I was at an event recently put on by a gentleman who has been doing these types of events are almost forty years. Because of the changes in that his business, he had to change how he hosted those events. I talked to him at last year’s event, and we talked about how his expenses were going up making it harder for him to continue putting on events. I made some suggestions about how he could reduce overall costs and still continue an event our community looks forward to every year. One of the things he said as we talked was, “Yes, I need to change how I get my supplies, but I don’t want to change who I get them from.” The thing that we were talking about is loyalty.
Are you loyal to your vendors? Or are you loyal to a price? With the change in how we shop, it has become very easy to go online and find the item you’re looking for at a reduced price. But is that benefiting your community? One of the people speaking at my uncle’s funeral years ago told a story about him I had never heard. Apparently, my uncle never purchased anything from elsewhere if it was available in the town he lived in. He spent the majority of his working years in education and felt that he owed something to the community that paid his wages. Even though he lived in a small community with slightly higher prices on what his family needed to survive, he purchased everything he could there regardless of the cost.
Both of these stories say something about loyalty. Loyalty is something that has seemingly disappeared in our everyday habits. But if you go back and look at your customers and your suppliers, are you really helping them out by purchasing from the Internet. I would love to say that I’m not guilty of shopping online because I have, but I try to find what I’m looking for in a local business first.
I’m in a networking group with a gentleman who refuses to shop at the big-box stores to purchase groceries. Just like my uncle, he feels that he should be supporting the small local stores over the national corporations. The people who own those local stores are his customers and so you want to support them. He wants to keep them in business because they will help him stay in business too.
Before your spending your hard-earned dollars someplace else, whether it’s online or some national big-box store, take a moment and think about. Is it worth saving a few pennies, while you sacrifice jobs of people who may be your customers?