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140 conference smalltown 2011

"We Teach Them to Drive"

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"How the Internet is like a Small Town"
...Twitter is coffee shop of the world... the whole world can now know about the good or bad thing you did just like it's always happened at the small town coffee shop.

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Shopping local... There's 2 sides to it...

Who doesn't like a good shop local campaign... you gotta be some kinda jerkface to not think that at least some effort to keep your money in your home community is a good idea.

Here in Hutchinson, Ks we have a pretty cool campaign called "The H Factor" its exactly what it should be... just a little top of mind awareness campaign that doesn't cost the chamber a fortune and makes folks give it a second thought when they are exposed to it. Good stuff!!!

Lotsa communities have them... they are great ideas as long as they aren't a burden on budgets or time constraints.

Ok... today on facebook Marci Penner (whose a serious ass-kicker... really there's very few people in the world as passionate and productive) posted a this as a status:

"I just came from a local business. What hurts this businessperson most is that just one or two on the chamber or city council ever does business with him. If you're in a leadership position in your community, please do as much business locally as you can. It really makes a difference to these folks. They notice."


She is dead right... it has to be a focus and community leaders have to have it at the top of their minds so it trickles down from their actions to others.

I already said I like shop local campaigns, right? I do!

But there's 2 sides to this story and the other one gets dealt with very, very little.

The local merchants have to make an effort to get people to spend their money in local businesses. Don't come back at me with "I am a local merchant and I bust my ass to get people to shop here... " I don't doubt it... but one side to this issue is... a lot of them, don't, they just fall back on blaming the internet and the "Big City" for destroying small town local shopping.

Let's look at reasons folks shop elsewhere when they live in a smaller town:

1. Selection: Some of the time this can't be solved by small town merchants... if it can solve it.. if not embrace this characteristic. Folks in other towns want more selection too... (they always will, even if they live in NYC) ... Communicate with them what you got.

2. Price: Not always solvable by small biz either... but you can make an effort to be competitive... If you don't, you will go out of business all the while screaming... "Noone cares about local merchants anymore!!!" It's not that NOONE cares... ( some don't I agree, but some do) but most aren't wealthy enough to pay for over-priced goods/services... you can also solve pricing issues ALOT of times with service. "Yeah we may not be able to build your website for the same price as that company in India... but when the site has issues... well... here's my cell phone number" <--- That's works... I promise.

3. Boredom: Some folks just wanna get outta town... again quit bitchin about it... you can't change it, get the folks from 2 towns over to come give you their money... you gotta let 'em know you exist... there's a website on the internets called Facebook... their on there, go tell 'em, it's free.

4. Lack of communication: This is the biggie! Folks are communicating and getting their info on everything in a million different ways... if you aren't communicating with them, where they are at... they don't know you exist. I know someone just went ... a) "I don't have time for that facetube mumbo jumbo" - ok sounds good, I am gonna open a business in direct competition with you. b) "There's to many things on the internet for me to figure out how to do" - did you figure out how to run the credit card machine? Its more complicated and it will produce less new money for you. I guarantee you over 50 % of the businesses I see fail... the main reason they are dead is lack of communicating there existence.

Ok... if you made it this far...

Please don't think I don't like the idea of shop local campaigns... I love them and support them, I think more people need to conscious support the neighbors in lotsa ways... I just don't think its the complete solution.

Thanks.

.





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