by Marty Mordarski
…or maybe we do.
One of the indirect benefits of participating in a Cash Mob is that you can’t help but learn something new about your community. Not only can you become familiar with what might be a previously unknown locally owned businesses, but you also get to meet new people with whom you immediately have at least one thing in common: a shared passion for your community. That shared passion makes taking the next step (initiating a conversation with a stranger) a little easier to initiate.
Conversations with strangers can teach you a lot. You can learn about different ways in which people are supporting other local businesses. You might even learn about other local businesses that you could potentially patronize in the future.
Sure, you can educate yourself. There are lots of things you can do to learn more about the local businesses in your community. Here’s a short list…
- Google “local businesses [your community here]”;
- Find and use sites like Yelp! and others devoted to highlighting local businesses;
- Look in the Yellow Pages;
- Become a friend, fan, and follower of local businesses or “groups” on Twitter or Facebook;
- Attend local chamber of commerce meetings;
- If you’re really ambitious, walk down Main St. in your neighborhood and jot down the names of all the shops and stores you believe are locally owned.
For as practical (or impractical) as those ideas are, I’d argue that the type of “education” you can receive from meeting living, breathing people face-to-face (at a Cash Mob, for example) is still far more powerful. It’s because you learn the “why.” Why do your neighbors think it’s important to support this (or any) local business? The “why” is what drives us and it’s ultimately what connects us…and I think it’s tough to really understand just from a Google search or the number of “Likes”, “Fans”, or “Stars” next to the name of a business.
So when you Cash Mob, take advantage of one of the indirect but most important benefits of the whole activity. Meet someone new, talk about the reasons why you’re there – and connect!