepreneur or become an entrepreneur themselves.

– Local entrepreneurs give more to local charities.

– Local entrepreneurs support other local entrepreneurs, creating a cascading effect.

– Small businesses pay more in local taxes than you do.

– Small business owners pay their staff far more than they pay themselves.

– Small business pulls money INTO your city. Big business pulls it OUT.

– Small business creates sixteen TIMES more patents than large business does.

 

That means more innovation, more future security, and more jobs.

 

But the real reason: the local business owner has probably been up since 5am, getting ready to serve you.

They’ll probably still be going after you’ve had your dinner. They probably make less than you – for now – and they’re probably wondering if they’ll still be open in twelve months.

The city your kids will inherit, and the opportunities presented to them, depend on the success of your local small businesses.

After the craziness of 2020, there’s never been a better time to get behind local businesses.

 

Here’s how to support them:

 

Choose to support local service industries. I don’t say “buy local” because paying twice as much for milk doesn’t make sense to anyone. But signing up for local services, like gyms and dentists and lawyers, makes a huge difference. Franchisees are local too – you don’t have to stop visiting McDonald’s or Subway’s – but corporate-owned stores like Starbucks pull money out of town.

 

Decline their discounts. Most small-business owners will surrender a discount if you ask for one. Don’t. They’ll discount themselves to death, because they think they’re helping a friend. If you ask for a discount, you’re not being a friend; you’re taking advantage. I challenge you to go in the other direction and decline a discount when it’s offered.

 

Forgive their mistakes. Big companies screw up all the time, but they make their mistakes in other cities, and then teach their staff how to avoid making the same mistake in the future. Local entrepreneurs have to make all of their mistakes on local people. A personalized experience means you’re dealing with a person. And people screw up. But people can also make it up to you.

 

Tell your friends. Small businesses depend on referrals for growth.

 

Take them a coffee. They need it. A perfect place to start here is our new neighbour, Forage Merchants of Wellington. Guy and the team have put together a wonderful selection of local produce in one place at 46a Victoria Street in Alicetown, so head in and check out some of their great NZ made treats. You can even get that coffee for your favourite small business owner while you’re there.

 

No one’s asking for charity here. Some businesses deserve to be successful, and some don’t.

 

But there’s a lot on the line: if you don’t want your kids to be packing their bags for Australia, or losing their jobs to China, you need to support the people who will keep them employed locally.

 

Thank you, thank you, to our customers and clients!

 

We care about you, too.

 

Cheers!

Paul and the Ignite Team

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