April 8, 2018
Five ways to keep the Small Business Revolution momentum going
Whether your small town was in the running for Small Business Revolution – Main Street, or not, it’s important to understand some ways you can help your town gain momentum for your Main Street and its businesses. We’ve put together a list of five ways to help start (or keep) the Small Business Revolution momentum going in your town.
1. Connect with downtown organizations
Many small (and large) towns have downtown Main Street organizations, as well as local chapters of Chamber of Commerce and other local-level business organizations leading revitalization efforts and driving the community forward. Connecting with these groups is vital if you want to stay informed, whether that means following their social media channels, attending local events or even reaching out to see if they need volunteers. Many times, leaders from these organizations are the ones nominating their towns for the Small Business Revolution – Main Street series and other growth and grant opportunities.
2. Attend and share updates from events in your downtown area
In conjunction with connecting with downtown organizations, it is also important to attend and share updates from those events. Being an advocate for your town by sharing, versus passively knowing what is happening in the area, can help you not only be a better supporter for your town, but also help you have a better idea on how and where you can help to continue to move small business forward in your community.
3. Support small businesses and review them online
The Small Business Revolution stresses that small businesses are the lifeblood of small towns, and that statement couldn’t be truer. Visiting and supporting small businesses in your town is the key to their success. We all have instances where we need to make a purchase, whether that be gifts for people, places to gather for special occasions or products and services for our own personal use. What better place to find those than at a small business in your town? Deluxe cares so much about supporting small businesses that we even created an event called “Shop Local” where a small town is selected near one of our offices where nearly 400 employees spend an evening to go and “shop local,” supporting the small businesses in that town. Having this event around the holiday’s makes it timely for gift shopping and provides people with an opportunity to visit stores outside of the traditional mall environment.
In addition to shopping, reviewing a business online once you’ve visited is even more important. Posting photos and adding a review only helps the business get more people there. If someone is looking for a restaurant and see it has some great reviews with even better photos, people will be more likely to visit. And on top of that, may be more likely to visit other small businesses in the process. Never underestimate the power of a good review!
4. Volunteer your time and expertise
A community is stronger when more people are involved. Each year we’ve held our “Main Street” contest we’ve seen the most success (even from towns who don’t win) when the sense of community is alive and growing. Especially when it’s a broader group of people working together, and not just the same 10 people doing all the work. It takes a village to enhance your community and that is apparent, especially in a small town. If only a few people are willing to work to improve your town and your businesses, then chances are it won’t gain the momentum it needs to succeed.
5. Town leaders across organizations should partner and stay in sync
In seasons one and two in Wabash, Indiana and Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania, we saw town leaders working in conjunction with local organizations. Wabash town leaders worked well with Visit Wabash, their tourism and economic development organization as well as other downtown revitalization groups and nonprofits in the area. In Bristol Borough, their town leaders work directly with an organization called Raising the Bar, which helps to bring about change in the business community in Bristol. When organizations work together, not only can some amazing things happen, but the chances of more people being excited about it is greater when a lot of people are involved.