Small businesses are the heartbeat of local communities — the lifeblood of these microeconomies. Due to the concerns over the global crisis, it is small businesses that have taken the toughest blow. We partnered with Nextdoor Canada on a three-part webinar series featuring conversations with business owners and industry experts from across the country.
The first webinar is hosted by Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar, in this 45-minute session you’ll hear from local businesses and community leaders on how they have harnessed power of the neighbourhood to support and grow their businesses:
Learn tips from business owners and industry experts on how to navigate the unique challenges local businesses currently face.
Why is Small Business So Important?
While there are several reasons why small businesses are important to local communities, there are two reasons that specifically stand out.
Increase the Economic Health of a Community
Local small businesses have a tendency to support other small local businesses. For instance, the local restaurant might need a cleaning service, a CPA, and a lawyer. Usually, small businesses stick together —the local cleaning company, accountant firm, and legal office deliberately assists the local diner to keep the local economy thriving. Boosting local businesses — sometimes, these small business owners are friends or neighbours — creates strong bonds. All involved realize their money is staying local and not getting sent to pad the pockets of a corporation.
Keeping the local businesses afloat also means more jobs are created — and remain — right in your town. The local employees tend to spend their money locally, too, keeping the economic cycle in firm motion. Between 2003 and 2018, small businesses in Canada created over 85% of all new positions.
Small business has the unique quality of sustaining a community economy, making it less reliant on the quirks of Canadian trends.
Encourage Entrepreneurship, Which Keeps Small Business Alive
When the entrepreneurial-minded individuals in your community see the success of small business, they’re inspired to make that leap to become small business owners themselves. It can be downright scary, of course — but starting a small business is a way to take charge of your future. Is now the right time? Perhaps it is.
The lending institution in your community might have a favourable loan for small businesses, especially in this current global climate. But perhaps it’s the current small business owners who do the most for small business because they show that, no matter how tough times get, it’s still possible to succeed.
What’s Happened to Main Street?
Around the globe, the current climate of business is one in which people are home — even for work. Eating out and shopping in-store aren’t favourable activities currently, posing challenges for businesses of all sizes, but especially for small businesses. Trade shows have been cancelled. Art galleries are closed. But these unique challenges have also created rare opportunities for local business to not only survive, but to thrive.
Canadian small business has been harmed greatly. Some of the challenges facing small businesses include:
- The shift from physical business to online.
- Not all businesses can be online — think dog groomers or massage therapists.
- It is tougher for small businesses to contribute to community events or organize like before.
The social aspect of shopping local has been lost, leading to the loss of a sense of community. If stores are empty — the “life” of the community is also lost.
Even with these mounting challenges, small businesses in Canada still have incredible opportunities to make this new normal work. For instance:
- Revisit your marketing and website content
- Promote your business from a new perspective
- Assist in the beautification of a neighbourhood street
- Team up with TABIA or one of the many Business Improvement Agencies across Canada
- Share your ideas with other local business owners
- Reach out as a community member and do mental health wellness checks on friends and neighbors
You Can Survive… And Thrive!
This is your chance to pivot and come back even stronger than you were before.