When I am travelling I have a rule that I only visit local businesses. I do this because I want something unique to the area. Something that I can only get while there. Local businesses often have passionate workers and friendly owners. I enjoy supporting their business. I am not saying that I boycott big brands I understand their appeal and necessity. I just believe there is something special about finding that hidden gem. That small cafe or restaurant where you get a different experience. A place to call your own. A place you can brag to your friends about and take them to your local spot. You walk in and they know your name and what you like to order. I love having an honest educated person talking about their products steering me towards the making the right decision. Obviously, this is not unique to local businesses but I do find it is more common.
To clarify when I say local businesses I mean businesses that are owned locally and not part of a big franchise (I am aware that franchises can have local owners)There are trade offs between big brands and local businesses. At a franchise I have consistency. A Big Mac in Toronto tastes like a Big Mac in L.A. Big brands often adopt technology faster such as websites, online ordering, new payment technologies or applications. As a person who adopts technology relatively quickly it can be disappointing to know my favorite local businesses are behind. There are still places where I can only pay with cash. However, I, like a growing number of people, live a mostly cashless life and most times find paying with cash inconvenient.
Fortunately, there are great companies out there helping local businesses. Here are just a few.
- Square – Allows for secure credit card processing through your Android of iOS devices.
- Yelp – Allows customers to leave reviews about your business. Also another way for your business to be visible.
- Belly – Great rewards program. Belly lets you create custom rewards that your customers will love.
At Gata we work on delivering mobile technology for local businesses. We understand what makes local businesses great and the need to move forward with technology. Our goal is to strike a balance between the two. We want local business to keep their charm while also providing them with reliable and affordable ways to innovate.