How to Build a Small-Business Support System

If you’re the new business in town, it’s important to understand your local community and adapt your business accordingly.

Here’s how we’ve built up a small-business support system of local locals—and how you can, too.

1. Serve as a gathering place.

Nurture your community by serving as the gathering place for locals and tourists. We thrive on serving as a resource for information and local references, recommending everything from restaurants to babysitters and snow plowing services to general contractors. People feel more connected and loyal to any business that fosters positive energy and demonstrates commitment to serving the community, whether through word-of-mouth referrals like ours, or through more formal social responsibility programs.

2. Understand and incorporate the community's needs into your business.

Listen to what your customers’ needs are, and grow the business accordingly. This establishes trust and mutual respect and a greater chance for success.

3. Collaborate with other local businesses.

Create a dialogue that allows community members to learn how to support each other.Collaboration is a great way to build momentum around a local event like Small Business Saturday. But, working with other local businesses — and even with your competitors! — may be daunting for many small business owners.Not sure where to get started? Here are ideas for working with other local businesses so you can drive attention and awareness about why consumers should shop small while attracting customers to your local businesses.

4. Be aware of ongoing changes in the community.

Be open to the need for change, and structure your business to be able to enact those changes. Employ staff members who embody your vision of customer service, appreciate the community.

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