Saturday, 26 June 2010

Supporting Independent and Small Business

Following the Essence chat, I think that I need to put words into action.  I think that large businesses with hefty advertising budgets will continue to dominate the media. The truth is I am an ardent supporter of many large businesses because they employ scientists and test their products.

I however do not think that independent and small businesses should suffer as a result. Many hair businesses are based on curlies fine tuning products to their liking and this too is valuable research. I doubt than any small business is competing with P&G (maker of herbal essences). They simply do not have the money to compete or ability to reach customers.

However every business has its niche market that it can appeal to and which can help it grow. So here are a few ideas I have

1. Do you buy any hair products or accessories (or anything hair related) from a small business - if so and also if not  please participate in the polls to the right! Comment and let us know good and bad.

2. Are you a small business owner? How do you get the word out about your business? What help would you like or are you satisfied with your business model? Comment or send me an email.

Just as a note: As small businesses rely on small customer numbers, any negative reviews will be published only after the owner is contacted for comment (i.e the owner given a right of reply).

19 comments:

  1. what a great article! I support mainly small businesses especially by women because I believe in their dreams too. It also rewarding to know where my money is going instead of a big corporation.
    Nonetheless, I am also a big believer that people should use what works for them :)

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  2. I'm all for supporting small businesses and black owned businesses. I have had good experiences with these transactions.

    I am a small business owner. I design and create accessories. I don't have a lot of money so I get creative with advertising in ways that don't cost me money. Whenever I go out, I make sure I'm wearing earrings I've made so when I get compliments, I can give those interested a business card. I have my friends wearing some of my earrings as well and give them cards to hand out if someone inquires. Lol. I also advertise on my blog, other blogs have featured my accessories and thru Twitter. My main strategy involves simple word of mouth until I have the dollars to do more.

    I'd like to get a pair of my earrings on Oprah. Lol.

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  3. Amina you are definitely the biggest supporter of small business that I have ever seen on the net! I love that principle - you know where your money is going!

    Thanks for the comment Milan. I agree word of mouth is a common main first strategy until you can make enough capital to be more visible.

    MBLS - I actually would not class Carol's Daughter as a small or independent business. They received a reported $10 million dollar (could be more) investment from Will, Jada and Jay Z amongst others. The company is therefore not really independent any more given others own a stake in it.

    To me small business means turn over of less that 3-4 million dollars ( 2 million pounds in UK).

    Carol's daughter has the ability to advertise in national press (e.g essence). It is no slight on Carol's daughter, their marketing strategy from the grassroot level worked and they are definitely a business model worth studying and emulating.

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  4. I wouldn't mind buying from a small business if I got a review from someone else or maybe a blog. Wouldn't want to spend my money and be disappointed.

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  5. I hear you Lady X! (I am working on some suggestions, I promise I will update soon!)

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  6. I do try to support small businesses, but 9:10 I can barely afford to buy and ship their products. I'm a full time student and I need to spend my money on things like books, supplies and food. If I could drop 16+ + shipping (which usually ranges 4-12) + tax (which varies depending on where I live) on stuff I need/want I'd do it in a heartbeat. Especially because the ingredients in these small business products tend to work BETTER for my hair.

    Most sales don't cover shipping either. So even if I'm getting a steal (2 for one! 25% off EVERYTHING!) unless there is a shipping code hidden in there, I usually PAY THE DIFFERENCE in shipping costs and tax. ;___;

    Alice
    http://diaryofakinkycurlytransitioner.wordpress.com/

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  7. Great comment Alice. I am taking it all in and I know that there are small businesses out there too who will hear you!

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  8. I love, love, love to buy from small businesses. I get extra excited when the business supports economic development through fair trade or cooperatives, or contributes aid to projects that help women and children. It gives me a little thrill to know that buying hair moisturizer can help a child get a bicycle so he can get to school, or helps a woman get surgery to repair obstetric fistula. I'm sure many large companies contribute to the developing world, but there is something so intimate about the way small business go about it.

    I love the creativity, artistry, and flexibility that small companies bring to crafting product. For me, those factors outweigh the potential issues like supply problems, limited distribution, or long waits for orders.

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  9. Wow Katie, I need to learn to be patient lol! I am a pretty fussy customer, I want my order done and completed according to the advertised schedule or else. I definitely think that as a child from a developing country (Kenya), I should perhaps consider all the things you said!

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  10. Thanks to you for this post! I have always tried to support small businesses from everything from restaurants to hair and skincare. To small businesses, reputation is everything, so I find that the owners go above and beyond to ensure that the quality of their product/service is superb.

    I get a lot of recommendations from etsy and sites like yours. ;-) People also leave suggestions and reviews of products they have tried on my own blog as well, which I love!

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  11. aaw..thank you for your kind words :)I also agree with what everyone has been saying especially Agirlcanmac and Katie. I've received packages where the packaging was so beautiful and creative. Shoot, I even kept the wrappers!! and I am allergic to citrus oils and some vendors don't mind customize the product by not including the citrus oil to my product. I am so grateful for that.
    I also love businesses who donate 2-5% of your order to programes that empower others. Anita Grant and Akua Wood do that which is why I don't mind ordering all the way from UK.

    I also understand how frustrating it is to wait for 2-3 weeks to get your order and not return,not having a sample to smell (like when you go to the Beauty Supply Store) and using it up within a specific time period. But for me the pros outweight the cons especially during the holidays season when there are cuute sets

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  12. I love supporting small and black owned businesses, however, I must be satisfied with my transaction.

    I buy alot from etsy, some products work, some don't. Those that do I continue to buy and those that don't I keep an open mind as I know what may or may not work for me may work for someone else.

    There are some larger companies who have changed formulas and prices when they have "made it" and instead of feeling as though I am empowering a business I end up feeling cheated.

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  13. I prefer to support small businesses, because I feel like it's important to help those who are trying to strike out on their own and not be dependent on someone else's company to live.

    I'm also a small business owner. I have an online hair product store. My budget is very limited for advertising. I do the majority of my advertising on blogs. I sometimes wear a t-shirt with my company name on it, and I try to make sure my hair is always looking good, so when someone asks me about it, I can tell them what products I use and where they can buy them (from me of course). I also put flyers in gym locker rooms, and take them with me everywhere I go and pass them out randomly. I'm also on Facebook, but I don't do the daily posts like a lot of businesses do. I do a product giveaway on the Facebook page every month, and I sponsor giveaways on blogs.

    I would love ideas on how to reach my target market with a limited budget.

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  14. Oh wow Glammourgirl thanks for contributing. I have seen previous giveaways on blogs for your site (nice graphics btw!). I definitely have some more ideas up my sleeve so do stay tuned!

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  15. I definitely support small businesses. I feel as though these small business (and I'm talking specifically about hair products and accessories) are more knowledgeable about their formulations and you can ask questions and [more often than not] you'll get a response. These entrepreneurs are relateable and accessible and these two factors weigh heavily in my decision making process.

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  16. Hey, in your poll about why I've never bought products from a small company, you left out a big one, which is my reason....I can't afford them. As a college curly on MAJOR financial aid, I spend about 7-10 dollars on products every two months or more (hello hydration and a large shipment of shea butter straight from nigeria)

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  17. Great points, thanks natural selection.

    Thanks for the input LovintheBlessin - I did not actually consult anyone when I made the poll and I can definitely see that for college curlies like yourself and Alice, expense would be a major reason. I will take it into account though, so thanks for commenting!

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  18. Good food for thought.
    I must admit, however, that I've never purchased from a small business.

    I am very low maintenance with my hair...3 products total (shampoo, conditioner, oil)...so I just buy hair items where I regularly shop, like Wal-Mart or CVS.

    I don't feel like making an extra effort to order online or go somewhere else when I can get it all at one spot, ya know?

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