How to Support a Small Business (for free!)

♪ Note: this article is also available as a podcast episode. (Scroll down to find the podcast or click here for this week’s episode.)

Covid-19 has been a challenge for all of us, physically, financially, emotionally, or socially. Especially for many small businesses and entrepreneurs, it’s been difficult to stay afloat.

This post is for our loved ones.

If you have a small business, feel free to share this article with your friends and family. If someone you love does, please keep reading!

If you’re reading this, I assume that (1) somebody you care about has a small business, and (2) you are a wonderful person for wanting to support them.

Today, I would like to share some (mostly free) ways to help your loved ones make it through this crazy year (even if you have no money to spare right now).

Remember, when you support a small business, you are making a real difference for a real person.

Side note: as a small business owner with a lot of entrepreneurial friends, I want to say I do practice what I preach. I am super grateful when people support my work, and I also try to support my friends as much as I can.

1. Like and comment

This is probably one of the simplest options. Social media (like Facebook and Instagram) try to show posts that will be relevant to their users: posts that are expected to get a positive response, and posts that elicit conversation and connection. By ‘hearting’ and responding to your loved one’s posts, you can help them be seen by more people.

It only takes a few seconds, but from personal experience, I can tell you it really makes a difference. Not only for the algorithm, but also emotionally for the person who is writing. (It’s really great to know I’m not just talking to myself, you know?)

While you’re at it, subscribing to their YouTube channel and liking their professional page are also really helpful!

2. Share and forward

Share their posts, forward their emails (to people who might be interested in their work), recommend their work, and tag them when somebody asks for suggestions within your loved one’s area of expertise.

Most small business owners start out within their personal network. Friends and family are usually not the best source of income. You can help them move beyond this first barrier by sharing their work with new people.

3. Use your network

If your loved one is a musician, introduce them to that awesome producer you have in your network. Connect the graphic designer with the music manager, or the baker with the local shop owner. Maybe you know two brand-new entrepreneurs who would be perfect for each other. Do you know somebody that could help your loved one move forward? Being a connector is a valuable skill, and you never know when it comes back to you.

Introducing somebody to the right person might make all the difference in the world. One day in the future, if you decide to quit your 9 to 5 and start your own business, you could have a friend who already has a platform to help you get going.

4. Leave a review

If you love their work, let them know! Leave a review on Facebook, Google, or TripAdvisor. Send them a message with positive feedback. Again, it could make a material difference, and it is guaranteed to make your loved one smile!

So… if you listened to their music, tried their baking, took their (free) class, read their blog, watched their videos, or if you were their guinea pig during the creative process, and you liked what you saw: tell them!

5. Pay it forward

This one is not free, but I wanted to include it anyway. If you have some money to spare, consider paying your loved one. Buy their work, support them on Patreon, donate to their crowdfunding, invest in their business, or (if you’re very close) you could get them something they really need to move forward (for their birthday, for the holidays, or just because).

Never underestimate your influence.

I know it can sometimes feel like one person doesn’t make much of a difference, and sometimes that’s true. (Just ask Amazon.) But for a small business owner, every individual matters (a lot!).

A ‘heart react’, a comment, a raving review, a purchase, a recommendation, a new customer: it all matters!

Thank you for reading this. You rock, and I’m sure your loved one appreciates you a lot.

(If you are one of my loved ones reading this, I just want to say you are the absolute best and I love you. Thank you for being here. It means the world to me!)



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