We live in times where more than ever before, supply chains are breaking down and the wheels are coming off of globalization. Now it is more important than ever to Buy Local and Support Local.

Your opportunity is out there, but it isn’t the straight line you think it is. You must look inward to your local communities for guidance. We are going to try to explain why the official stance of PereiraCityGuide.com and it’s editor is #BuyLocal and #SupportLocal. And why you should too!

Why Buy Local?

Buy Local

The first “centro commercial of its type” this retail center was constructed using repurposed containers. The first of its type in Pereira! They feature natural cooling by continuous air flow, a green space plaza in the back, small and efficient locales which start at $100 USD per month!

I have a question for you. What does the Retail Apocalypse of now and onward into the future, have in common with Doing Business in Colombia? Everything. Because systems which have been held in place by corruption and greed for up to and over 100 years are collapsing like a house of cards. And, there is only one way to survive it…

We must come together and work to our mutual benefit. This is called “Community Efficacy.” And it might be exactly what we need. Our ability to support each other can help to make this city thrive like never before. It starts with only a small 10% who choose to change their buying decisions. Once 10% of a population turns toward a new idea, the rest will follow suit. We need about 80,000 people in Pereira, Colombia to stop buying from corporate retailers and start supporting start-ups, small locally owned businesses, small vendors and products which are made locally.

Buy Local PCGIt’s Time to Support Local Retail Businesses Here, There and in Colombia too!

I will even take it a step further to say: Support local businesses and stop buying from corporations who don’t conform to your values and personal ethics. Find something you can grow, build or create locally – to help fill a common local need. But, don’t put all your eggs in one basket either, because Doing Business in Colombia, or anywhere today, will eat you alive if you don’t know how to swim with the sharks.

Caution is no longer a luxury we can afford either. We have to think outside the box and take risks. 

When we buy from local businesses we are putting food on the table, paying for school uniforms and ensuring a high standard of living for our community. Buying local is about supporting start-ups, small neighborhood businesses and artisan products! Probably the most effective way to help create a strong local community, is to spend your money on businesses which are going to turn around and maybe even spend that money at YOUR business!

By supporting local business and culture we can come together as a community and make a difference. But it all starts with a couple of good choices:

  • Stop buying imported products except when necessary!
  • Avoid corporate chains and businesses who fail to spend earnings in the local community, or who have a history of environmental damages. Vote with your pocketbook, the most powerful vote imaginable!
  • Spend your money on small local businesses who will turn around and spend it on YOUR local business or service!
  • Buying local provides a solution for peak-petroleum when we aren’t burning diesel to transport products across oceans and continents.

There are many benefits to buying local, and really there are almost too many to list here. Hopefully we hit the important points. Our point is, that we want to help create a strong community full of strong families. Our entire platform is to spread goodwill and positive energy to our local community by promoting causes and ideas which make the world a better place.

Help show your support by using the hashtags #BuyLocal and #SupportLocal, whenever you post your product to help raise awareness and create customers.

Create Good Customer Service Values and Marry Them To High Quality Products

The biggest failure we see in the local economy, is initiative. I see hardworking Colombians turn down money because of a complete lack of initiative – and maybe it is justified because of how low they are often paid for their labors. We aren’t saying the problem is a simple one. Part of it is cultural, but part of it is the lack of initiative to do something extraordinary, to create an authenticity behind your brand which will guarantee you for the long-term.

If you are still reading this, think about it for a moment. We live in a world that is so self-absorbed we have forgotten about the needs of others. Their feelings, their true desires. Think about your own needs and inner desires. Now think of the survival hierarchy of necessary items (shelter, food, water, housing etc. ). Can you provide a necessary high quality, high valued item for other people in Colombia? Guaranteed success if you are willing to write a 5 year plan and see it through.

Do you want to buy a pair of shoes which look trendy? Or a pair of shoes which look nice, have great foot support and will last you the next 4 to 5 years?

If you chose the trendy shoes, go away. This isn’t for you.

But if you chose quality, keep reading.

These are questions that a lot of people are and aren’t asking. If we truly are seeing a global recession then it is up for small local businesses to create their own local supply chains to overcome larger supply chain shortfalls, droughts and famines. Find a need and fill it! Find a local producer and help them grow their business. We can all do our part to help create a strong local economy which will be recession proof.

This is a subject that PereiraCityGuide.com has been building up to for a while with all of our local advertising campaigns.

Start by Selling the Story and the Lifestyle YOUR Product Creates, with Pictures and Content!

One of the biggest benefits of social media, now more than ever, is its ability to create fires at the local level for business and recreation. Especially in Colombia where Facebook is largely used over websites, you have a grand opportunity to create a valuable product. But you must be willing to start out slowly, build a good reputation and hang on for the long haul.

There is no magic pill.

But, a well-curated product will feel like you found a bit of magic, if you stand by it, insure it, and take the time to connect with your customers on a personal level, and/or via social media. OR, you can commission high quality content on local websites like this one, where you sell more than a product, you sell the story and the lifestyle your product creates to people far, far away who want to come and visit YOU. Showcase the benefits. Use all types of media to fill in a 4D picture.

Ways to Ensure Your Small Business is Successful in Colombia:

I have seen people who come here with no plan, struggle. A lot. Here are some tips:

  • Takes the necessary amount of months and years, to build the relationships your business needs, to survive in Colombia. Cultivate it like a child. Start small. There may be a social requirement, especially if you want to work with the upper classes. Be ready to match up to it, or take part in it as needed to build confidence in your consumers.
  • Don’t go for the biggest option unless you already have a viable business plan in place. Don’t be afraid to pick up an English teaching job to get a foothold in the country before you launch your great idea. A small change in tax structures or visa requirements could have you putting out the For Sale sign within weeks. Be ready to roll with the punches. This also goes back to the sage advice: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Be willing to change your approach as many times as needed to ensure success.
  • Try to create affordable high quality products. During times of austerity and economic turmoil, quality and durability becomes paramount. If you can’t create a super high quality product which everyone NEEDS,  you must revert to a quality product that is affordable to the average person. Studies show that in times of economic instability wealthy consumers are less likely to purchase showy items, but will continue to spend money on item which guarantee durability and long term value.
  • Keep your Costs as low as possible. Food trucks, home-based production businesses and locally grown food are more viable now than ever before as spenders are cutting back to simpler pleasures over elegant sumptuousness. Think outside the box and discover ways to bring your product to the doors of willing consumers with minimal infrastructure.
  • Educate Your Consumers – Constantly. Especially if you are bringing back old-fashioned techniques, foods, artisan crafts or services, it is very important to educate your customers about who you are and what you wish to do. Especially if your product isn’t as common culturally or it comes from a completely different culture, your consumer base needs time to figure out who you are, what are the benefits, and why they need your product.
  • Learn to live in a more austere manner until success is ensured. We have all suffered from this one when we realize that time moves differently in Colombia. Colombians don’t see Gringos as massive gravy-trains without cause. Eating out, buying coffee out every day and the need for new “stuff”, can’t come between you and your business idea. Especially during austere economic conditions. The extra you deny yourself today, might extend you just enough to close the deal on your dream business, lifestyle or career tomorrow.

Conclusion

Start by buying local and supporting local. By supporting your local farmers markets, buying products made by your friends/neighbors, and growing or making your own products. You might even gain an advantage. We can no longer expect to create the huge environmentally stressful production outputs of the 90’s. It’s time to let the earth heal, and expand our outward consciousness to our neighbors.

When you follow and support PereiraCityGuide.com and similar publications you are supporting grassroots info and economy. Together we can help create stronger families and stronger communities! #BuyLocal #SupportLocal

Owner/Editor of Open Minded Traveler, Erin is also the Project Administrator/Editor of Pereira City Guide. She has been living in Pereira, Colombia for 3 years.
    Dale Nash July 2, 2017

    We build and rejuvenate community school gardens in all 5 boroughs, and support even more gardens through volunteer days, technical assistance, school garden grants,  more.

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