MDB Insight Blog


2 Ways to Support Family-Owned Businesses in Your Community

Pillars of your business community, owned by lifelong residents, may have been on your main street for decades. Newcomers to Canada with an entrepreneurial spirit may be bringing new ventures to your city. And Millennials, recently graduated, may be contributing fresh ideas and services to your local economy. No matter the type of family-owned business, one thing is for certain: they are the lifeblood of your municipality.

The Economic Importance of Family-Owned Businesses

According to GoForth Institute, 80% of businesses in Canada are family owned. In addition, family-owned businesses are responsible for 60% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). However, only 20% of these businesses have a strong succession plan in place.

Supporting the retention and expansion of family-owned businesses will, therefore, support the economic growth of much of the community. First identifying and then addressing any challenges faced by the family-owned businesses within your community should be a priority.

Initiatives to Support Local Family-Owned Businesses

The first initiative is a business retention and expansion (BR+E) effort to dig into what family-owned businesses need as they grow. Be sure to ask about the following areas of the business, so that you can determine how best to help:

  • Hiring outside the family
  • Putting a succession plan into place
  • Looking for larger spaces / real estate

Depending on your budget and current projects, you could outsource this initiative using a platform, such as Triage BR+ETM. Using this approach it can take as little as 10 weeks to identify the businesses in your community that need your help the most; plus, you can focus your efforts elsewhere while the data is being collected for you. 

nullThe second initiative is a shop-local campaign. Encourage residents to shop at local businesses, largely run by families, by instituting a sticker collection contest. Every time a resident purchases from a local vendor, stickers are collected, When residents have collected enough stickers to fill a page, the page can be entered into a draw to win a prize.

A shop-local campaign is a fun and engaging way to show residents how to purchase conscientiously and support their neighbours. You could strengthen this effort further by encouraging people to post their locally purchased finds on social media with a hashtag specific to your community and the initiative; doing so could qualify them for more entries in the draw. A social media campaign has the added bonus of creating buzz around your local businesses’ social media pages, increasing their marketing reach.

Look for BR+E platforms to Best Suit Your Community

In order to maximize your BR+E efforts, be sure to research the available options. You could undertake the business retention and expansion project yourself, or you could test available platforms. 

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