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Shop Small: A Small Business Woman's Very Short Manifesto-ish

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We are all familiar with the phrase 'shop small,' but what does it really mean? Despite the connotation, this phrase wasn't invented by hipsters with more money than sense. It's for a group of (arguably crazy) people who took a leap of faith and are following a dream.

I know, I know. Life isn't all unicorns and rainbows, and we don't always get exactly what we want. However, what differentiates a small business owner from a fool is the passion they carry for what they do. The decision to build a small business is not made lightly. These people are perfectly rational people who believe so deeply in what they do that they believe in their heart of hearts that the risk of leaving a steady paycheck is worth every worry to share their passion with the world.

Often times, it's hard to support small businesses because they aren't always the cheapest option. Price and value do not always have a direct relationship. That is a battle that many small business owners fight every waking minute. This doesn't happen because small business owners are greedy. It happens because small business owners can't get the same discounts as big box stores simply because they don't have the volume (or often the space) to support those quantities. For small businesses, prices often reflect that even though most times the owner pays himself or herself dead last... or not at all. However, the quality you receive is light years beyond what the big box stores can provide. THAT is why small business owners strive to fight another day. You can't put a price on the joy that sharing your passion provides.

You may be saying, "Okay, so that's great and all, but how can I help support small businesses?"

You can buy their products, of course. I would be willing to say that 100% of small business owners do a little dance on the inside for every. single. purchase. You don't even have to buy their products all the time. Every single purchase, great or small, is treasured. Not to mention, it feeds into the local economy, and ultimately the community's greater good.

"That's obvious. What if I can't afford to regularly purchase or even purchase at all?"

Check out the business. Even if you aren't a customer, you can still tell people about your experience with the staff, what the product was like, and share that experience with people who might be in the market for whatever is provided. The truth is, you don't have to shop small to 'shop small.' Your word of mouth will help a small business owner more than any amount of paid advertising.

So, next time you see someone sounding the battle cry to shop small, think about the small business owners you know, and try not to be annoyed by the hipsters delivering the message. Shopping small benefits real people and real families.

And we, the small business owners? Well, we believe that what we have to offer can benefit you too. I may be a little biased, though.


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