The pandemic hurt all of us. Small businesses, in particular, could still be experiencing financial fragility. You’ve been told before to “think local,” but this article tells you both why and how to support small businesses.
Small business has a great impact on the economy and the community. When you support a small business, you have a real impact on your neighbors too. After all, $68 of every $100 spent at a local business will stay in the community; small businesses are more likely to use other local businesses such as banks, service providers, and farms.
Additionally, “From 2000 to 2019, small businesses created 10.5 million net new jobs while large businesses created 5.6 million. This means small businesses account for 65.1% of net new jobs in the US.”
Small businesses also tend to be more accountable and donate more to the local community. At the same time, choosing to support local small businesses is good for the environment as well. Small business shops will usually have a smaller carbon footprint, and there will be less environmental impact from the local goods and service fulfillment.
There are many ways to show support for small businesses. Here are 10 of our favorites:
- Shop local
- Tip generously
- Support their online efforts
- Engage with their social
- Refer to your friends and family
- Buy gift cards
- Leave good reviews
- Search “small business near me”
- Show your appreciation
- Commit to doing at least one of these things weekly
The most obvious way to support small businesses? Shop small businesses. There are many reasons to support a small business in your community. We mentioned already that it helps invest in your neighborhood and keeps money local.
Additionally, when you support small businesses, you can:
- Discover new and interesting, often locally-made products.
- Make a personal connection with the small business store owner.
- Gain access to deeper product knowledge as the person selling the item is more likely to have made it or been the person to choose it for the store’s shelves.
- Benefit from increased experience; the local business owner has to know their product or service inside and out. Ask questions!
Many small businesses and their employees have been struggling throughout 2020. Even as things reopen after pandemic shutdowns, retailers, restaurants, and other small businesses near you are likely struggling with worker shortages. So, you can help those local employees make up for lost hours or business slowdowns by tipping generously.
Support Their Online Efforts
Another way to support your small business is to buy their merchandise online. Shop your local business’s website instead of buying books, office or school supplies, or health and beauty products from Amazon or another big box store.
If nothing else, maybe you go online to their e-commerce shop and buy an “I support small business” button or sticker for your bumper. Or you might be able to rock a baseball cap or T-shirt with that small business’s logo on the front.
Engage With Their Social
Small business owners have to be creative in terms of marketing their products or services. They don’t have the kind of advertising budget a big business does. So, they are likely trying to be authentic and original on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or other social media channels.
By liking their pages and following them, you are helping to boost their numbers. That helps their credibility. Sharing their posts, interacting with a poll question, or participating in their contests online is another way to support your local small business.
Refer to Your Friends and Family
If you like the service you get or the products you buy at a local spot, recommend it to your friends and family. When you advise them to buy from a small business, it has a lot more weight.
Known as “word-of-mouth” marketing, this is truly important for small businesses. According to Invesp, word of mouth “results in 5x more sales than a paid media impression and people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend.”
Buy Gift Cards
Small business shopping doesn’t have to mean you purchase something right now. You can also contribute to the local economy and that business’s bottom line by buying gift cards. This can help with their cash flow, which is often a challenge for small businesses.
Plus, you are making a promise that either you or the person to whom you give the gift card will visit that store or restaurant.
Need help setting up a gift card for your local small business? Fundera recommends:
- Trying your POS provider
- Finding a standalone gift card app
- Working with an online gift card program (e.g., Kabbage)
Leave Good Reviews
Reviews, like word-of-mouth advertising, make a real impression on prospective buyers. In the case of reviews, the person making a buying decision doesn’t know you, yet your opinion holds weight as it is considered more objective than advertising.
So, if you’ve had a positive experience with an employee, love the cherry-filled donut, or can’t get enough of the store’s lavender-scented bath bombs, let others know. Posting your review will help the small business’s credibility and boost their authority with search engines and local directories.
Search “Small Business Near Me”
Before you buy, try to find small business options in your neck of the woods. It’s much easier these days to do a “small business stores near me” search online and find exactly what you need. You don’t even have to worry about the ink from the yellow pages rubbing off on your thumb from flipping the pages!
Want to know “How To Lift Your Local Search Rankings?” Or read our “Sword in the Haystack: 3 Tips for Navigating Local Search.”
Show Your Appreciation
Everybody loves a little appreciation. Expressing thanks to the business owner or employee can help brighten their day. Plus, it can help connect you to your community, which is a key reason why you should support small businesses in the first place.
For a small business, it can boost sales to have customers check-in at that business, post a pic of that meal or cocktail, or shout out a job well done. If you buy from a small business and find something truly unique, let others in your network know. You’ll show the business owner your appreciation for their diverse offerings and help to encourage others to see the value of shopping small businesses.
Commit To Doing at Least One of These Things Weekly
Ideally, you’ll be inspired to shop local small businesses on the regular. But even if that isn’t in your current budget, several of these suggestions are entirely free. It just takes a little intentional effort on your part. You can do it: Browse their social media. Suggest the business to a friend. Stay connected. Share a review of that meal you ate last week. Wear that “I Support Small Business” tote bag over your shoulder with pride.
Now that you know why you should shop small businesses and how to support the small business stores and other local options around you, you can begin doing your part to help these entrepreneurs achieve success.