Ladies, gentleman, and investors everywhere, I would like to share with you what could be the biggest game changer for businesses since the creation of the internet.

Allow me to introduce you to the “own local” revolution.

What does own local mean? Let me explain…

The last several decades have seen Smalltown America struggling to survive. As kids and jobs leave, and big-box retailers (and Amazon) come in, surviving has become an uphill battle. Almost futile.

Fortunately, things could be changing – big time. Although I am just hypothesizing at this point, I believe that we are about to enter the own local era.

Although the “buy local” movement has been around for a while, and some towns have been great about committing to their local community, the problem is that it’s difficult. When you can purchase the same groceries from Wal-Mart for half the price, why would you want to buy food from Grandpa’s Outfitters (or whatever your local grocery may be called)?

It’s not that you don’t want to support local businesses, you just want to support your family more. If you were to buy everything locally, it would significantly reducing your family’s spending power.

What is a conscientious citizen to do?

Own local  – it will be all the rage

Thanks to new regulations by the SEC (Security Exchange Commission), any business can now legally sell stocks (under $1 million a year) to the public without being a publicly traded company.

You and I, as the general public, can invest 5-10% of our net worth into these businesses. Then, anytime the business makes money, we earn a small return ourselves.

This is HUGE for the localization movement!

What better way to show your support for the local community than to invest in your town’s businesses?

If you own $100 of equity from the grocery store, $50 from the gas station, and $500 from your daughter’s beauty parlor, where are you going to shop? Locally.

Even when “them big city stores” have slightly lower prices, your annual dividend may just about make up for the difference. That, along with the gas you save from driving, can make shopping local worth your time and money.

The other half – selling local

The first step to communities coming together through owning local will happen when businesses decide to sell local.

Selling 10%, 20%, or 50% of your business via investment crowdfunding will give your community an opportunity to show that they support your mission and want to be a part of your success.

Yes, this means giving up a portion of your revenue, but the rewards are totally worth it. Local businesses with local investors will undoubtedly benefit from:

  • Loyal customers: People will buy from businesses they own – who wouldn’t?
  • Free word-of-mouth marketing: Investors make money when their friends and neighbors buy from you – so you can bet they will be sending everyone your way.
  • Enhanced security: Although small towns are good about watching over each other to start, how much more likely will someone be to call the cops on strange behavior if they own a part of the business?

As businesses bring the community in as owners, their chances for survival will increase substantially.

Are you willing to own local?

The middle class is shrinking – and this isn’t because of some evil plan by the government. It’s because we all seek out our best interests at the expense of others.

The truth is, unbridled capitalism ruins a selfish society. When we all seek our best interests at the expense of others, a few win, but most of us lose. However, when we decide to commit to smaller wins, but wins that help others, we can build healthy and happy communities.

For the comments: I believe that the own local revolution is going to change the way America does business, and I’m already brainstorming my next crowd-invested business idea. What are your thoughts? Would you buy stock in a local company? Would you sell stock in your business to the local community?