This article on ‘keeping it local’ was written by Lightfoot and first published in Grow Exeter magazine. Grow Exeter a fantastic publication reporting relentlessly positive news in our hometown of Exeter. Check out the amazing work the Grow team do here.
The world is changing.
National brands no longer seek headquarters or PO boxes in London for the sake of credibility. Smaller, up and coming cities like Exeter are becoming hives of innovation and success, with businesses looking within their local vicinity for support, advice and opportunities.
But as brands grow and their reach expands, it’s easy to be tempted by the lights of the big city. It’s a common trap to fall into. Once you reach a certain size, the inclination to seek out suppliers from further afield is certainly hard to ignore – after all, big brands work with big brands, don’t they?
In this current climate, though, does it really make more sense? Brexit is looming, costs are forever rocketing, and the question remains: do you really have to go to London, New York or Tokyo to find the quality you’re after? And if the answer is yes, are you sure you will receive maximum value for your efforts?
Here at Lightfoot, we are strong believers in keeping things local. It’s the safest and surest way of keeping your business firing on all cylinders. It’s an intrinsic part of the drive for quality, authenticity, and retention of core values that every business, big or small, should focus on.
You keep costs down
Local suppliers tend to mean cheaper products or services, as you aren’t paying the price of transport in an age where fuel costs the earth.
You will be greener
Hand in hand with the above, reducing distance means reducing emissions, and with the world as it is, seeking the most sustainable option is very wise.
You stand out from the crowd
Working with local businesses enhances yours. It will give your business an identity, character, and a place in the local ecosystem that will help in more ways than you might first think.
You help your community
Putting money back into the local community encourages a more circular economy, rather than lining the pockets of some unknown CEO halfway across the world.
You build everyone up
Working with local businesses gives them (and you) more reach, more publicity, and more potential customers. As you grow together, your area will become known for its community connectedness.
It can be easier for some businesses than others to build local suppliers into their supply chain and daily operations, but everyone can do it in some small way.
As a case in point, let’s look at Lightfoot – after all, we know us better than anyone else!
We are an automotive engineering business. Our technology is pretty niche and we have worked hard to keep everything in-house, meaning there isn’t a lot that can be outsourced or easily serviced by the local business community.
This doesn’t mean we can’t support local companies, though. We have found that one of the most accessible and enjoyable ways of doing this is through food and drink.
Meetings are a part of everyone’s workday, try as we might to avoid them. When we were based in Exeter, we used the maestros at Taste and nobody left our office hungry. Now that we are based just outside of Chudleigh, we use the masterful Born n Bread and couldn’t be happier with the amazing food they make.
Our new home also means there are a number of fantastic local cafes, delis and eateries for our staff to enjoy at lunchtime – if you’re ever in the area, check out Sangers for some great value, top-notch grub!
In the office
We’re perfectly happy with tap water but sometimes, you need to step things up a level. Luckily for us, the fantastic Devonia Water is based nearby and provide some of Devon’s finest spring water – still and sparkling – in reusable glass bottles.
They even collect empty bottles, sterilise and refill them, and return them as part of their business model. A totally closed-loop, zero-waste system – we love everything about it and couldn’t recommend them highly enough!
The days of the water cooler and flimsy plastic cups are long gone.
Perks, prizes, and partners
Lightfoot’s prize offering is one of our favourite ways of showing off the South West as a hub for craft, creativity, and creation. Some of our favourite prize partners are hand-selected Devon businesses who give our drivers a true taste of everything Devon has to offer.
Sewing local businesses into the fabric of yours is achievable at all levels and vastly rewarding.
You could be a freelancer meeting a client at an independent café. You could be a startup getting branded clothing designed and printed by a local printer. You could be hiring your 100th employee through a local recruitment consultant. The size of your business doesn’t matter – the results will always be the same:
A strong and thriving local business community, personal and professional connections within it, and a healthy dose of hometown pride.