Survey: ‘Buy Local’ helped small firms’ holiday sales

A new survey concludes that Buy Local campaigns may be raising awareness among shoppers and making a difference for small businesses.

Independent retailers in cities with active Buy Local or Think Local First campaigns reported stronger holiday sales than those in cities without such campaigns, according to a survey of more than 1,800 independent businesses by the Institiute for Local Self-Reliance.

The study, conducted in partnership with business organizations such as the American Independent Business Alliance, found that retailers in cities with such campaigns reported an increase of 3 percent in holiday sales, compared wih an increase of 1 percent in cities without active initiatives.

That’s good news for Orlando small businesses. The city launched a Buy Local campaign last April, in an effort to keep residents’ dollars inside city limits.

For more information on the local campaign, visit

Credit, earnings hurt sales

Limited access to credit and lower earnings made it difficult for business owners to sell their companies last year, according to a report by, a Web site that lists businesses for sale by brokers and owners.

Orlando business-for-sale transactions in 2009 were down 13 percent compared with 2008. During the year, reported 144 sales in the area, with a median sale price of $122,000, or about 86 percent of the median asking price. Buyers paid on average 0.61 times the business’ annual revenue and 1.87 times its cash flow.

BizBuySell’s fourth-quarter report showed the median asking price of businesses for sale in the Orlando area at year’s end was $176,000, based on 772 listings. That was down from a median of $200,000 at the end of the fourth quarter of 2008.

Score’s Top Tips for 2010

The business-counseling group Score has some advice on how to be successful in 2010.

Among its tips:

  • Build your customer base with new products, multiple price points and packages.
  • Consult experts and get feedback from trustworthy advisers, including free Score mentors.
  • Add a Web site with e-commerce capability and secure all variations of your company’s domain name.
  • Use events such as demonstrations, trunk shows and classes to attract customers.
  • Track cash flow and collect receivables within 30 days.
  • Have a business plan ready for potential lenders.
  • Consider forming a limited liability company (LLC) to protect your personal assets and property.

Accepting nominations Ernst & Young its now accepting applications for its annual Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 Awards program, which honors entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

The first level of the nationwide program honors regional entrepreneurs in June but leads up to a national ceremony in November. The deadline to apply is March 19. Self-nominations are encouraged. There is no fee. Information is available at

Just starting up?

Learn to write a successful business plan at a seminar this week organized by the University of Central Florida’s Small Business Development Center. “The Ultimate Business Plan: A Hands-on Workshop” is scheduled for Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. From identifying your target market to financial projections, the seminar will guide entrepreneurs through key sections of a business plan. By following step-by-step instructions, businesses will leave with a plan on paper. Visit to register.

Briefly… Disney Entrepreneur Center sponsor Banco Popular renewed its funding commitment for another three years. The Orlando-based company has been a sponsor since the center opened in 2003.

Sara K. Clarke can be reached at or 407-420-5664.

Read the article at the Orlando Sentinel


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