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How Small Businesses Are Teaming Up to Boost Local Economies How small businesses find and buy products to support other small and local businesses.

By Andrew Turner

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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It's no secret that small businesses face challenges on a daily basis. Current supply chain woes need all levels of attention as problems arrive in every shape and size. Small businesses are seeking many – often any – opportunities to help keep their lights on and doors open.

The gap between businesses thriving, surviving, and boarding-up windows is a fine line.

The incredible challenges over the last few years brought rapid innovation and adoption of new technologies to supply chains, which has helped small businesses purchase essential supplies to keep operations up and running.

Small businesses make up the fabric of local communities and keep main streets populated and vibrant. Big business also plays a role in developing technology and solutions on a scale that reflects the scale of the challenge – in this case, global supply issues creating challenges at every level of business.

When it comes to the challenges that small businesses continue to face with remote work and ongoing supply chain disruption, there is an opportunity for small businesses to partner with other small and local businesses to help survive the economic climate, while also supporting their local community.

Strength in numbers

One of the first steps is to help small and local businesses connect with one another. This is where new technology and innovation help the local business community get in touch, with a mutually beneficial purpose: to buy from each other.

Innovation from digital purchasing solutions helps small businesses make a greater impact on the local community. Current technology can help direct the purchase of products and supplies to (other) small businesses in the local community

All businesses have a unique story to tell. Ask any business owner and they're sure to award your curiosity with their tales of success and hardship.

Survival of the smartest

Many people are familiar with the words "Smart TV" or "Smart Phone", while less people know "SMART" stands for Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology. SMART objects and processes have gained awareness where they were once considered inanimate.

Not only have advances in technology brought new efficiencies to the purchasing process for small businesses, but the benefits of innovation and digital procurement solutions have introduced a variety of fresh ideas and approaches from this resulting innovation.

Using digital procurement solutions not only enables small businesses to more easily pinpoint cost savings, reveal opportunities, and turn insights into action, but business leaders get time back to invest in organizational strategy and business growth.

Small businesses can leverage the power of machine learning technology and use these solutions to find and purchase business products from other small and local businesses. In turn, this helps their small business community and local economy.

Exclusive pricing and products

Digital procurement solutions simplify the buying process, helping small businesses easily purchase business-relevant products while shifting spend to support other small and local businesses.

Businesses can shop from hundreds of thousands of sellers, buy products in bulk, and access quantity discounts on supplies, which starts with the purchases of two or more of the same products.

The purchasing platform does the work of finding, retaining, and nurturing suppliers. Businesses can then create buying policies to prefer sellers based on criteria that match the company's values and goals, choosing suppliers with certifications for diversity, local businesses, and more sustainable products.

Simplify and organize purchases

Organizational purchasing goals can be proactively measured by tracking purchases of products from certified local businesses and can also be filtered by certification, zip code, city, and state.

Once small businesses can locate and purchase products from other small and local businesses, the process becomes simple and repeatable. This allows small business owners to introduce more organization to their purchasing, while also benefiting from a more simplified purchasing process, overall.

Small businesses can now easily separate work from personal purchases, automate buying and shipping preferences, create out-of-the-box reports, and streamline the entire procurement process.

From building to booming:

Current innovations in purchasing can help identify purchasing behavior, discover new products and sellers, and measure progress toward purchasing goals. Small businesses can continue to focus on building and growing, along with pinpointing opportunities for savings, while also helping support other businesses in their communities.

Whether your small business is a recent startup or a quickly-growing organization, digital procurement solutions help make running your small business easier while connecting you with other small businesses. As a collective, you can keep lights on throughout both your digital and physical "Main Street" which, in turn, benefits your own small business.
Andrew Turner

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

GM/Sales Leader | SMB & Demand Generation, Amazon Business

Andrew Turner is a General Manager for the Commercial Sector at Amazon Business, where he leads Demand Generation, Inside Sales, and the sales team for Small and Medium Businesses (SMB). Andrew joined Amazon eight years ago. In that time, he has expanded Alexa's language capabilities to customers outside of the U.S. by supporting new languages and device launches. He also led Amazon Canada’s Softlines business, with responsibility for the overall management, operation, and growth of product categories including clothing, shoes, jewelry, watches, and luggage. Before Amazon, Andrew worked at Eddie Bauer, founded his own business (Workshop Shirt Company), and began his career at Bain & Company. He lives outside Boston with his wife and two kids (and dog, Molly), and enjoys running, gardening, men's league ice hockey, and Chicago sports (Go Cubs/Bears/Hawks!).


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