This page represents the initial vision of SMALLOCAL. It will be ever-changing and expanding as the vision, as laid out by the members, will be in a constant state of growth. The UPDATES page and NEWSLETTERS will be sources of the most current information
the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.
a written or spoken statement about something that enables a reader or listener to picture it
Vision Description: SMALLOCAL is a 15-year idea/concept/dream business that is now coming to reality. I ask that as you read through this, please do not let your mind go to a comparison. In the past whenever I have verbally described SMALLOCAL to others, there was an initial response of, “Oh it’s like…” and then try to make a business equivalence. This is human nature as there is a desire to put objects into certain categories to help give a relatable understanding. SMALLOCAL cannot be put into one category or equated to one business model as it is a GLOBAL SMALL BUSINESS ECOSYSTEM that encompasses multiple categories and models.
A complex network or interconnected system.
SMALLOCAL as an ecosystem: A world-wide system of selected small local business owners who are connected digitally and in-person to provide camaraderie, knowledge exchange, and a “strength in numbers” marketing presence that creates a level playing field against large corporations. And a global following of discriminating consumers who use the SMALLOCAL directory app to find the member businesses.
the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
Every business has, or at least should, have a defined and motivating purpose. The motivating purpose of SMALLOCAL is to provide a solution to a growing problem that affects all small local businesses.
a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.
Problem: Large corporations and franchises are continually taking away market share from small locally owned businesses in most category sectors
Question 1: How can the continual expansion into consumer market share of regional, national, and international corporations be reduced, and the small local businesses be preserved, and possibly reinvigorated?
Question 2: Is there an entity that globally unifies small businesses so that consumers will know, like, and trust each business because of their affiliation with said entity?
a means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation.
Solution: SMALLOCAL will be the world’s first ecosystem of selected small businesses that are joined through “Collaborative Camaraderie” to promote professionalism, knowledge, camaraderie, and word-of-mouth exposure among member businesses. Consumers will provide loyalty, promotion, and have peace-of-mind in knowing that a SMALLOCAL designated business is one that has been specifically chosen by other small business owners as they exemplify Pride Of Ownership. The level of professionalism and integrity of all small businesses will be elevated as they will want to meet the criteria’s needed to be a member of this select group. As the quality of small businesses rises, consumers will “Think SMALLOCAL” first and patronize these businesses. The result will be a rise in the profits of the participating businesses and the reduction of market share by the large corporations.
the action of working with someone to produce or create something.
mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together.
SMALLOCAL is a Collaborative, or it can be described as a CO-OP, where all of the members work together, as equals. They will create, unify, and promote the collaborative with the common goal of empowering small businesses, invigorate consumers’ belief in small businesses, and reduce the gains in market share by large corporations.
trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.
Belief 1: A human foundational core belief is that most consumers like community, cheer for the underdogs, and enjoy finding their own “diamonds in the rough” within their locally owned businesses. They want these businesses to succeed. However, often these core desires are in opposition to convenience, familiarity, and pricing provided by the larger corporations. Unfortunately, these latter traits often win consumer spending, and thus the large corporations continually gain market share as small businesses eventually close due to not being competitive.
Belief 2: A recognizable unifying force that equally competes with the large corporations in promoting member small businesses and educates consumers that professionalism, integrity, and the community benefit through local tax and spending of a local owner will be far more beneficial to local communities than the offerings provided by the larger corporations.
SOCIETAL SEGMENTS OF APPEAL
SMALLOCAL appeals to two market segments
1. Small Business Owners: The businesses that exemplify Pride Of Ownership with a hands-on owner that wants to grow their business through the knowledge gained by camaraderie with like-minded professionals and a structured Word Of Mouth program through membership.
2. Discriminating Consumers: The consumer that values originality over mass production, or personal connection over being a number, or credible testimonials over manipulated online reviews, or the sense of community in knowing that generated income and taxation gained by the local business will stay in the local area and not sent to large corporate offices elsewhere.
a group of technologies that are used as a base upon which other applications, processes or technologies are developed.
Within the SMALLOCAL ecosystem will be a digital platform that has an ever-growing number of applications, websites, systems, and membership marketplace. The only limitation to the size of the platform will be due to the limitations of members’ creativity. Consumer driven applications will be developed that funnel people to each member business. Local, regional, national, and international in-person meetings of member business owners will be developed to foster better camaraderie and relationships as each member is part of the strategic Word-Of-Mouth influencer plan. Consumer Trade Shows that have only members as vendors will further promote member businesses.
A platform is a business model that facilitates interactions between two or more interdependent groups, usually consumers and business owners.
In order to facilitate these interactions, platforms utilize existing networks and also create their own networks of users and resources that can be accessed immediately. Platforms create multiple communities and marketplaces within the ecosystem that promotes collaboration and commerce.
To clarify, the digital platform is within the ecosystem. It is not just one app or website, but a “hub” for all digital resources to interact. The expanse of digital resources will be through member creation and collaboration. Camaraderie of business owners within certain industry categories can work with the technology business owners to build applications and/or resources that may be missing with any given industry. The end result will be a product that can bring value to a market sector, give small business owners resources that were once only available to large corporations, and an additional revenue stream for the creators.
BRIDGE THE GAP
to have qualities of two different groups or things
At this moment in time there are two types of people: Native Analog’s and Native Digital’s (credit to Category Pirates). Native Analog’s are people who are 40ish and over. They were raised in a time where “Online” businesses were not existent or were just starting. They are accustomed to “Brick and Mortar” businesses, using a cash register to exchange physical dollar bills and giving change. They are accustomed to shaking hands, looking people in the eye, and developing relationships. Socializing was done in-person. Native Digital’s are 40ish and younger. They were raised in a time when they were done with their homework, instead of going outside to play with the other kids in the neighborhood, they went to their bedroom, picked up a controller, and played video games for hours on end. As they aged they were more accustomed to “digital” sources of shopping, currency, and socializing.
Currently, the Native Analog’s are not so old that they are not still working. Yet, they understand that they cannot avoid the growing presence of the digital world and its effect on future business. Native Digital’s are coming to find that in order to have more growth opportunity they need to get out of their closed digital environment and learn to give handshakes, make eye contact, and confidently converse in-person. SMALLOCAL provides an opportunity for Digital’s to learn from the wisdom and experience of the Analog’s and the Analog’s to understand and benefit from the Digital’s resources. Together every business will improve in many ways, and this will lead to increased profitability.
a point, period, or step in a process or development.
Typically, businesses have to first go through their foundational and/or product development stages and once those are completed the business is then exposed to the public. SMALLOCAL is different. It is not a business where I create everything, roll it out, and then have people follow. That is not how this works. It actually is a true Collaborative of like-minded business owners – For Business Owners, By Business Owners.
Laying down the foundation: We are building an enormous ecosystem. As with anything, there needs to be a solid foundation to build upon. If the foundation is not solid, strong, and definitive, then the structure will eventually topple and fall into ruins. The foundation is the most important stage upon which everything else will be built. There are two parts to Stage 1. First, I need to get the enormous idea out of my head and written in a clear and concise manner for others to grasp the vision. Second, an Advisory Board of selected business owners (the OG’s, see my blog https://imsmallocal.com/blog/f/smallocal-ogs-who-will-portray-you-in-the-movie) will work collaboratively to define the criteria’s of what constitutes a small business for our purposes, what are the specific aspects that sets a business apart, pricing structures, timelines, and much more.
the action or process of earning revenue from an asset, business, etc.
the amount of money expected, required, or given in payment for something.
The goal of SMALLOCAL is to bring an enormous amount of value to the member businesses for the least amount of cost. Monetization is to be from several sources. The marketplace of member businesses is a closed environment only accessible by members. The value of this marketplace is very high as it represents the All Stars of small business. Large national and multi-national companies that provide the individual products and services to small business will purchase advertising space within the marketplace. Only companies that do not have a direct competition with SMALLOCAL business members may promote their offerings.
There is a “perceived reality” among many that if something is free then it may not have much value, or that there is “a catch” and something will be paid, either in personal data or other form of obligation. Because of this, there will need to be some “skin in the game” by members. Eventually, there will be a monthly subscription for membership (if you are reading this now, you will be exempt from subscription fees – forever). The amount of the subscription fee will be determined by the founding advisors. The subscription fee is to be put towards the marketing of SMALLOCAL, which will in turn benefit the member business.
In the latest census of the US, there are 33.2 million small businesses. Of these 33.2 million businesses, 80% of them have 20 employees or less. These 20 employees or less businesses will make up the far majority of SMALLOCAL members (the criteria to still be determined by the OG’s). For example, let’s say that in any given community 25% of small businesses meet the criteria to be invited as members. This would be 6.6 million potential members in the United States.
If all 25% of these 20 employees or less business join SMALLOCAL the monthly revenue at various prices is above. This monthly revenue will then be used for marketing SMALLOCAL, which will benefit member businesses.
This amount of money collectively going towards the promotion of the member business will give a much-increased chance of a level playing field when competing against the large corporations and their franchises.
Now, if we add the rest of the countries in the world we will definitely be a collective force that will be taken seriously! In addition, the benefits and value provided to the individual members will greatly outweigh whatever the monthly subscription may be.
Numerous other monetization opportunities will be provided to SMALLOCAL and individual members who chose to do so.
the process of increasing in physical size.
a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.
SMALLOCAL is “For Small Business Owners, By Small Business Owners”. In a lot of the writings regarding SMALLOCAL you will see the word “select” in regard to the member businesses. This is because the businesses are selected and invited to join by other member businesses. The strength of SMALLOCAL is in finding the balance between having a large member base that makes it recognizable by consumers and staying true to the criteria’s outlined by the OG’s.
Each member is asked to sponsor 8 new businesses a year. Two businesses a quarter will allow for manageable growth for onboarding by the sponsor and the SMALLOCAL staff. As each member brings in 8 businesses, not more and not less, the membership will be in a constant state of growth (Exception – if you are reading this now, we are in the foundational stage. There is no limit to how many businesses a member brings on. This is until the introductory membership number which will be determined by the OG’s is met).
leading to failure or disaster.
(of an imperfection) mar, weaken, or invalidate (something).
“It’s not personal…it’s strictly business.” – Michael Corleone, The Godfather
SMALLOCAL is a collaborative of All-Star businesses. Each member is empowered to use their own discretion when inviting new businesses into the membership. Choosing a business owner to invite is strictly based on the merits of the business and that they meet the outlined criteria’s. It is not based on personal relationships or friendships. The goal is to not choose a business in the hopes that they bring up their quality and standards through membership, but to reward those existing businesses who already provide exceptionalism and exemplify Pride of Ownership.
“We are only as strong as our weakest link” is a very popular saying. The fatal flaw of SMALLOCAL lies in the trust of the members in their choosing of new businesses. If a business that is chosen is later revealed to not be worthy of the standard created by the membership, or an existing member has declined in their standards, then it reflects poorly on the entire membership as a whole, and not just the sponsoring member. Any deviation from the standards of membership will result in a lack of consumer trust and will be a win for the large corporations and franchises. As small businesses, we are under a large microscope by the public. Many consumers are looking for a reason to go back to their familiar large franchise, even though many of the individual franchises would never meet the criteria to be a member of SMALLOCAL! This is an unfortunate reality, yet one that can be overcome.
SMALLOCAL is not a Chamber of Commerce-type organization. In fact, it encourages active participation in local Chambers and other business-related organizations. It is not a geographical or occupationally exclusive network. It is not one app. It is not a rating or review by the public app. It is not like anything available for local small businesses. More explanation on these topics will be coming soon.
Coming Soon. I understand that it is hard to grasp the entire concept without some kind of tangible product to view. I am currently working on the website and will have an initial representation soon. Just know, this current website in not representative of the final product. FAR FROM IT. As stated on the homepage, this is the "introductory" site to lay out the concept. The two websites thinksmallocal dot com and smallocal dot com, as well as their corresponsding apps, are to be made by a small local business, which I am currently searching for.
MORE TO COME
There are many more aspects to SMALLOCAL that will be laid out soon. For now, I hope you get a sense of the vision. And, if you are interested in learning more about being part of the foundational building stage, please contact me as there is a lot more going on behind the scenes.
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