I’ve been on a crusade lately. On my business blog I wrote a post asking why independent consultants don’t get respect. In essence, my point is that small businesses often get overlooked for the big name businesses and explores why it happens.

In a way it’s really easy to understand how it happens in some ways. For instance, if I need printer paper I’m more liable to drive up the street to Staples because I know the name than it is for me to immediately think or remember that there’s some local business that might sell paper, other than Wegmans (Wegmans sells everything lol).

Still, it’s depressing that local small businesses get that same sort of treatment, if you will. Just recently I not only didn’t get a contract from a local business, I didn’t even get to put in a bid for it. The company that was hired was out of Florida; of all things! There wasn’t anyone locally who could do it? Actually, I can answer that one; only me. There wasn’t anyone in the state who could do it? Come on now, this is New York!

It’s definitely a strange culture across the board. People who do work on your house are expected to be local, which totally makes sense. Yet I find that when I talk to people about social media or website optimization and the like they’ll start quoting things they’ve heard from other sources that aren’t local; what’s that about? Often it’s the same thing I’ve said, but it’s discounted because they know me; that’s a shame.

It’s the kind of thing that really makes you appreciate what guys like Chris Fowler of Syracuse First is trying to do, which is to get businesses to buy locally. It should make more people appreciate an organization like the Professional Consultant’s Association of Central New York, the only consulting organization in the nation that not only works to bring education to independent business people, but also verify the qualifications of those folks so that if you go to the site to check out a consultant, you can pretty much know that their integrity has been checked on and that you’re getting someone the group trusts. We can’t verify how good they are at what they do specifically, but we will guarantee their character; more than any other consultant’s group in the nation does. A disclaimer is that I’m no the board of that group and I write their blog and newsletter.

The reality is that the majority of businesses in central New York are small businesses of some kind. More than 95% of the businesses belonging to Centerstate CEO are businesses with 5 or fewer people working there; that number could be higher. There’s a lot of quality people around here, and they don’t all work for Syracuse University; they just cost a bit more than those folks might.

This is not a hate post against any business in central New York by the way, no matter the size. Trust me, I’m glad for McDonalds and Burger King when I want something fast. I’m not going to hate on Sunoco because they at least try to keep some of the gas prices down. I’m just saying that we’re here and we’re trying to compete and that we love central New York and don’t want to go anywhere else. We belong to organization like the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.

Go and read the interviews I have on this blog of local business people doing great things, trying to make a living in this area. Read about people like Rich Kudlick and Farah Jadran (who’s now also on PBS) and Isaac Bidwell. Read about places like Pier 57, Van Dusen Exteriors and Armory Massage. Wonderful people, wonderful businesses; heck, check my business out when you get a chance (yeah, shameless plug lol); I’m local as well.

We live in your communities and neighborhoods. We just want our chance to make a living; at least consider us, okay?

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