All over the world, mankind is staying at home as much as possible to avoid contracting the deadly COVID. Economies are thus failing, as there is a sharp fall in the demand for goods and services. The worst hit are the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. These businesses rely greatly on short-term cash flow for smooth operations. India’s economy too has to a standstill ever since the lockdown was imposed.
The majority of the Indian population is in the middle age group who are earning and trying to make ends meet. Many of them work in the unorganized sector. When demands tweak even a little, they get affected to such extents where they have to shut down their businesses.
India also is home to many manufacturers. Think of it this way, if you are looking for a high-end imported product, you will surely find the local version of it if you look around.
This adds to the problems COVID has brought for economies around the world. Such businesses are the backbone of one’s economy. They provide to the masses.
In case you still wonder why it’s important for us as citizens to support local businesses:
In distressful times like these when the world is amidst a global pandemic, a true citizen’s endeavor should be to support their country and its own brands. Especially those who have been hit the worst because of their small sizes.
Lakhs and crores of people have been left unemployed.
Small startups who catered to niches do not have enough demand to cater to and continue running their businesses. It is more profitable to exit from the market than continue operations, as they are unable to even cover costs.
A country becomes powerful truly when its people opt for local over imported. When the government too encourages them to manufacture and sell locally, entrepreneurship flourishes.
Moreover, as local entrepreneurs begin to earn well, they further create opportunities for others to get employed and this way the government’s tax revenues rise as well. Higher tax earning by the government enables the citizens to live a quality life as the country develops.
Locally sourced products are generally healthier alternatives to those, which come from established houses since they are produced in smaller batches with equal attention. Moreover, a cup of tea from the nearby tea stall will give you more satisfaction than an overpriced commercialized cup.
India is also home to several cultures. Ours, being a diverse nation, every corner of the country houses a new and rich heritage and culture. These are worth giving a try and embracing. As you support your local businesses you also create a public identity for your culture.
Countries have seen many such crises but the current one is such that, markets in one country affect another due to increased globalization.
More than an obligation it should be our duty to help entrepreneurs of our country.
One must have come across the video that went viral, shot by Gaurav Wasan about Baba ka Dhaba, a small food stall in the Shivalik Colony, New Delhi. The turnout to support Baba was impressive, but he is not alone. Such vendors dot every lane of our country. He along with thousands of people in a situation like his, therefore, need our help.
Following are a few ways, we can do our bit to help local businesses sustain and get through this crisis:
Exploring and trying local options
Instead of relying on solely big brand names, people must explore what the locals have to offer. It would come as a surprise to you when you leave your home looking for a local alternative to something you would have bought from a brand, and find an equally good option which, to add to the treat, would also be inexpensive. For instance, choose a local furniture seller over a big branded showroom.
Creating awareness through social media
You can support local startups by sharing your experiences with a local business on your social media handles and reviewing them on platforms like Google Business. Testimonials truly help in building images of entrepreneurs who are lesser known. For example, when you eat at a not-so-fancy local eatery, you can always share your experience with your followers on social media.
Share your feedback with the business
Feedbacks help businesses improve their offerings. This way they can improve the quality to make sure their customers are satisfied. Second, or third business owners run many small businesses. It becomes difficult to upkeep the same quality over generations. Reviews hence help them rectify deviations. If the business owner is open to change around him, he would surely adapt. Adapting to the constant changes around us is the only way to sustain it.
Avoid bargaining and pay what they deserve
If your affordability is higher than that of the business’s usual customers, and you seek a better quality product or service, you can always pay extra over the price and get it made according to your liking. This way, it is a win-win for both the customer and the entrepreneur. The customer leaves satisfied and the owner earns a little above his expected margin.
Our efforts must not stop at these. In order to be truly independent, we must discourage reliance on only big establishments, specifically those, which are international and help our locals grow and flourish.