When you’re opening up shop or moving an existing business to a new location, it’s natural for you to think about the area where you’re looking for real estate — you want to know about the demographics there, how close you are to major interstates and what other businesses will be nearby.
But what about the actual character of the community, and not just in terms of the town’s layout. What are the people like? Are they a tight-knit, supportive group, or does everyone pretty much mind their own business?
Some people might describe an area as having a small-town feel, but size isn’t the determining factor. Many cities and large suburbs can still be hands-on communities.
And here’s why establishing a business in a place like this can be a great thing:
Hands-on communities take pride in their local businesses.
If you open up a new business in a community where people aren’t closely connected, it’s easy to be overlooked. People would much rather stick with what they know, often turning to the reliability of large chains. They might not care that a new person has come to town to offer goods or services.
But in a tight-knit, hands-on community such as Ellicott City or West Annapolis, residents will get excited about small businesses that make their area unique and that cater to their specific interests. Your patrons will be more likely to establish a relationship with you, the business owner. This means you’ll not only have a reliable flow of business but — more importantly — a flow of business from people you enjoy serving.
Which segues nicely into the next benefit…
You will find a better work environment in a hands-on community.
In addition to having nice customers, you’ll have nicer surroundings. Hands-on communities tend to take pride in where they live. It will be cleaner and better maintained. When you walk around town, you might see landscaping that was done by the local garden club or murals painted on buildings by local artists. You will also find other unique businesses just like yours, so when you need to go out for lunch or to pick up a last-minute gift, you’ll have options you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
In a hands-on community you can foster the next generation of business leaders.
Hands-on communities tend to be supportive of young people and their education. You will have plenty of teenagers who are ready to take part-time or seasonal jobs, and those with flexibility in their academic schedules might even be available to take on full-time internships. These young people are a great resource for staffing your business, but even more importantly, you’ll be helping a student learn about aspects of business and develop their work ethic.
You have opportunities to give back.
Just as you have opportunities to employ young people, you will have other chances to engage with community organizations. This might cost your business a little bit of money, but you’ll be forming valuable connections you wouldn’t have otherwise. Nonprofit organizations, youth sports leagues, school clubs and other civic groups will likely seek donations from you at some point for either an event they’re holding or a cause they’re leading. You’ll take pride knowing that you’re helping support these endeavors, and it’s a great way of forming connections and building a public image for your business.
Camaraderie means less crime.
When you are part of a community where people know one another, you will find that crime rates tend to be much lower. This is because people are vigilant and looking out for the well-being of their neighbors and keeping a close eye on anything out of the ordinary. Operating your business in a safe area means you’re less likely to take a hit from burglary or vandalism, and your customers will also feel much safer when they come to visit you.