Are ‘sponge cities’ killing your community?

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There should be no surprises, or complaints if you let your community become run down.

 

Perceptions about a community can become real

If the people in your community are spending their money elsewhere is is most likely because they automatically think the local businesses are not good enough, The ranges are poor and the service is second-rate,

Perceptions can influence people’s beliefs when comparing the local offering with that of nearby ‘sponge cities’, in fact, any community that is larger than theirs.  As an owner or manager, how you speak, how you carry yourself and physical appearances, can give outlasting impressions.

When you are losing customers, have you ever thought about how people perceive you and your business? Try asking old customers and others just how you are different and what you need to do to win customers back to your business and community.

Recognise that a larger community is not necessarily your competition. If the community is larger they could well have a lot of advantages that you won’t because of their size and purchasing power.

Don’t try to compete on those levels. You have a lot of potentials to be better and stronger in ways they can’t. It is likely you are agiler and ready to make changes and adapt to trends and customer requests. You are more likely to know and understand your local people’s problems, frustrations wants and needs.

Your business can connect better on a more personal level with customers, many of whom will be looking for a good relationship. Many now days just want to help the smaller businesses in their community. Use these differences to your advantage and to start to compete for a different business.

 

Communities need to work with the ‘sponge’ cities and towns

Local businesses need to be very sensitive to the activities of ‘sponge cities’, or bigger communities that draw a communities customers away. That is larger cities than them with more variety and superior customer pulling power than they have. Learn more about competing with the big guys.

For communities to really thrive, they need that mix and be very sensitive to the problems, frustrations wants and needs of the people. An imbalance in the business community can easily turn customers away and intensify the competition when a particular segment is over catered for. For example too many restaurants over and above the needs of the community, the visitors and tourists.

When it comes to healthcare and social services, smaller communities will always find it hard. However, it’s a matter of finding ways and means of encouraging the people in the smaller communities to ‘shop locally’.

It is unfortunate that most people are still unaware of what shopping locally really means in the longer term. A few dollars saved today can never make up for the demise of a community. If you don’t support you local doctors and other health professionals you will lose them

 

When urgent attention is needed in communities

Most communities are dotted with a diverse range of unique retail stores, tourist attractions, manufacturers, community organisations and service providers. The majority of which are independently owned and operated.

A healthy community has a good mix of commercial, retail, restaurants, sporting and recreational facilities, services and residential. You want to have many different kinds of activities, so you bring many different kinds of people into the shopping centres and other areas of the communities. You want to keep all sections of the community functioning well.

It’s those businesses, along with the coffee shops and restaurants that draw shoppers and travellers to the area, helping to create a bustling and growing community. Without the hustle and bustle, the communities can start to decline. Drown out the naysayers and negative people with positive talk and action.

The community leaders should always pay urgent attention to see that any vacancies left by strong business people and filled quickly. There is nothing more depressing than going into communities where there are many empty premises. Landlords need to be supportive in ways that they can find new tenants, not just hanging out for the ‘top’ dollar.

 

[read more=”Personal Experience” less=”Personal Experience”]

Personal Experience:

I see communities that appear to be lucky, communities have been very lucky to have a pretty strong retail environment compared to other areas.

This is mostly because they have some enlightened community leaders and landlords. People who have protected key businesses by supporting them and by welcoming a diversity of businesses that make up the right mix of products and services.

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