We at ShopKeep POS are proud to introduce you to our new blog: Counter Culture
Counter Culture is dedicated to the impressive entrepreneurs who stand behind some of our fastest-growing local stores and restaurants. While this a new name for our blog, we’ve been using the term internally here at ShopKeep for some time now, because we think it perfectly encapsulates the movement that is fundamentally transforming the world of small business today.
For a long time, the prevailing narrative on “Main Street” was one of seemingly inevitable decay, in which local mom-and-pop shops were destined for obliteration at the hands of monolithic big-box retailers and impersonal e-commerce players. However, as with all the best subversive movements in history, there currently exists in this country a rising tide of forward-thinking small business owners who have refused to accept the alleged status quo.
These local entrepreneurs are reshaping our economic landscape from behind their store counters by embracing technology to break the small business mold. They are running their affairs in a lean, data-led way; embracing the web to reach, engage, and retain customers; using technology to run efficient operations and optimize profits; and placing innovation at the heart of how they run their businesses.
Counter Culture is a place for aspiring and existing brick-and-mortar business owners to become part of this community. Featuring profiles of small business innovators, along with tips and tricks on every aspect of local business, we hope you find it an inspirational and useful resource.
For those of you on the more aspirational side who are considering opening your own store or restaurant, you should also be sure to check out our definitive guide to local entrepreneurship, Small Business 101. It provides a great introduction to everything you need to know to start and grow your small business.
To celebrate the launch of this new community, Jason Richelson, Founder and CEO of ShopKeep POS, has taken some time to share what Counter Culture stands for here at ShopKeep.
Counter Culture: The Rising Tide of Small Business
It has been one of the great fortunes of my life in small business, (first as a retailer at The Greene Grape and now as the founder of ShopKeep POS) that I am able to spend a large part of any given week meeting with the entrepreneurs that stand behind our nation’s local storefronts.
It has been a turbulent decade for this community, with many hit hard by natural disasters (Sandy, Katrina, et al.) and many more hit just as hard or harder by the economic recession. Nevertheless, in my experience, small business owners remain resilient and optimistic. And they have good reason to be so positive!
Every time I see a forty-something baker from Billings, Montana using an iPad to take payments, or a sixty-something garden center operator from Newbury Park, California using email marketing software to promote their business, I’m reminded that we are living through a time of extraordinary upheaval and opportunity for small business owners.
Up until about ten years ago, if you wanted to use that kind of technology in your business, you’d have needed to take out a second mortgage to foot the bill – and then hire a team of experts to show you how it worked. And that’s if it even existed! Not anymore.
These days, a lot of this software is available for less than the price of a good meal. What’s more, the growing “consumerization” of these products has made them more usable than ever before. It is difficult to overestimate the economic implications of these changes. Simply put:
The growing availability, affordability, and usability of retail and restaurant technologies is causing a fundamental shift in power away from big-box retailers and chain restaurants in favor of small, local businesses.
Big-box stores have been able to dominate our retail and restaurant landscape by providing a consistency of service, by constantly optimizing prices, and by maintaining a ruthless control on their operating costs. And you know how they’ve done it? Technology. Technology for inventory management, detailed data analytics, automated payroll, and a whole lot more.
The ability to compete at scale is defined by the ability to automate processes and make intelligent, data-led decisions which ensure efficiency and maximize profitability.
For those of us who love diversity and originality – and who recognize the value of local entrepreneurship to the economy – the fact that we can bring some of this efficiency and advanced analytics to the small business community is a huge opportunity. The technology that big businesses have had at their disposal for thirty years is now in the hands of the guy running your local bodega, the mom-and-pop behind your neighborhood soda fountain, and the young entrepreneur starting a new food truck.
Thankfully this doesn’t mean that we’re going to end up with a thousand new Walmarts suddenly competing at massive scale. What it does mean is that we can expect to see an empowered, thriving small business environment that is able to challenge the status quo. And I, for one, am extremely happy to see this realignment happen.
If you’d like to contribute to Counter Culture, have a question about retail or restaurant technology, or would just like to reach out, you can contact us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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