Monday, August 5, 2013
The keynote speaker at the Aug. 4 LocalShops1's 5th Birthday Bash & Best in Biz Awards was Daniel James Scott, of USF-St Petersburg Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Innovation Alliance and SBA's Small Business Advocate of the Year. Here is his speech:
Good morning! Welcome to the stunning Safety Harbor
Resort & Spa.
My wife and I took the opportunity to
take a walk around the place a bit before coming in, and all I can say is *wow*
- this place is first class!
We’ve held this event at some impressive
locations, yet I have to say that *this* takes the birthday cake. I know first hand that stepping up an
event like this every year is not easy, so let’s thank Ester, Mo and team for
putting this together for us. Can we give them a quick round of
In preparation for today, Ester and Mo
have been posting some of Rob Moorman’s beautiful photos from last year’s
event. Which got me thinking about all that
has changed over the last year, and the number of great successes that have
For me personally, my wife and I
celebrated our 5 year anniversary, we welcomed two nephews into the world, and I,
you know, cut my hair.
Professionally, the Entrepreneurship
program at USFSP is going tremendously well, with both the program and students
winning prestigious national awards. My
small business, Alorum, in its 7th year is launching its first
product at the end of the summer.
My community, in St. Petersburg (aside
from the Rays, Lens and political campaigning) is getting recognition for the
*right* reasons with Sean Kennedy’s work to establish the Greenhouse, TEDx
being announced and Startup Weekend having taken place there, and almost half
the nominees today from our city.
And although my last 12 months has
been incredible, you all have had a banner year.
For one, you are still here.
Which we shouldn’t take for granted,
you have done something most don’t.
And even when they do, a quarter of
your peers didn’t make it the first year.
Heck, we’re giving an award today,
specifically for businesses that have been around for more than 5 years.
To make it that far, more than half
the firms they started with never made it to today.
As they push toward 10 years, these
entrepreneurs will see around 2/3rds of their peers disappear.
You have done some incredible things.
My wife and I had the pleasure of
visiting Shopapalooza this year, also in St. Petersburg, and what an event.
Arguably the best yet, although you
didn’t stop there. You all kept pushing forward with new,
novel and innovative gatherings. Events that truly showcased the pride
you take in your businesses.
And pride is the keystone, in my
opinion, to why this year has been just so magical for you.
We’ve transformed pride in ourselves
and our products into a mutual respect for each other.
We have grown our community pride, and
it has become contagious.
And because of this is exactly why you
are a part of LocalShops1.
Exactly why you donate more, on
average, to local charities and community organizations than the chains did last
Another reason you are part of
LocalShops1 is that it is a proven fact that independent retailers that
participate in a "buy local” initiatives grow twice as fast as their peers that
Now this is interesting.
You may be asking yourself, like I
did, why this is the case.
Which brings us back to pride.
I, as a business owner, believe in
We, as business owners, believe in
I as a consumer believe in… well… me.
Shopping is one of the few remaining
unabashedly selfish activities we are allowed.
Hell, shopping is war… with oodles of
tiny battles firing shots of powerful endorphins into our self-absorbed brains…
and making us, as business owners, the enemies!
I know what you’re thinking.
"My customers don’t believe that.”
And they may not, but your customers
have seen the light, most have not.
"But, Daniel, virtually every survey
of consumers shows that they believe shopping local is important.”
Of course they say they believe that.
Pardon my bluntness, but nobody wants to
look like they aren’t part of the team. Aren’t supporting their community. Realistically, most are not where it
counts, with their wallets.
And if their own identity is busy
being burdened by their own needs, and not tied to how, where or why they shop,
what can we do?
Can we do anything?
Well, I propose we can, and should,
feed into the buyers brain, without directly attempting them to change how they
I propose this as the goal for next
Consumers win those buying battles
when their brains feel in control. Their minds fear any vulnerability and
crave power. Power over us.
And we have the tools to empower their
innate sense of authority.
First, remind shoppers that choice
always trumps limited options.
Diversity is a game played daily, with
ever dollar spent.
We, as buyers, don’t get to control
much of our spend, only around a quarter of every dollar a consumer spends is
on the fun stuff… the stuff that allows our brain to release those pleasing
chemicals… the stuff we have the choice to source locally or not.
Choosing big box, or the internet,
over independents creates less options and, therefore, less competition.
The world will adopt to their dollar.
And I say watch out what you wish for.
Big follows efficient.
Efficiency leads to less options.
Less options equals less endorphins.
Our brains are addicted to finding new
And these all start local.
Point #1: Buying local ensures more choice and
options improve my life.
Second, we need to remind to customers
that more money spent locally directly correlates to building a better place to
You, consumers, have the control!
You have the power!
Local spending means local prosperity.
Money spent at local businesses
generates 3.5x more wealth for the local economy compared to money spent at
This isn’t about making anyone filthy
rich; it is about keeping local money local.
$1 of every $15 in Florida’s GDP is
income pushed out to small business owners… you all.
And that cash is twice as likely to be
spent buying goods and services from other local businesses.
When you shop at chains, that money
Your cash leaves the hood.
How dramatic is this problem?
Spending $100 at an independent
business creates $68 in local economic activity.
That same $100 only $43 at a big box.
Let’s get specific.
Spending $100 at Target keeps only $16
local. That amount doubles at an
Plus, a Target next door hurts your
A mix of local shops add to it.
Point #2: Buying local make my home, literally
and figuratively, more valuable.
Third, we should reinforce the fact
that big boxes cost more than just checkout prices… and give us less control
over our spend.
Let me explain.
This past year, Florida spent
approximately $183 million for "economic development” (read buying jobs from
elsewhere, relocating them, and keeping them here).
Which is odd, since small businesses
generated 65% of net new jobs over the past 20 years.
Just out of curiosity, by a show of
hands, was anyone here "developed” economically by the state last year?
Anyone here get a tax break?
I’ll tell you, one of my favorite
people is Dr. Cynthia Johnson, who helps work with entrepreneurs here in
And has netted considerable returns on
our tax dollar investment.
Pinellas County spends 8x more of your
tax dollars attracting businesses to Pinellas County than supporting
The return on that investment of our
money, as consumers and tax payers, has not been nearly so positive.
Attracting a job costs 10x as much in
tax dollars than developing one.
"Buying” jobs is simply a bad
investment of our tax dollars.
Developing net new jobs costs almost nothing,
improves my life, and makes my home more valuable.
And, if I may add an example here,
these purchased jobs tend to underpay compared with the ones we create.
For example, the average amount of
local wages paid for every $100 check at a full-service chain restaurant is
$18.68, that number jumps by 50% for local full-service restaurants.
Yet we continue to incentivize, just
to build on this flawed metric.
Then, when these bought jobs get here,
they lead directly to destroying more local jobs than they create, continuing
the vicious cycle of poorly spending my money for me.
Continuing even further, the tax
benefits we used to incentivize these acquisitions are proven to be completely
negated by the cost of providing public services to these developments while
declining tax revenue from existing commercial districts.
Point #3: Buying local gives keeps me from
So, to recap, although we have had a
killer year, I believe we can gain even more traction this coming year by taking
the consumer’s side.
Heck, we are all in business to do
these great things anyway.
We want our customers to have a better
We want their homes to be more
We don’t want them getting screwed.
We take pride in what we do, how we do
it, and in what we believe.
Now let’s take this opportunity to let
the world know that buying local does these things for them.
LocalShops1 does these things for
But that’s next year.
Today, we are here to celebrate you.
You’ve made it another year.
You’ve built this community into
You’ve made local pride contagious.
So stand up… come on… stand up… and
give yourselves a huge round of applause!!!
Data from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Statistic Brain, and other public sources was used in this speech.
To learn more why Local Matters, go to LocalShops1.com/why
For more information on LocalShops1 membership, go to LocalShops1.com/join.