I see many people trying to keep their money local these days, and I’m no different. Communities have come together to support Farmers Markets, and enjoy locally sourced produce, all across Michigan. Everyday I hear of more people who have chosen to move from major banks to smaller credit unions. And ironically, in 2010, American Express started “Small Business Saturday” as an answer to “Black Friday,” the major American, ahem, holiday, where shoppers spend hundreds of dollars at major retailers in preparation of Christmas. On Small Business Saturday shoppers respond by taking, hopefully, just as much money, and spending it locally.
I am no stranger to this local lifestyle as supporting local owned stores, gas stations, and restaurants is important to my family. Keeping our money local, in our own community, is even more important when living in a tiny town like Hillman. However, at some point we know that we are going to have cross the line into the global market. Even our local grocery store has products in it from all over the country, if not the world.
So where do we cross the line from local to outsourced? And what does this even mean, to outsource? Is this word “bad?” At home I outsource. I have my driveway plowed by a neighbor. He charges a great price, plows early mornings, and stops by to do in-between management. So did I outsource? I sure didn’t handle it myself, but I stayed local. If you dig a little deeper, as in, check with the Oxford Dictionary the basic breakdown of outsourcing is a good or service that didn’t come from an internal source. So, does that mean we can outsource and still stay local? Well, Oxford also states that outsourcing includes goods or services coming from an outside or a foreign supplier. So, maybe that’s where this new buzzword, locally sourced has come from. It’s hip in the restaurant industry, and I see it being used in clothing industry as well.
Sunrise Social is a technology business and the subject of outsourcing comes up often. Sometimes clients will ask me if I ever outsource. I usually assume that they are picturing me outsourcing to some type of 3rd World Market where the employees are reminiscent of the Roman galley slaves. Now, that may work for some, but that does not usually work for me. However, do I outsource? Sometimes, I do. When I have to. I like to think of it more as a “locally sourced outsource.” See what I did there?
So, if a Client has a website need, such as a database build, that goes beyond my skill set, I am going to have to locally outsource. I do that by starting in my very community. If I can locate a supportive service in my own Montmorency County, I will, if not, I will look in North-East Michigan. After that I will extend my search to the Upper Peninsula and the Western part of Upper Michigan.
Lucky for us, it’s a rare thing indeed to not be able to find a provider in the great state of Michigan. Just like this state is full of passionate small business owners, artists, and creators, we have just as many technology geniuses.