I’ve given several talks to various groups about how many cabinet shops and custom woodworkers don’t take credit for some of their environmentally sound things they do just as a matter of being efficient businesses. Another part of the “green” equation is sourcing and doing as much business as close as possible to your location to help keep your carbon footprint small. Of course, with $4-a-gallon gas, that just makes good business sense, too. More importantly, having local focus and even teaming up with your neighbors may be one of your most powerful business tools.

In this issue, we have a great example of that with the story about Superior Woodcraft Inc. in Doylestown, Pa. They teamed up with other local businesses in the Doylestown Business and Community Alliance and welcomed more than 400 local business representatives to their shop for a big buy-local networking event. Lots of the people and businesses there had nothing to do with woodworking or construction. They include a fair number of food vendors, who are way ahead in the local networking game with the increased emphasis on so-called “locavores” who try to eat mostly locally produced food products.

So many shop owners seem to find networking and marketing in general such an odious task. This will be the bane of their businesses if it is not already in this slowly recovering economy. People like to buy from people they know. If they don’t know you they probably won’t buy from you. Local marketing and networking is one of the most powerful tools you have for letting people nearby know what you do. Hiding out in the shop to “get more work done” won’t help if you don’t have any work to do. And the folks from Superior Woodcraft found they could network without even leaving their shop by inviting the local business community to make the shop a convention center for a day.

What are you doing to build business close to home?

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