By no means complete or scientific here is my list of ten reasons why we need independently owned retailers in Australia.
1. Community. Small businesses are more likely to support local traditions and tell stories which need to be passed on.
2. Creativity. Whereas national and global businesses make creative decisions a long way from the place of execution, local businesses make creative decisions in the back room and at the counter – in the local community. This helps develop creative skills and interests of those working in the business.
3. Competition. In a global only world, competition is by arrangement whereas independent businesses compete for day to day survival.
4. Diversity. No two independent retailers in the same channel are the same. Yea!
5. Entrepreneurship. Independent retail is where entrepreneurs cut their teeth and where motivation begins.
6. The local economy. Independent retailers are more likely to hire locally, shop locally, live locally and invest locally.
7. Family. Independent retailers offer families places where teenagers can get their first job, they offer flexible credit terms, they are less corporate and therefore more likely to be family friendly in decision making.
8. Leadership. Impendent retailers are developing leadership skills and assisting their employees to develop leadership skills since more decisions are made in an independent retail business than a national or global brand store.
9. Life. Whereas the local outpost of a national or global brand is a number on a balance sheet, the independent retailer is a living breathing, stumbling and excited representation of the life of business.
10. Humanity. At an independent retail business you’re more likely to observe humanity at work because there is no corporate manual of dos and don’ts.
My list is as incomplete as it is unscientific. Some points could be compressed. As it is, though, it serves as a reminder about what’s important abut independent retailers and small business to a country and its people