OwnerListens focuses on small and medium businesses because we recognize the importance they play in the US Economy. Furthermore, we believe the way to help small businesses improve is to “think local”.
Research funded by the Office of Advocacy of the US Small Business Administration (SBA) shows that Small Business:
- Represents 99.7% of all firms
- Create more than half of the private non-farm GDP
- Create 60% – 80% of the new new jobs
Further research points out that that the 22.9 million small businesses in the US are located in about every neighborhood. It’s hard to get more local than that. (Click here for more interesting stats by SBA).
Given their vast economic and geographic predominance, small businesses clearly represent a vital component of local and national economies. However with such a wide distribution across all local communities, they also pose a massive challenge to companies/organizations looking to help them improve. Using technology and “thinking local” is, indeed, the key to approaching these businesses and companies large and small are realizing it.
For example, banking giant Chase and deal site LivingSocial partnered to run a contest ending today (June 30th) to boost US business by awarding $250,000 to 12 businesses as part of their “Mission Small Business” endeavor. To reach their target of $3,000,000 Chase/LivingSocial are thinking local and relying on individual consumers to support their contest.
Local businesses apply to the contest online by saying what the grant would mean for their business. Individuals become supporters of the initiative by logging in via Facebook, and for each login Chase/LivingSocial add $5 toward the grant pool at targeting a total of $3 million. Individuals are then asked to vote for their favorite local businesses to help determine the winners. The contest reached its target weeks early!
Part of what makes this so effective is that individual consumers are increasingly identifying with local businesses in their community. Consumers no longer want to be a demographic statistic but rather seek the human connection advantage of local consumption.
Large companies are taking notice. For instance, retail giant WalMart is rolling out a new Facebook engagement strategy in line with this. Here, each brick and mortar store has it’s own Facebook Page for customers to visit instead of a single corporate page for all of WalMart. Each page will be managed by a dedicated representative. The primary goal is to put the human back in business and connect with customers on an individual level.
OwnerListens helps businesses improve by leveraging the human side of small businesses. By enabling real-time communication between business owners and their customers, OwnerListens brings customers and the individuals behind their local businesses closer together in a 1 on 1 setting and in a way that’s convenient, safe, and beneficial for both parties. OwnerListens believes that by helping individuals connect and help the favorite local business improve, we can have a significant impact on small business everywhere.