LoveLocal Maryland: Big ideas for small business
Throughout the economic crisis, there's been a load of lip service paid to the important role small businesses play in driving our economy -- how they employ more than half of all private-sector employees, pay nearly half of all U.S. private payroll, generate almost two-thirds of net new jobs, yadda, yadda, yadda.
The numbers are impressive, and yeah, it's all true -- small businesses really do drive much of our economy. But it's time, as they say, to put our money where our mouths are -- to back up all that talk with some action that serves as evidence of our commitment to making small businesses work.
Enter LoveLocal Maryland.
It's a program aimed at supporting small businesses and connecting them to consumers through the combined efforts of a major media partner and nine organizations that represent more than 30,000 businesses.
Here's how the program's supporters describe it:
"With the LoveLocal Maryland program, small businesses -- the biggest job creators in the American economy -- get sales and marketing tools so that they can compete with big businesses. Consumers get to learn about businesses in their community and help support the local economy and those job generators.
"... Consumers can search by community and proximity to their location. This is a great feature for both consumers who are Maryland residents looking for a specific kind of business near them and for tourists who are constantly in search of businesses in an unfamiliar place."
The businesses themselves will have access to such sales and marketing tools as Web pages, e-coupons, text messaging, e-mail blasts, customer management tools, enhanced search engine features, social networking, and maps and directions. (MACPA members will get a 20 percent discount when they subscribe to the full set of sales and marketing tools. That comes to $78 per year, $6.50 per month or 21 cents per day.)
The program was initiatived by the folks at WBAL-TV, and we here at the MACPA are proud to throw our support behind it. Joining us in endorsing and supporting the program are:
- the Maryland Chamber of Commerce,
- the Restaurant Association of Maryland,
- the Maryland Retailers Association,
- the Maryland Hotel and Lodging Association,
- the Maryland Tourism Council,
- the Maryland Hispanic Chamber,
- the Maryland Bankers Association, and
- the Greater Baltimore Committee.
We're convinced this is an important program that offers significant benefits for Maryland's small businesses and consumers alike. Help us make it work.