Small Business Owners: Think You’ve Got Your Pulse on the Local Vibe?

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Think you know all there is to know about your city? Think you’ve got the lowdown on just what will reach the locals and bring them to your door, website, or email inbox? Well no matter how well you know your city, or how long you’ve been living and working there, your instinctual knowledge just might be in need of a tune-up.

Take Long Beach, California, for instance, where I founded Urban Farm Agency. Because I’ve lived here 6 years, it would be easy for me to assume I know everything there is to know about Long Beach but the vibe has changed, or rather evolved over the past year, seeing an emergence of small businesses that are even more fiercely committed to fostering great community including a number of new co-working spaces, late night coffee houses, and great eco-conscious restaurants. The past year has also seen a major revitalization of the East Village Arts District, now one of the go-to destinations in Long Beach. This area hosts a street fair on the second Saturday of every month so that locals and tourists alike can view the work of local artists, eat, and listen to live music and enjoy the gorgeous Art Deco architecture.

If you want to tap into the current vibe of your local city, talk to people of different ages and backgrounds, ask them questions about what they’re into, see what they’re doing on the weekends. Local realtors are often the first to know about up and coming areas as well as new restaurants, museums, and businesses. Check the local calendar for events, read the local papers, and get out of your own comfort zone by going to different areas of town, taking drives through neighborhoods you haven’t visited for a while. Let go of trying to quantize or intellectually understand everything. Instead, imbibe the vibe, enjoy yourself by partaking of what your city has to offer. Once your senses are put to work, you’ll be able to get an instinctive feel for your city’s vibe. From there, you can better connect with your clients or customers and more adequately reflect the culture.

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