In their Global Millennial Survey taken in 2019, Deloitte found that fewer and fewer millennials have positive opinions of businesses – Deloitte concluded that this is the result of “growing views that businesses focus on their own agendas rather than considering wider society,” which 76% of respondents agreed with.
It’s no wonder when there are seemingly constant headlines about fraud, labor force abuses, environmental degradation around the world, price gouging, abusing consumer data, cutting corners that potentially impact consumer safety, and even contributing to global conflicts.
The truth is, they are right to have a healthy skepticism of big businesses – we all should. A company makes a large donation to an environmental or social justice cause. It’s possible they’re trying to cover up some past abuses. You’re given a free trial subscription to a service. They’ll likely capture your credit card information, start charging you shortly after and then make it impossible to cancel. Unfortunately, because their sole focus is their bottom line and their shareholders’ returns, their motives should be questioned at every pass.
But it is important to make the distinction that big businesses – large national and international corporations – are not the same as small businesses – the independents that line our Main Streets and add color to our downtowns, and are deeply invested in our local communities.
While big businesses have been price gouging throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses have been donating protective gear to hospitals and food to frontline workers.
When big banks caused the housing crash in 2008, local banks have been working on solutions to Cape Cod’s own attainable housing crisis by providing resources to organizations like Housing Assistance Corporation, Habitat for Humanity Cape Cod and the Lower Cape CDP.
As online behemoth’s like Amazon copy small entrepreneur’s products listed on their site and give preference to their version in a consumer’s search, independent retailers on Cape Cod continually support local artisans and creators by stocking them in their stores and hosting them for pop-up events.
And as more and more multinational corporations are accused of worker exploitation, small businesses all over the world are finding creative ways to show their staff appreciation, and local businesses are supporting our future workforce by providing mentorship, apprenticeship and internship opportunities through Cape Cod Community College, tech schools and programs like Cape Cod Workforce Investment Board’s ArtWorks program.
So, you see, not all business is created equal, they don’t all operate in the same way and thus they shouldn’t be seen in the same light. In the case of being in business, being “small” is a good thing, because as it turns out the positive impact of independent businesses on communities like Cape Cod and society in general is actually not so small.