Anyone who has ever met a small business owner knows how much time, effort and passion goes into running a business. Without multi-million dollar budgets or teams of marketing experts, it can be challenging to get the word out, with entrepreneurs often doing the heavy lifting themselves.
And as consumers, it can be convenient to buy things from major retailers, but it’s not exactly rewarding. Do you want your money to go towards helping the richest man in the world get richer or would you rather support a mom and pop-owned shop in your neighborhood?
Small Business Saturday, which falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is one small reminder to support small businesses however you can, but you shouldn’t limit your support to one day a year. There are a lot of ways consumers can go about lending a helping hand to their local small business. Of course, choosing where you spend your money is a great way to start, but there are other ways, too.
To help, Seek Capital interviewed small business owners to ask them how you can support small businesses on Small Business Saturday and every other day.
Here are eight ways to support small businesses:
1. Shop Small Businesses During the Holiday Rush
“Small Business Saturday is a wonderful, dedicated event for small businesses of every kind — including restaurants,” said sisters Linda Nguyen Park and Lisa Nguyen, owners of Sake Express. “Just days after Thanksgiving, we encourage individuals to patron their locally owned eateries during the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, and well beyond that as well. Skip the leftover turkey and indulge in the fresh, homemade offerings of a small business owner.”
2. Give the Gift of Small Business Products
“Some of the best gifts are from locally owned businesses. Supporting small businesses in the area boosts the economy and creates jobs,” said Robyn Flint, an insurance specialist at Expert Insurance Reviews. “Small business owners are likely to offer discounts and sales around the holidays so you can find great deals … Gifts given from small, locally owned businesses tend to be unique and even hand-crafted. Quit giving run of the mill gifts that anyone can buy at big box stores and give a gift that requires thought.”
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3. Refer a Friend
“The absolute best way to support a local small business on Small Business Saturday would be to refer your family and friends to the business,” said Dane Kolbaba, owner of Watchdog Pest Control. “As a small business owner, I’m always needing more money and capital. Giving a small business owner new customers is the absolute best way to support them. They need the customers and they need the cash.”
4. Shop Small Online
“Small Business Saturday helps small businesses shop small and local, but don’t forget that many small businesses are also accessible online, via eCommerce platforms. Even if you can’t make it out the door on Small Business Saturday — take a look at online stores. Any little bit helps,” said Tina Patterson, director of marketing at Onoxa.
5. Flag Online Errors
“One tiny, but important way that people can support small businesses is to update bad information on their Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business [pages],” said Joe Goldstein, director of SEO & operations at Contractor Calls. “So many businesses have broken links to their websites, the wrong hours, old addresses and broken phone numbers on their profiles, but they have no idea about it — or they have no idea how to fix it. That costs them real business. The good news is that it’s easy for users to suggest updates on all of those platforms. You can also contact the business directly to let them know about their bad info, in case they do know how to fix it as the owner.”
6. Share on Social
“People hoping to support small businesses that they love don’t even need to spend money on Small Business Saturday,” said Elad Burko, founder and CEO of Paperwallet. “One great way to show your appreciation for a small business is by sharing a well-loved product on social media. Snap a picture of the product being used in the real world with a caption about how it’s benefited you, helped you or even the compliments you’ve received on it in the past. Tagging the company and providing a link gives them value from the post, brings their brand to the attention of an audience they may not have reached otherwise, and gives them a well-deserved confidence boost in the process. Word of mouth is a powerful component of marketing, so if you want to show your support for a business — don’t stop at being a consumer, be an advocate.”
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7. Leave a Review
“A great way to support small business owners without spending a dime is to provide an honest review on a big network such as Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc.,” said Krystal Covington, CEO of Women of Denver and marketing consultant “Another supportive action is sharing their page and asking for likes to support them. These actions help them to get more notice on both social media and with popular search engines where customers look for their services.”
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8. Snap a Photo
“Whether you’re at our physical store or have our product in-hand, take a photo and share it on Instagram,” said Tanya Zhang, co-founder of Nimble Made. “Not only does it help spread the word on social media, but it provides user-generated content for us, the business owners, to use. Include an honest review or testimonial in the caption so we can get your feedback on our product and potentially use it as social proof on our website. Most business owners will likely repost or regram your image on their Instagram so you get exposure on your account too — it’s a win-win for both parties.”
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