Every town salivates when a giant corporation glances in their direction to maybe build a facility there. It turns out those giants are not good for the health of the people who live there.
Big is not healthy in business, either.
A comprehensive study of all 3,007 counties in America shows a direct and consistent correlation between a higher density of locally owned businesses, and the health of everyone living there. Want to be healthy? Ask your city counsel to stop chasing giant corporations to come to your town, and ask them to promote local small businesses instead.
It turns out the health benefits of Giant Corporation, Inc. aren’t anywhere near as helpful as a high density of locally owned and very small businesses. Research now confirms that the counties with the fewest locally owned businesses have the highest mortality, obesity, diabetes and other bad health indicators, and those with the most locally owned businesses have the best health rates in America.
Isn’t big, better, though?
One of the many assumptions of the Industrial Age was that Giant Corporation, Inc. could provide better for your family and your community than a bunch of local-yocal small businesses. So why doesn’t it work out that way?
Giant corporations are the best at talking a good game. They point to better individual health benefits as proof they take better care of you than the locals. But what they don’t point to is where their heart is, and it’s not in the local community. It’s not even where their corporate headquarters is. It’s with their investors.
Where is the heart of the local business owner? Right where they live. They are much more inclined to build a community infrastructure that makes life better for all of us than Giant Corporation, Inc. And everyone who lives there is healthier as a result.
Ownership is Powerful Voodoo
We all understand that locals take pride in their communities. But it’s much deeper than that worn phrase. They take ownership. Everyone who lives there takes ownership, not just the business owners. They all “own” the local community in a very real way. It’s their brand, their identity, their view of the world, their “team”. People who live locally give back to their local communities.
Local Business is the Benefactor
Why does little Toledo, Ohio have the #1 zoo Releases/2014/TZ_best_zoo_in_US.pdf in the entire U.S.? Why are there such fantastic world-class museums in Kansas City, Missouri? What makes one county in Colorado the healthiest community in America, with no giant corporations? All of these have come about because of locally involved business owners, not big companies with headquarters somewhere else.
With rare exceptions, the new wing on a local hospital is going to be named after some local business owner or doctor who donated their personal wealth to make it happen. The same is true of countless parks, museums, playhouses, live theaters, and soup kitchens. And service oriented clubs like Rotary, Kiwanis, Elks, Lions, the farmers market and the local flower club are all started and led by people who have a deep commitment to the health and beauty of their local communities.
The research also shows small businesses with fewer than five employees are more likely to promote great local hospitals, recruit physicians, promote community health programs/activities and support local farmers’ markets.
Not so much
Your mother told you to work for Giant Corporation, Inc. so you could have great health benefits and a pension plan. But benefits, salaries and pension plans from large companies have dropped 33% in the last 30 years and the LSU research says there isn’t much of a gap anymore between big and small businesses. Professional Employment Organizations—PEOs, who provide benefits to small businesses, have done a lot to fill that gap.
Challenge your local government
Do you want a healthy community? Make sure your local government isn’t worshiping at the altar of big business tax breaks, special land deals and exceptions to rules that local business owners will never see. The study shows all that only hurts your community in the long run.
We’re made to live locally. It’s great to see research proving it. Again.
Article as seen on Inc.com