The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Small but mighty: Local businesses serve as heartbeat of community

December 19, 2017

Small and local businesses, though commonly overlooked, act as a core tenet to the community and fill a void that most any other corporate organization cannot fill. Local businesses both manufacture products and provide services for the community, which provides entrepreneurs with a sense of importance, leadership, and community. Local businesses provide deep connections in communities that corporations and big box stores and companies simply just cannot make.

“What always inspired me most to manage my businesses was financial independence and the freedom to be my own boss and leverage my own time,” 30-year Kennesaw entrepreneur and small business owner Kristi Vinson said.  

Entrepreneurs, the founders and managers of small business, specialize in creating a special niche in their individual towns and cities, and if successful, provide local consumers with quality output and a chance to give back to their community. Driven by independence and success, entrepreneurs set out on a mission to meet their goals and aspirations for themselves.

Sky Vinson
Information gathered from sources, including Forbes Magazine.

Entrepreneurs act as leaders that directly affect the flow of their communities and networks. Certain individuals operate on the idea to ‘stick it to the man’ and bite at the ankles of corporate America, while others, however, work simply to carve out a path of success for themselves and their families.

“Honestly [competing with corporate business] never really comes to mind for me. I live with the conviction that whatever I do, I should be doing my absolute best work,” local entrepreneur and owner of Kennesaw Coffee Co., Dr. Jon Spellman said.

Recognized or not, small businesses and entrepreneurs make the community much stronger than what meets the eye. Small businesses provide a root system to form the basis of competition and future business leaders on. They provide a chance for a hometown leader with an idea and an investment jump in the same conversation with the big dogs. They offer entrepreneurs a chance to upgrade social and economic classes, creating opportunities and opening doors for their families and communities that would likely never otherwise open up.

As expected, a number of downsides to entrepreneurship commonly reveal themselves, affecting the community and business leaders alike.

“It’s a double-edged sword, being able to be your own boss. The buck stops there when problems arise, and there’s no ladder to go up. It’s all you,” Vinson said.

Entrepreneurs carry their businesses and obligations with a great deal of responsibility, not only to the community, but to themselves and their families.

“There is a lot riding on the work I do, not just for me, but for a lot of other folks as well,” Dr. Spellman said.

In order to keep small business alive, while seemingly obvious, consumers must support their local entrepreneurs. Making simple, even potentially cost-effective decisions, such as buying a morning cup of joe at the new coffee bar instead of the Starbucks down the road, or choosing the new pizza place for dinner instead of calling in from Domino’s or Papa John’s, supports local industry while receiving a personal, non-corporate touch. Patronizing local entrepreneurs can give back to the community in a major way, helping local business to grow and maybe even end up better than its corporate counterpart.

Large, corporate businesses, while certainly proving beneficial by bringing products and services into urban, suburban, and rural communities that may not otherwise receive access, also reveal themselves as detrimental when compared to beloved small and local business. Corporations run on the idea of planting their franchise, selling their products or services, and sending the cash back to their national, frequently international, corporate businessmen. Small and local businesses, on the other hand, cannot relate to such a situation. Local entrepreneurs operate to make a living for themselves, maintain the success their business, and give back to their communities in a number of ways.

“The ability to patronize one another gives you a more personal and direct contact, as well as a sense of community when you operate conducting your business locally. It gives you a chance to keep your finger on the pulse of the community and interact on a more personal level as you grow your business. Operating your business in your own community gives you more of an incentive to give back to your own community,” Vinson said.   

Sky Vinson
Keeping small business prevalent in communities also allows for inspiration from current entrepreneurs that simply need a push, to future generations of entrepreneurs that will have a model to shoot for the stars and aim for. To provide a successful inspiration for interested learners holds a chance to prove itself successful down the road. Inspiration for emerging entrepreneurs comes from a number of different directions, while a select few individuals start off seemingly born with it.

“It just seems to run in my blood. In my 30 years of business and ministry, there have only been about 4 years when I worked ‘for’ an organization where I received a W-2 at the end of the year,” Dr. Spellman said.

Inspiring and educating future business leaders and founders carves a legacy of success for a community, guaranteeing a bright future of economic growth and expansion.

Surprisingly, local businesses can prove themselves more successful than larger, competing counterparts. For “Mom & Pop” businesses that lead a legacy of presence and success in a community,  similar corporations moving into their territory simply cannot gain enough sensible traction to upkeep business in that location. Seasoned consumers know that when a local entrepreneur makes a quality product or service available, spending those few extra dollars or driving those few extra miles to patronize the business ends up worth it in the end.

Small and local businesses, time and time again, reveal themselves as valuable assets to any community that any big box or corporate machine cannot replace. From a more personal, relatable touch, to better quality products and services at a typically comparable or cheaper price, small businesses prove extremely valuable to a community, which community members should protect and patronize at all possible costs.

“Local/private industry has a unique capacity for creativity, to reflect the lives and passions of a community in a way that large corporations or public-sector industry are just incapable of doing. No fault of their own, they just aren’t built that way. Nowhere is the adage “The rising tide causes all boats to float higher” found to be more true than in small/local industry. I believe that we can measure the vitality of a community by looking into the vitality of its local business community,” Dr. Spellman said.

The impact of local businesses in a community continues to prove itself immeasurable. The results, while not only extremely beneficial at any current given time, spark an exponential legacy of industry growth and development that a corporation or organization cannot provide. Small businesses, while commonly overlooked, matter and show themselves more relevant and valuable now than ever before. Entrepreneurs, the true heroes of local communities, should continue to expand, grow, and demonstrate a legacy of success for future businesses to come.

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