The importance of building a community with your local businesses

January 28, 2022

Colin McAndrew is the Managing Director of Medusa, one of Scotland’s fastest growing salon groups. Here he answers…

Why is it important to build a community with your local businesses? 

Every salon operating knows that doing good hair is the least a client expects when they visit your brand. Today when a consumer chooses to spend their money and time they are looking for more than just a great product. This is true for every business on the high street. Whether you’re a book shop, florist, gift store, opticians or newsagents – we all have to offer our customers more than ever before. Today the consumer will invest their money when there is a connection. Genuine, heartfelt connections build lasting relationships. 

But why should the connection be purely between the consumer and the business? What about business to business? If we each embrace and support the businesses around us it can only benefit everyone involved. Our professional neighbours in one way or another, are facing the same challenges our industry is. I believe in strength in numbers, so at Medusa we are proactively connecting with the businesses around us. From connection comes community.

Medusa is based in Edinburgh and our six salon locations are split between city centre and village settings. Obviously being based in a city has its advantages but sometimes it can lack that community feel. Equally, those on the outskirts can feel they miss out on opportunities. I genuinely believe that connection and community can arise anywhere we put our minds to it.  

Over the last two years we have made it our mission to look at what is happening outside of the salons. What new brands are opening, do their values align with ours? Are the people working there open to connecting with us? Are there existing businesses we could reconnect with? Are there opportunities in the community we’ve become blind too? One brand we have worked successfully with is The Method, an independent lifestyle and skincare boutique.

Not only have they brought new clients to the area but we now stock their own label in the Stockbridge salon. Our clients have the same ethos and the partnership works for both of us. They direct new clients to us, and we help raise their brand awareness and encourage clients to visit them. 

Another brand we have a strong relationship with is Civerinos, an award winning street food brand. Edinburgh has a thriving food community and Civerinos is at the heart of it. We love their forward thinking approach that benefits their customers and the local community as it ties in with our values too. During lockdown, we included a discount which was attached to each home delivery order. From this activity alone, we saw an increase of 12.5% in our bookings, and 65% of those were from new customers. The owner is also someone I feel comfortable sharing business challenges with and has now become a good friend. We meet regularly to discuss the state of the community and what we can do to help. The support has been priceless over the pandemic years.

With the advice I have shared within these articles, the most essential part is that whatever it is you are building; a brand, team loyalty or community, it has to come from a genuine place. Research shows that consumers have lost faith in brands over the last few years and are seeking businesses with authenticity and purpose.

They want to make the world better, and they’ll give their trust and brand loyalty to companies that help them do it.We’ve all busy tying to survive in these challenging times but I believe that genuinely investing in your community is a win win. It brings new client opportunities and increases profits for your own brand, offers professional business support and keeps the high street alive.

Why not make it your goal in 2022 to reach out and start building relationships with your local businesses?