Is Costa Coffee Open? Why We Should #KeepItBedfordshire
Is Costa Coffee Open?
This is the question that I saw posted on a local Facebook page that prompted me to write this article. It made me want to support those small independent local businesses around Bedfordshire that are not supported by large corporate markets and budgets.
It could be argued that Costa Coffee is a franchise and therefore the owners of each business are a local business, but these are not those ones that I am talking about. I’m talking about your butcher, baker and candlestick maker (if they are still around).
With all the advertising around it’s so easy to see how we can get brainwashed into thinking that we ‘need’ to use these outlets, however, there are so many local hidden gems out there just waiting to be discovered.
Show Off Your Local Business Using The HasHtag
Anyone Can Do It
Share The Love With A #KeepItBedfordshire Hashtag
It doesn’t matter if you own a small business in Bedfordshire, or are a customer who has used one. If you have had a good experience show it off with the hashtag #KeepItBedfordshire to help promote that business and what they do.
It could be any business in Bedfordshire. It doesn’t need to be the ones on the High Street. Your local pub, restaurant or coffee shop. The small shop where you bought a card for a birthday or a dress for the party.
It may even be that you want to promote the business behind a business. The farmer who supplies your butcher or farm shop. The artist who paints those pictures you love in the gallery.
Whatever it is about the local business let’s just help them out by sharing what they do by using the hashtag #KeepItBedfordshire.
Why You Should #KeepItBedfordshire
Small local businesses have been hit hard over the last few months with the outbreak of COVID19. Some of these are only just now beginning to open up again, following the new stricter guidelines. Others though have suffered even further and had to close their doors permanently as a result.
In a world where the coronavirus is dominating the news headlines you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the only reason why you should #KeepItBedfordshire. There are though so many more reasons to use local businesses instead of those larger chain stores.
Help The Local Economy Grow
Local businesses may not be on your high street, however, they are the backbone of your local community. Spending money with your local independent business is also a lot more beneficial to your community than going to the supermarket or chain store down the road.
How does this work? Let’s have a look.
Say you go into your local shop and spend £20.00 to buy locally sourced food and groceries. Haven’t you done well? How well did you really do though? It is really just that one local business that you have helped?
Okay, so the owner of the business has to pay their tax, rent, bills, etc out of your hard earned £20, so we will assume for this that they now have £15 left over. What happens to that?
The shop needs restocking so it’s off to the local farmer to get the produce. Restocking the shelves in the shop takes up another portion of your £20 and now there is only £10 left over.
The window cleaner comes and the staff need paying and there goes another £8 out of your £20.
After a hard day at work the business owner decides to go down the pub to relax after work with his staff, and to of course spend the last £2 out of your £20.
What may have just seemed as though you helped one local business has gone well beyond that. Your visit to the local shop has helped four local businesses. It’s helped to employ staff in the shop, on the farm, the pub and the window cleaner.
What’s more that money is still in the hands of local Bedfordshire people and is still working to help other local businesses. Your £20 is still going to #KeepItBedfordshire.
When You Support Small Business
You’re Supporting A Dream
What Else Does Your Local Business Offer
A Local Character
Being a photographer character is so important. A person’s character is unique to them and isn’t something that can come across so much in a large corporate world.
Go to McDonald’s and your BigMac will be the same wherever you buy it, whether you are in Cornwall or Glasgow. The restaurants will all have the same familiar feel and you will also be asked, “Do you want fries with that?”
The great thing about about independent businesses is that they are run by ‘real’ people. Local people who care about the community where you live. You will usually find that the businesses and shops are in keeping with aesthetic of the area where you live. They add character to the community and a touch of warmth with a welcoming personality. This natural authenticity will always be more popular than a chain, no matter where you are in the country.
I can always remember a photography session that I had with a client. As I tried to get them settled the general ‘chit chat’ focused on the the area where I had grown up, and where they had lived. It was then that we found something in common, the local toy shop. As an independent local business it had stood in the centre of the High Street for years and had fond memories for both of us as we recalled the times we had spent on there searching through the vinyl records (yes I know I’m showing my age here). We could also both remember the shop owner who always had a friendly smile as they would let us listen to the music knowing that we couldn’t afford to actually buy the records with our pocket money.
Behind Every Small Business Is A Family
Customer Service That Comes From Local Knowledge
That little memory of the toy shop nicely brings me on to the next point of call, customer service.
Many chain businesses do have good customer service and the training that goes with it. There is though that personal touch that you get from a local business owner who knows everyone by name. It is that local experience that means that they can offer you a product that is suitable for you without asking hundreds of questions.
It’s that relationship between the local owner and the local customer goes further than just a purchase. What they stock is tailored to their clients rather than having an inventory that is based on the national average. This is so you can find what you want, not what they want to sell you.
Oh and kids they also know your parents. We had a sweet shop when I was growing up. One of those traditional ones with jars of sweets stood in rows on the shelves. I was always so tempted with all of those sweets, but the owner knew exactly the ones that I liked and would usually have the jar ready as soon as I walked in.
There was one time though that I had decided to go into the shop on my way home from school. To my surprise the owner of the shop wouldn’t serve me? Was it because I had caused trouble in the shop? Did I not have the money? No, it was because I had already been in there on the way to school and he knew that my mum would not be happy with me having two lots of sweets in one day.
In A World Where You Can Shop Anywhere
They Are As Individual As Their Products
It’s not just the owners that are unique, so are the products that they provide.
Chain stores can be great if you want a bargain, or if you want to be like everyone else. That time when you have turned up to a big event only to see that someone is wearing the same outfit as you. Yes, that is a chain store moment.
Or you go to someone’s house and you comment that they have the same picture on the wall. Another chain store moment.
Local businesses often are, or use, local artists, craftspeople, seamstresses (sorry couldn’t think of the politically correct way of saying that)… you get the idea. What they create is individual and you are very unlikely to find the same thing anywhere else.
There Is So Much More
There so many more reasons to use a local independent business, however, I will stop there as I could go on and I guess you are wondering when I will get around to telling you about #KeepItBedfordshire.
#KeepItBedfordshire? What Is It All About?
In what appears to be an ever changing world after COVID19 it seems that less of us are hitting the high street and it is more important than ever to have an online presence.
For some local independent businesses that is easy as they already have a website. There are many out there that do not have a website or, in some cases, the knowledge or funds available to set one up. Even if a website seems too far fetched for your business there is social media which is a great way to let people know what you do and gain those all important new clients and customers.
I’m guessing though that for some I will have to explain first what a hashtag is and how they will help you to promote your business and what you need to do.
So What Is A #HashTags?
Put simply a hashtag is a label for content. It helps people who are interested in a certain topic quickly find content on that same topic across most social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). Anyone sharing content on a relevant topic can add the hashtag label to their message. Others searching for that topic, can then search for that label to find other messages on that same social media platform.
Did you catch that bit in that last paragraph? Anyone sharing content… That’s the really great bit about #KeepItBedfordshire it doesn’t need to be the business owners who do it.
Anyone who visits you or uses your services can use the hashtag #KeepItBedfordshire to promote what you do. All you need to do is tell them about it.
How Will #KeepItBedfordshire Help Local Businesses?
Social media is an amazing platform and now instead of following individual people you are also able to follow a hashtag. By encouraging the use of the hashtag #KeepItBedfordshire your business could be constantly in front of anyone following that hashtag. Think of it as a constantly evolving magazine designed to promote local businesses.
Let me put this a different way… IT’S FREE ADVERTISING.
How you use it is entirely up to you. You could encourage your customers to share photos and use the hashtag #KeepItBedfordshire. The most effective way though is to run your own campaign. There are so many tutorials available on the internet telling you how to run your own campaign, so if you are not already a marketing wizard that would be a place to start. One thing I would say though is DO NOT GET CAUGHT OUT BY PEOPLE TELLING YOU THAT YOU HAVE TO PAY THEM TO DO IT. Once you get going it’s easy and you will get more from it if you are in control.
Keep It Visual With A Special Offer From Me
If you don’t already know the best way to get anywhere on social media is by using pictures. Well they do say that a picture speaks a thousand words. Some social media platforms, such as Instagram, also only allow visual content.
For many it won’t be a problem getting the camera out. Let’s face it we always have our mobile phones handy.
There are those though who may find it a little be more difficult to capture content that really sells what they do. If that is you don’t panic, I’m here to help. If you fall into this bracket just let me know via the contact form below.
During August I would like to offer my services as a photographer free of charge. We will discuss what it is you would like, arrange a date and I will come over to you to take some photos of you and your business that you can show off. I may even invite you to complete an interview so I can write an article about you to help advertise your business even further.
Send Me Your Details
If You Found This Interesting Please Let Me Know
It would be great if you could let me know if you found this article interesting.
Either leave your comment below or email me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to know more about my photography please visit my website www.cjhphotography.co.uk