The industrial economy is over.

For many reasons, that’s a good thing. Heavy industry is a big polluter. Heavy industry relies on humans behaving like cogs in a wheel. Heavy industry suppresses the earning potential of the workforce. But 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–is entrepreneurs. Today, “Small-business Saturday”, is their day. Here’s why you should care.

Everyday in Ireland, 700,000 people go to work in small firms.
25,000 new jobs were created in Ireland by small businesses in 2018.
In her end of year statement, Chair of the Small Firms Association (SFA), Sue O’Neill said, “The SFA has a vision of Ireland as the most vibrant small business community in the world, supporting entrepreneurship, valuing small business and rewarding risk takers. With a strong Government focus on tax reform and competitiveness, Ireland’s 245,000 small businesses can create 25,000 new jobs in 2018, reinvigorate towns and villages around the country and make a significant contribution to the Irish economy.”

 

 

70% of new jobs come from small business in the Ireland. These trends are rising.

 

  • Your child 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 town. Big business typically 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 town your kids will inherit, and the opportunities presented to them, depend on the success of your local small 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 solicitors, makes a huge difference. Franchisees are local too–you don’t have to stop visiting these –but corporate-owned places like Starbucks pull money out of town.

 

 

Be nice to their staff. One of the hardest parts of owning a business is creating meaningful careers for your staff.

When people like their jobs and earn enough money, they stay. They keep their kids in local schools and local sports; drive better cars; keep their world clean and act like responsible citizens. Be nice to the front-line worker.

Decline their discounts. (I have another piece written about service business offering discounts and how it doesn’t make economical sense).

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 countries, cities and towns, 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 personalised experience means you’re dealing with a person. And people mess 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.

 

 

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 labeling boxes for Amazon 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.