In this segment, let’s narrow in on #5 of iDentonfy’s 10 Immutable Laws – Encouraging Collaboration. Specifically, I’d like to focus on the business side of the equation because that’s where I personally find things really interesting. We can probably all agree that in order to maintain a business, one must purchase products or services from other businesses (otherwise known as Business-to-Business, or B2B). While this vital part of our economy is often overlooked or even taken for granted, it should go without saying that we always have a choice in the matter. This choice, it turns out, can actually have a significant impact on the overall prosperity and resiliency of our community!
One of the things I love most about the iDentonfy platform is its clear vision that “building economy is more than building business; it’s building community”. That’s a lot of things being built, but the point is that we are ultimately stronger together. There are so many ways to approach this goal, and it’s worth exploring all of them, but for the time I want to bring to light three truths that result from the choices our business leaders make when participating in a collaborative community.
- When you support other local businesses, more jobs and better paying jobs become available to your fellow community members.
- When you support other local businesses, you directly reduce your environmental footprint by conserving energy and resources.
- When you support other local businesses, more dollars get re-circulated in the local economy than does that same support for national stores.
Another way to look at this is – People, Planet, Profit – the theory that business owners should be aiming for the Triple Bottom Line whenever possible. I sometimes like to refer to it more plainly as a classic Win-Win-Win situation for everyone involved. The difference of this from a “win-win” being that Mother Nature also gets in on the action! For all you individuals out there, keep in mind that these same truths apply to your own consumer choices – it’s all relative!
Encouraging collaboration is best realized when the people on either side of the table perceive a value to gained from the relationship. Take for example the affiliation between a local farmer and an independent restaurant manager. The traditional form of collaboration here is that the farmer would supply the restaurant with a bunch of salad greens. Working through the three suggested benefits created by this transaction, let’s explore the direct and indirect effect to the community:
- The Farmer
- Earning a contract with a restaurant can be one of the most promising deals because they gain the security of selling larger quantities of their product to a consistent source. It allows them to plan their growing season with some extra assurances and potentially hire more staff to help fulfill the orders on a timely basis.
- The Restaurant
- Offering locally produced greens on your menu raises the quality of your meals because its often more fresh and less chemically intensive than national delivery services. Not only will better food options increase loyalty from your existing customers, but it can also attract new foodies that get word of your delicious eats.
- The Environment
- Emissions created by transportation are the #1 contributor to our increasingly polluted air quality. Anytime that we can reduce the distance that a product has to travel we are reducing that burden. Purchasing local produce also reduces the amount of packaging materials because it doesn’t need to be as protected or preserved as the produce that travels across the country in large containers.
- The Community
- Some statisticians estimate that up to 65% of each dollar earned by these individuals would then get reinvested in the same community (compared to 35% for chain establishments). These dollars boosts the local economy and help to distribute the value among more of your neighbors.
There are probably many more direct and indirect benefits that this relationship has on the community, but these few examples should serve as a taste (no pun intended) of the great things that result from building a collaborative business community. Extra security, more jobs, better product quality, increased sales, improved air quality, reduced waste, local reinvestment…these are substantial topics when we talk about them in terms of our society. When we start to connect the dots and see how simple actions like this example can positively impact our community, it’s hard to think of doing it any way else, right?
Denton, and its business community, is fortunate in some respects because we happen to be a part of the DFW metropolitan economy. According to some data centers that have compared our collective economic activity to those of other States and Countries, North Texas would rank in the Top 10 nationally and Top 25 globally. This is no small feat – Denton is a major contributor to one of the largest economies in the world!
With so much wealth being potentially distributed in our community, the single most significant thing our business leaders can do to improve our shared prosperity is choosing to support other local businesses for the products and services they need to operate. Now it’s true that satisfying this goal 100% of the time is very challenging to accomplish. After all, we probably don’t locally produce every single commodity required to maintain a business, nor do we produce enough of an item to supply everyone. These realities of supply and demand, particularly on a local scale, cannot be neglected when you try to tackle this conversation.
I understand that we cannot presently fulfill 100% of our needs by strictly supporting other local businesses, so the real question is “what CAN we do?”. It is this question that I will explore over the next few weeks with the assistance of our growing iDentonfy business members. We will acknowledge the collaborations that are already happening in Denton and then discuss potential areas of opportunity where we can strengthen this form resiliency. My hope is that while celebrating our existing achievements, we may also be inspired to do more – to Encourage Collaboration!