So far this year, through the month of August, Acton Real Estate has held the top market share position in the Town of Acton as measured by sales volume. Of the top ten offices that have done business in Acton during that period, all are affiliated with a national brand, except Acton Real Estate. Many of those franchises have more agents, some with 3 to 5 times as many. All of these franchised offices are technically small business as defined by the Small Business Administration as having less than 500 employees, but only Acton Real Estate is a truly local small business.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, virtually all goods and services were provided locally. Certain commodities were traded from great distances, but consumers got what they needed for daily living by producing it themselves, or buying items in the nearby village or village marketplace. Interest in returning to that way of life has never waned, renewed in the 1980’s with the modern advent of the Farmers Market. The term “localism” describes a popular movement that favors local production and consumption of goods and by extension, the promotion of local tradition.
It would be naive to suggest that the evolution of small businesses into big businesses has not benefited the economy in many ways. Nor would it be wrong to suggest that there are many industries that could not exist except by being big. There are certainly economies of scale, expanded selections of goods and good old fashioned competition that all accrue to retail big businesses. While big businesses tend to pay higher salaries and offer greater benefits, the jobs they do create are often offset by direct and indirect job losses when small businesses in the community close their doors.
Characteristic of a local small business is its independence. The ability to operate and re-direct business operations in response to local needs on short notice in contrast to operating under policies and guidelines established by a corporate business model, which may be geographically distant from virtually every community it serves, has obvious advantages. Additionally, the corporate or franchise business model is often designed to serve typical consumer preferences, as in “one size fits all.”
And then there is the role that the internet is playing in the way goods and services are procured. Essentially, the internet has created the near perfect marketplace where all sellers are able to offer their goods and services to all buyers looking to purchase those goods and services. This explosion of opportunity and information is experiencing rapid growth and acceptance. Call this the Amazon.com experience where more and more consumers begin and often end their shopping on- line.
The internet is efficient and allows local small businesses a more level playing field when competing with the national brands for customers. Real estate is a good example of this. Sometimes the internet profile of a company will not necessarily focus on its size; rather it presents the consumer with information on its qualifications, experience and character allowing consumers to make better decisions on who they would be dealing with as well as what goods and services they wish to buy.
Research has shown that most buyers and sellers of real estate spend considerable time on- line gathering information. Sometimes real estate purchases are made on line, but that would be the exception. For the most part, consumers use the internet to gather information and then they will contact a Resident Expertsm to guide them along. Capturing market share is an important indicator of consumer satisfaction in the very competitive open market for real estate services. Acton Real Estate is committed to our local, independent business model.