Should You Be Going Local?

Michelle Benjamin – CEO of Benjamin Enterprises

CEOatBEI

Many companies have gone global when it comes to outsourcing. Whether it is for manufacturing, materials or services, companies looked first to Mexico, and now to Asia (China, India, Vietnam) in an effort to reduce costs. The overlying thought was that these products and services were too expensive to be purchased in the United States. Is that still the case? With the huge push especially in the food industry to use local products, I think it is worth the time and money to re-evaluate the local choice.

For small businesses especially, there are several reasons why it makes sense to utilize local businesses.

Volume – These businesses often don’t have the volume to make it worth it to purchase from another country; or in some cases from across the country or across the state. The shipping costs alone could eat into any savings on the products purchased. In some cases, you might even be able to pick up the product thus removing any shipping related costs.

Relationships – Small businesses need relationships more than a larger business. Word of mouth from one business to another can make or break a business. If you partner with local businesses, they will in turn refer you to other businesses that are their customers. Think of it as a free referral program for your business.

Go Green – Reducing our carbon footprint is top of mind not only in business, but in our everyday life. By using local vendors, you can reduce your carbon footprint since any fuel consumption related to shipping is smaller. In some cases, this could even lead to green certifications which would give your business more exposure.

Fueling the Community – We have all heard the politicians talk about how small businesses will drive the jobs recovery. You can do your part by using local vendors who will then be able to continue employing their current workforce and potentially hire additional workers.

Over the past few years, US based businesses have taken major steps to become competitive with businesses based overseas. In some cases, it may still make sense to procure goods and services from overseas companies, but I do think it is time to revisit the decision.