Why supporting independent businesses in Sussex matters

Eastbourne and other towns and cities on the South Coast are blessed to have many wonderful small, independent businesses. 

From the Old Town of Hastings, to the new Seaside Road in Eastbourne and the Lanes of Brighton, they add character to our communities, and are an engine room of the economy.

About 40% of people in a Visa survey agreed that the presence of small businesses makes local areas nicer places to live in, and that they contribute to keeping them vibrant and buzzing.

But there is a fragility to independent businesses which makes actively supporting them especially important. They don’t have the reserves or scale of the Amazons of this world and national supermarkets, so when times are tough they feel it more.

Benefits of small independent businesses in Sussex

Independent businesses often carry an authenticity which chains or online retailers can’t match. 

This comes from the passion of the owners and their teams who really believe in what they are selling. Whether it be an intimate restaurant, an independent bookseller or a farm shop – it translates into a great consumer experience.

Small independents can often be the sustainable choice, too, with goods sourced locally meaning less of a carbon footprint in the supply chain. 

It also means more money staying in the local economy. According to Visa’s research, for every £10 a consumer spends with a local business, £3.80 stays in the area creating a virtuous cycle of economic growth – a far cry from clicking with an Internet behemoth and having your money whisked around the globe.

And then there is that sense of community. Your shopkeepers or solicitors might well be your neighbours, so you can pop in to say “hi” and share some camaraderie. It’s the kind of social glue that you only miss when it’s gone.

Practical ways you can support your local businesses

The obvious thing to do is to shop with them, use them for the unique value they bring. Eat at the independent restaurant rather than the generic chain, buy from a butcher if you have one, as opposed to the supermarket, and get to know your local gift shop rather than go straight to the web for birthday presents.

But you can go beyond this. Many such businesses thrive on word-of-mouth, so tell your friends about how good they are; leave a Google review; like their social posts.

A bit of moral support goes a long way, as well. Independent business owners will often start-up because they want to be part of the community, not just because it’s “a job”. So engaging in conversation, whether you spark it or they do, can be a really valuable way to encourage them in their journey, helping them establish their business.

Working with small businesses

We love working with independent businesses in Eastbourne and the South East. And because we have so much experience in this area, we have seen many of the particular challenges they face and know what solutions are required. 

If you’re thinking of opening your own local business, or have already done so, and want to talk to a caring, expert accountant, get in touch.