The DT Blog

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Think Local

I am excited to be involved with the Think Local campaign through the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.  I have loved and supported small and local businesses for as long as I've had money in my pockets.  However, because I like to play the Devil's Advocate, I have argued with myself on this point a bit too.  Isn't it important to support the National and Global economy and not just the Local economy?  I mean, after all, I am a capitalist.  Shouldn't I just buy the best mouse trap for the best price?

Answer: I "think local" precisely because I am a capitalist!

Thinking local doesn't mean that no one ever spend money out of town.  If that happened I would never have out-of-town clients.  Thinking local doesn't even mean that you show preference to local businesses.  Though, this is a common misconception.  Thinking local means that you correctly weight the value of local businesses when comparing them with national companies.

Better Mouse Traps

The best mouse traps have the cheese your mice want.  This is part of the hidden value of local businesses.  They know what sort of product or service is best for you and for your area.  They intuitively understand the cultural context of when and where you are.

Take graphic design for instance.  What we do here at DanielTitus.com is tell stories.  Sure, we use Websites and Advertisements and even SEO to do it, but at the heart of what we do is tell the story of your brand.  So here's just one way that our product, our service is going to be better than that of someone who's "not from around here."  We have a better opportunity to understand the story, the history and the goal of your brand.  We also have a better opportunity to craft that message so that it comes through to your target audience.

People from San Antonio know what salsa should taste like, and people from Southwest Georgia know how to truly speak to people from Southwest Georgia.

Better Prices

When I was in college everyone liked to pretend that they would prefer to go back to the trade and barter system.  That would be an awful idea.  If that were the case, I would have to just hope and pray that my local grocer needed a lot of graphics, 'cause most of my money goes to buying food.  (I don't know what I could have offered the guy who lived in my house before me.  Hmmm.)  The monetary system is great because it allows everyone to have something that everyone else wants.  There might be one thing that we have lost since moving away from the barter system, though.

We sometimes forget that there's a delicately limited supply of things.  You can't have too much money (causing inflation) because it won't be worth anything.  You can't have too little money (causing deflation) because then there won't be enough to go around.  This is an important concept when thinking local about prices.  Let's keep with the mouse trap analogy for now and play a game of Would You Rather.

Would you rather:

  • Pay less money to a mouse trap maker who never buys your product

or

  • Pay more money to a mouse trap maker who always buys your product in return

My money goes to they guy who's going to give my money back!  Why?  Because you have to factor the potential gain into the cost.

We do business with companies that we will likely never patronize.  We simply don't have a need for everyone's services.  However, our money is invested locally.  It's spent locally.  It benefits locally.  Though our prices are competitive on a national level, there is the hidden value of potential gain for local business owners.

I'm No Economist

I'm not an economist, but I have taken a few economy classes in my day.  I am a local small business owner, but, more importantly, I'm a capitalist.  Yes, buy the better mouse trap for the better price!  While you are shopping around, though, "think local" and weigh the options wisely.  Local products and services tend to be better suited for your needs and have a better price by providing more opportunity for reciprocated business.