Learn the reasons why you should support homegrown independent businesses, particularly in small towns around Malaysia.
The economy is mostly talked about in the general sense these days. The rise in the cost of living, the effects of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the price index, stagnant wages and the value of the ringgit not being what it used to be.
However, it is the local economy that can become a catalyst. As of last year, 97% of the country’s economy is driven by SMEs, accounting for 65% of the country’s employment. It drives communities to create economic activities for mutual benefits and expand the scope of businesses in small towns as well.
Small shops add colour and character to an area.
Here are seven reasons for supporting local businesses:
#1 Good for the local economy
Small businesses thrive when more people buy from them. This will also ensure a chain reaction in the area they live in. For example, if you buy from a trader, he will use the profit from the income he derived to buy what he needs, such as going for a drink at a coffee shop in the area.
#2 Better quality of service
If you feel that small businesses care more about their customers, it’s most probably true. They can afford to make their services more personalized and attentive as they know that every visitor counts in order to ensure that people will become repeat customers so that their businesses will thrive.
#3 A support system for local entrepreneurs
Small businesses tend to start small, and will often struggle initially. This means that they will rely on local folks to grow. Besides providing a source of customers, these networks act as a group where they can exchange information and knowledge as well as resources.
It's easier to find rare goods at smaller establishments.
#4 Shops are more unique
The streets in Malaysia’s small towns are often filled with shops that have almost disappeared in the cities. Where else can you get curios such as rare salted fishes, uncommon fruits, or olde worlde garments?
#5 Create local jobs
While it’s true that bigger and better-paying jobs are available in the cities, not everyone can uproot themselves from the countryside or towns. Someone has to be there to maintain old buildings, care for their old folks and have enough open space for planting cash crops. And these people will have to get their provisions nearby, hence creating a market for the businesses and employment in these areas.
Services at small outlets are more personalized.
#6 Better shopping experience
Large shopping malls tend to be crowded and cater to those who are happy with established brands. Furthermore, one will usually have to navigate through jams in city centres and struggle for a parking spot. Small businesses provide a more independent shopping experience and goods are based on customers’ choices. And there’s less hassle to get to these small shops, making the experience less stressful.
#7 It’s a lot of fun!
Imagine walking down a quiet street in a far-off township when you come across a quaint café or antique shop. Such novel experiences are hard to come by in bigger cities where malls rule. And with less crowd, your interaction with local shop owners are more meaningful and personal. Sometimes, you can bargain and get more value for money too!
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