The importance of going local and supporting small businesses

By Jon Locklear, wealth Advisor, BT Wealth Advisors | The Bank of Tampa

Small businesses are the often-overlooked lifeblood of the community. The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) defines small businesses as independent businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Having 499 employees—or even 25 employees—who live and work together in a community can create a big financial, and social, impact. Big businesses may generate more advertising and attract more customers, but small businesses make up 99.9% of American businesses, according to the SBA’s Office of Advocacy.

Chances are you know someone who owns, or works for, a small business. It’s nice to support a friend or family member’s small business when you can, but there are also other reasons to support small businesses and shop locally. These include:

  • Investing in your community: Members of your community rely on income from their jobs with small businesses. Also, many small businesses support local charities, and community projects, and tend to donate as much as 250% more than large nonprofits to local nonprofits and causes.
  • Stimulating the local economy: Unlike many big-box retailers that get tax breaks from local governments, small businesses don’t get those benefits. The tax revenue made through your purchases from small businesses supports the local government.
  • Job creation: Small businesses created the majority of net new jobs (17.3 million) between 1995 and 2021.
  • Reducing your carbon footprint: By going to nearby shops instead of out-of-town shopping malls, you can help reduce your environmental impact.
  • Supporting the American dream: Help small-business owners achieve their goals and they may end up inspiring you to pursue a dream you’ve put on hold.

Whether a small business has one employee or 499, it provides important resources and employment opportunities for local residents. Small, local businesses are more likely to use local businesses too, ultimately supporting your community, your friends, neighbors, family members—and you! In addition to purchasing their goods and services, here are some ways to support small businesses:

  • Spread the word: Tell friends and family members what you like about the business, why you support it—and why they should too.
  • Post online reviews: Describe what service you received, or purchase you made, why you like it—and why you support the business. Consider sharing it on social media.
  • Share the business’s posts on social media: If you like something a small business posts on social media, share it! Also consider sharing a review or post about the business that you or one of your friends made.
  • Tell them you appreciate them: Telling the business owner, or employees, how much you like their products, or services, may make an enormous difference in their day—and could positively impact their next customer as well.
  • Buy gift cards: You can help boost sales revenue and then spread your support to the business by giving gift cards to friends or family members.

Helping small businesses succeed strengthens local economies, creates new job opportunities—and sometimes leads to incredible growth. For example, consider the small beginnings of Amazon, Google, Hewlett-Packard and The Walt Disney Co.—and the impact they’ve made. With your help, a small business near you might change the future too.

About the Author

Jon Locklear is a Wealth Advisor with BT Wealth Advisors at The Bank of Tampa. Since joining BT Wealth Advisors, in 2016, Jon has specialized in providing clients with comprehensive financial planning solutions, including customized asset management and holistic planning, designed to address the unique, and complex, needs of his clients. Jon is a graduate of the University of Florida and earned his CFP® Board Certification, in 2009, and his Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy™ designation, in 2018. Jon serves as Chairman of the Board for a Tampa-based non-profit organization and is active in his local church. He lives on Davis Islands with his wife and three daughters.


The Bank of Tampa provides referrals to financial professionals of LPL Financial LLC (“LPL”) pursuant to an agreement that allows LPL to pay The Bank of Tampa for these referrals. This creates an incentive for The Bank of Tampa to make these referrals, resulting in a conflict of interest. The Bank of Tampa is not a current client of LPL for brokerage or advisory services. Please visit for more detailed information.

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. This material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC.

Jon Locklear

Securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC).  Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. The Bank of Tampa and BT Wealth Advisors are not registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives of LPL offer products and services using BT Wealth Advisors and are also employees of The Bank of Tampa. These products and services are being offered through LPL or its affiliates, which are separate entities from, and not affiliates of, The Bank of Tampa or BT Wealth Advisors. Securities and insurance offered through LPL or its affiliates are not FDIC insured, not deposits or other obligations of the Bank, and may lose value.

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