buylocalTHE MULTIPLIER EFFECT—no, not the latest Hollywood holiday fluff-fest replete with soulless characters, derivative plot points and vapid action, but a sensible way of reckoning the recyclic power of buying local to energize communities—yes, the classic “what goes around comes around.” As BALLE cofounder Michael Shuman writes in The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition, “The future of small business, the future of community vitality and the future of humanity depend on a fundamentally new approach to our local economies. The challenge is to find ways to nurture competitive local alternatives to Wal-Mart that can revitalize our local economies and communities.”

And with the holiday season upon us, what better time to—if you haven’t already— shop and buy local, and keep your cash, and attendant goodwill, recirculating in your community. So rev up that actions-speak-louder-than-words multiplier effect, it’s small-mart time! And I promise no descents into the vagaries of zero-sums and game theory, trade deficits, WTO WTF?!, China, India or, for that matter, droll laissez-faire Milton Friedmanesque spouts. Read More »

10greenmythsLET’S JUMP RIGHT IN—there’s no time to waste when you’re myth-busting in a tumultuous age of run-amuck uncertainty.

#1 You should never, ever, ever use the word “green” in your name, tag line, PR or marketing materials.
There is nothing wrong with using the word “green”—if you mean it. Sure, it’s particularly ubiquitous these days and already attached to a multitude of businesses, products, ideas, publications, groups, etc., but it still connotes a space and position and way of thinking that resonates with the public. Co-op America changed its name to Green America, and it’s working out just fine for them. If you attend a Green Festival, you kind of know what to expect—and attendance, and spirits, are high. Don’t make your usage bandwagonesque, tenuous, forced or misleading (let’s call this “fuzzy quasi-green”), resulting in reverse marketing that’ll bite you deservedly in the butt, whether you’re wearing green jeans or not. Read More »