National Independent Retailer Week is happening now, July 17-23. This observance was established by Clare Rayner, author and retail expert, as a way to weave communities with local retailers to accomplish one goal: keep money local.
As a Minority Woman Business Enterprise (MWBE), I’ll admit, it’s common to focus most of our attention on trying to do business with government. In the process though, it’s easy to forget about the direct impact we can have on our communities by partnering with small businesses.
One of the simplest ways to do that is to outsource to small businesses, or purchase or contract with them. It throws business their way and helps your operations run smoothly, too.
According to IndieRetailerMonth.com:
Buying from an independent retailer supports local traders, their suppliers, and the people they depend on to run their businesses. Doing business with an independent retailer boosts the local economy, rebuilding confidence in the community, enabling local businesses to prosper and grow.
A dollar spent at an independent retailer is usually spent 6 to 15 times before it leaves the community.
From $1, you create $5 to $14 in value within that community. When you spend $1 at a national chain store, 80% of the money leaves town immediately. When you shop with your local independent retailers you are doing your bit to keep your community ‘open for business’.
Here are five tips to invest in your community through outsourcing:
#1) Know Your Niche and Hold Onto It: When outsourcing, you want to invest in a business that can accomplish tasks as well as you do—but you don’t want to give away the work you’re best at. Identify what you’re good at and hold tight to it, you don’t want to outsource any of your core competency areas. There are so many things that go into running a successful business, and the beauty of it is you don’t need to be a master at every single factor. Make one list of the aspects that you’ve got a firm handle on, and another list outlining anything you struggle with, then consider small businesses in your area that you could outsource those tasks to.
#2) Be Clear About the Outcomes: One of the best ways to keep your outsourcing in check is to be direct about what you expect. Make sure the business you choose knows exactly what tasks they’re responsible for, how they should be performed, what results you’re looking for, and how those results will be measured. It may help to create a manual that reviews your business policies and procedures, that way, you have a physical outline and structure of what you expect from your outsourced companies.
#3) Recognize Your Style and Your Strategy: Before you can effectively manage a team of outsourced companies, you must understand your management style. Are you direct and to the point? Do you prefer to chat over email instead of in person? Many factors determine the kind of management style you have and understanding how you operate will be beneficial to the success of your outsourcing projects.
#4) First Things First—Check Credentials: Before you hire anyone to join your team, take a peek at their credentials. A lot of businesses build glitzy websites and market themselves well, but don’t have the experience or know-how to backup their claims. Look for key factors, such as professional certifications and legitimate testimonials. Fact check the results they have achieved for other clients.
#5) Develop a Communication Strategy: Let’s face it, you’re a busy entrepreneur. Outsourcing is one of the best ways to free up your time, but before you start assigning tasks, remember to first develop a top-notch communication strategy. Establish the best way to communicate and how often. Make sure all communication is well-documented and in line with your strategy style (see tip #3).
As small business owners ourselves, it’s important to invest in the small businesses within our communities. Do you like these quick tips? Sign up for our #MWBEsuccess newsletter here for free small business guides to grow your business!