Only Locally Owned + Independent + Small Business.
Essentially any and all locally owned AND independent AND small businesses in your community are able to be apart of the ThrivingLocally community anybody from the cottage industry like craft makers to farmers, from restaurants to baby sitters, from bookkeepers to beekeepers, basically anything under the sun!
The definition of “independent” and the resulting guidelines used by ThrivingLocally were not created quickly or without thought and unfortunately, no one can be all things to all people. Given the wide variations in the amount of corporate input and support among the thousands of franchise and chain operations around the country, ThrivingLocally supports one very specific, very unique business model—that of the locally owned independent small business with the majority of those small business being micro-businesses.
A Locally Owned Independent Small Business is defined as businesses with very few retail outlets, usually a single store, with no headquarters or centralized management. Owner-operated and usually run from the shop (or from one of the shops where there are many).
- A small business with fewer than 50 employees
- A small business operated by a self-employed person with no paid help
- A micro-business is defined as a small business with fewer than five employees.
…BUT there are a few exemptions:
Franchising is the practice of using another firm’s successful business model. For the franchisor, the franchise is an alternative to building ‘chain stores’ to distribute goods that avoids the investments and liability of a chain. The franchisor’s success depends on the success of the franchisees. The franchisee is said to have a greater incentive than a direct employee because he or she has a direct stake in the business. Essentially, and in terms of distribution, the franchisor is a supplier who allows an operator, or a franchisee, to use the supplier’s trademark and distribute the supplier’s goods. In return, the operator pays the supplier a fee.
No Big Box/Chain Stores
Chain stores are retail outlets that share a brand and central management, and usually have standardized business methods and practices. Before considered a chain, stores must meet a litmus test; it must have more than 10 units under the same brand and have a central headquarters, otherwise it offers franchise contracts or is publicly traded. These characteristics also apply to chain restaurants and some service-oriented chain businesses. In retail, dining, and many service categories, chain businesses have come to dominate the market in many parts of the world. A franchise retail establishment is one form of chain store.
No Network or Multi Marketing (Primary) Businesses
Here is a pretty comprehensive list for reference http://www.mlmconsultant.com/mlm_company_list_directory.htm
Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople that they recruit. This recruited sales force is referred to as the participant’s “downline”, and can provide multiple levels of compensation. Other terms used for MLM include pyramid selling, network marketing and referral marketing. Most commonly, the salespeople are expected to sell products directly to consumers by means of relationship referrals and word of mouth marketing.Some people use direct selling as a synonym for MLM, although MLM is only one type of direct selling, which started centuries ago with peddling.
Companies that use MLM models for compensation have been a frequent subject of criticism and lawsuits. Criticism has focused on their similarity to illegal pyramid schemes, cult-like behaviour, price fixing of products, high initial entry costs (for marketing kit and first products), emphasis on recruitment of others over actual sales, encouraging if not requiring members to purchase and use the company’s products, exploitation of personal relationships as both sales and recruiting targets, complex and sometimes exaggerated compensation schemes, the company making major money off its training events and materials, and cult-like techniques which some groups use to enhance their members’ enthusiasm and devotion.
In contrast to MLM is single-level marketing, where the person is rewarded only for the immediate income between the exchange of a product and monetary benefit.