The Difficulties Of Keeping Business Local

Some of you might have seen David McWilliams column in last Wednesdays Irish Independent. In it he discusses the crisis facing small towns throughout the country as they see business move away leading to closure of local businesses which in turn causes more money to transfer to cities and a slow death spiral for the town and community. Seemingly 10 businesses have closed in Dalkey alone in the last year and this week the traders there got together to try and find a way to reverse the trend.
myrewardcard.ie was originally designed to allow towns and communities to address this problem. The idea was that, in addition to individual businesses issuing Reward Card, whole towns could do so as well. These would be branded by the town and would be accepted in every business that wished to participate. Unlike other schemes the points would not be pooled but would be valid only in the business where they were earned. In this way each business can design a program that best suits their and their customers needs. The town gets branding and residents need only one card to access multiple different Reward Programs while also being able to manage these from one place online. It seemed like a win-win-win situation all round.
Unfortunately I’ve discovered that not all communities are as forward-thinking as Dalkey. I’ve approached multiple different Chambers of Commerce over the last few months. The number that did not even respond has amazed me. Of those I did meet the response was positive but there was another problem: committee-itis. The decision making process has proven to be long and drawn-out with committees and sub-committees galore.
Eventually I realised that for all the talk businesses have about economic problems the majority won’t make the effort to try anything outside their comfort zone. And we went back to the drawing board.
For the last few weeks we have been working on a new concept using the same state of the art infrastructure we developed for myrewardcard.ie. This will be launching in mid-April and will address the exact needs outlined by David in his article. It will remove the need for committees to agree on every aspect of a decision and will help local communities, businesses and residents. The last elements are being finalised now and I expect to be in a position to let you know exactly what it is at the end of April. In the meantime if you think a Reward Card for your community or town is something that you want to investigate contact us at info@myrewardcard.ie

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