It’s clear that the internet and social media has broken down barriers, enabling smaller businesses to compete globally, quicker, more effectively.A fall-out of the recession saw customers moving in a local direction. Tighter budgets created a desire for the trust and reassurance of familiarity that a local product or service brings. If building long-term customer relationships is a core principle within your business, a local brand is what can give you the edge. It’s also where ambitious businesses can punch above their weight by going beyond that “thinking global, acting local” tagline. We’ve seen a huge increase in customers looking specifically for local service. To that end, building a consciously local business has been a key marketing priority. So how do small businesses – on tight budgets – strengthen their brands locally and truly engage with their local economy? 1. Connect connect connect Taking time to network locally is vital. Commit to supporting local businesses, as suppliers or customers. Creating strategic, meaningful connections enables you to explore new ways of doing business. We recently launched a series of free networking events to bring together the region’s most ambitious businesses. Aimed at other local entrepreneurs, we wanted to facilitate a board-level forum for colleagues to share, discuss and learn from the pain points and day-to-day challenges we all face when running growing businesses. 2. Create local partnerships Explore ways that other businesses can open new doors for your business. This could be through widening your service proposition or responding to a clearly-identified gap in the local market. 3. Be a local expert Be the “go-to” industry service or provider in your region. Share your knowledge and expertise. Build your reputation as a leader in your sector by staying close to your industry and stakeholders. And don’t be afraid to be bold!
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