As a local small business owner, you’re trained to not like large national and multinational corporations. Afterall, they’re competing for your customers, they’re often offered larger tax breaks and subsidies that aren’t available to local businesses, and they seemingly have an unlimited amount of resources and even deeper pockets.
But have you ever stopped to think about the positives? Just like anything else in life, it’s all about perspective, right? So let’s examine what happens when big American companies descend on local communities from a glass half full perspective.
Amazon Put Seattle Back On The Map
Since 1994, Seattle Washington has been the only U.S. headquarters for Jeff Bezos’ startup turned multimillion company, Amazon. That is until last September when the company announced its public Request For Proposals (RFP) for its second North American headquarters, appropriately named HQ2.
While Amazon has yet to announce the winning city (they have narrowed it down to 20 finalists), their public RFP process has generated 238 proposals from cities, regions, provinces, districts, and territories across North America.
The bids include anything from standard tax breaks to officials offering to rename their town to Amazon if the tech giant chooses their city as its new digs. Cities and towns are bending over backward to attract Amazon to their small corner of the world. And why not? Have you seen what it’s done to Seattle’s economy?
Since Amazon moved its headquarters to downtown Seattle in 2010, they have added 40,000 jobs and an additional 53,000 jobs in the city as a result. They’ve paid 43 million into the city’s public transportation system and helped attract 24 Fortune 500 companies to set up engineering and R&D campuses in Seattle.
One highly underrated benefit is the impact it has on surrounding small businesses. Especially if its an open campus facility, which Amazon is. If you own a downtown eatery that is only open for dinner because breakfast and lunch were just not turning a profit for you, the emergence of Amazon could quickly change all that. Thousands of workers will start stopping in for their morning cup of joe, coming in for a quick bite at lunch, or ordering carryout and take their lunch back to their desk.
This shift in peak times can quickly turn your business upside down. Breakfast and lunch can quickly become your biggest profit makers and dinner may have an even bigger appeal if you throw in a weekday happy hour hook.
In order to keep up with this influx of business, chances are you’ll need to hire more hourly employees and find a free employee scheduling platform like Homebase to help you manage the new hires.You’ll also have to make larger inventory purchases and find other ways to make your business more efficient and streamlined now that you have all these new regular customers to serve.
Too much business is always a good problem to have.
Twitter’s Character Expansion In San Francisco
In 2012 microblogging powerhouse, Twitter moved from its swanky offices in San Francisco’s trendy Mission District to one of the bleakest neighborhoods in the city, Mid-Market. Mid-Market is a subsection of an area known as the Tenderloin neighborhood that has 35 times more violent crimes than the rest of the city.
So why did Twitter choose to give up its trendy location for such a desolate neighborhood? Because of tax breaks. San Francisco offered a huge tax incentive to businesses willing to stay in the city, and more specifically, move their offices to the Mid-Market neighborhood. It’s often referred to as the ‘Twitter tax’ because they were one of the first to move into the area.
According to the mayor’s administration, since the tax incentive was approved, 18 technology companies, 17 small businesses, and eight art venues have opened in the area.
Although the tech companies provide hundreds if not thousands of jobs, more than likely, many of these are highly skilled positions such as developers or engineers – positions that many of the neighborhood residents might not be qualified to fill.
Which is why those 17 small businesses and eight venues that moved in are just as important as those high-paying tech jobs.Small businesses are more likely to hire neighborhood residents as hourly employees and give them an opportunity that was not previously available to them.
Google Is Growing In Boulder
In 2006, Google laid its roots in Boulder when it acquired a 3D modeling software company, Sketchup. Although six years later in 2012 Google sold the technology, their roots remain in Colorado – and they’re expanding.
Not only did they expand their office space to include a new four-acre campus, but they also purchased the land and the buildings as part of the completion of phase one. The new campus is expected to house nearly 1,500 workers in addition to the over 650 people it already employees in Boulder.
While Google’s campus is pretty self-contained, workers can eat, rest, practice yoga, and walk their dogs, employees won’t be living there – at least not officially. During their off-time, these employees and their families are going to eat, shop, and go on adventures in communities in or around the local communities.
Local businesses like yours are where these Googlers are going to spend their free time. They’re going to eat at your restaurant with their families. They’re going to go to your bar for a night out. They’re going to book birthday parties for their kids at your indoor trampoline park. Or better yet, they’re going to create a need for a business that doesn’t even exist in your city yet – a business idea for a budding entrepreneur like you.
The bottom line is that there is always going to be a difference of opinion and many, many different point-of-views. However, the key is to look past some of the more perceived negatives and into the long-term future of what these technology sector giants can do for the city they choose to call home.
When American companies set up shop in a new city, local businesses, the local economy, and residents have a lot to gain.