Small businesses are constantly under attack from “big-box” stores, franchises and online retailers. With limited marketing budgets and even less time to invest in online and social media marketing many small business owners have simply ignored these “new-fangled” marketing tools and instead rely solely on the tried-and-true marketing methods that they’re comfortable with or those that may have worked for them in the past.
“Ignoring modern marketing tools simply won’t work anymore,” claims Heidi Butzine, founder of ShopLocal.us and the Certified Locally Owned program. “As buyers today we’re instinctively inclined to check out a business online before we make a spending decision. If a business doesn’t differentiate itself in a meaningful way, we move on to the next option.”
On the heels of her best-selling book of “Shop Local: A Practical Pain-Free Guide to Shopping with Purpose” the author and successful business woman with a knack for finding business solutions launched a business certification program to empower local residents to quickly and easily identify their locally owned businesses.
The author points out that, “Many things motivate our buying choices including service experience and quality. It’s not only price and convenience that dictate our shopping decisions. Buyers want to feel good about where they spend their money and have peace of mind that their money stays local when they shop local.”
Buyers who visit the ShopLocal.us website can search for businesses that have been Certified Locally Owned by her company, thereby helping independently owned businesses differentiate themselves from “big-box” stores, franchises and online retailers.
Independently owned businesses from around the country have seen the benefits of becoming Certified Locally Owned. As part of the program, businesses receive a certificate of distinction, a business listing at the ShopLocal.us website and in the Shop Local Mobile App as well as a QR-enabled badges for their business location, advertising and web pages which give businesses access to statistics to help measure engagement with those who scan their codes at their business, online or in advertising.
Local business owners, Jeff and Stephanie of Mulligan’s Attic in Vallejo, CA were enthusiastic about qualifying for the designation as a Certified Locally Owned company. “Being a relatively new business in town, we’re proud to show our neighbors that we’re local residents with a business in the community.” stated Stephanie.
It goes beyond the signage and online marketing aspects of the certification. Jonathan Smith of Golf Dimensions in North Myrtle Beach, SC, stated that, “it’s important for people to know that we have roots in the community and that we’re locals and know our customers by name. We support Certified Locally Owned and think other North Myrtle Beach, SC businesses will too!”
Ms. Butzine has a long history of creating successful companies after having sold one her businesses along with her partners to a fortune 500 business in 2007. “After watching our small business become part of a huge corporation I decided to make it my mission to advocate for small indie businesses.”
Based in Redondo Beach, CA, Certified Locally Owned (CLO) initially targeted the Southern California communities around Redondo Beach and is gaining traction across the United States.