How to support a small business without buying anything
I’ve seen some posts like this before but they are mostly related to friends working in network marketing or MLMs. I don’t want to make anyone mad, but starting your own business from scratch is very different from being part of an MLM. Most network marketing businesses tell you to reach out to your family and friends first. In reality, this turns a lot of people off and may not be helpful to your business.
One thing that I’ve always told others starting businesses is not to expect friends and family to be clients. Many small business owners would even tell you that friends and family are some of the worst clients. 😉 This isn’t always the case, but it often is. Friends and family can make the worst clients because they expect more, for less.
That being said, it doesn’t have to be this way. If you have a friend or family member starting a new business, there are plenty of ways to show your support. There are several ways to support a small business beyond purchasing their product or services. Here are 5 ways to support a small business without being a customer.
1. Follow their social media pages and interact
If their business has social media pages (and in 2019, every business should be on social media) follow and interact. Simply liking or following isn’t enough. Social media business pages (especially Facebook) need interaction in order for Facebook to find them “relevant.”
It only takes a few minutes to like and make a quick comment. Something more meaningful than “cool” or “nice” is always good. If the content is relevant to you, why not share it too? A simple comment or share on a business page can make a big difference with the ever-changing social media algorithms.
2. Sign up for their newsletters
If their business has an online newsletter, sign up for it! Open the newsletters regularly, click on links too. Just like on social media, this helps the email provider understand that this newsletter is relevant and important.
3. Recommend to friends
Let’s just say that you have a friend who makes adorable baby rompers, but you don’t have a baby. Why not recommend them to your friends who have babies? Better yet, buy one of those adorable baby rompers and give it away as a baby shower or birthday gift. I know that this one does include a purchase, but you can always recommend the business even if you don’t purchase anything yourself.
Not only does that support your friend, but it also gets the word out about her business. You can also take some business cards to share with friends or share around town. You never know what could happen.
4. Write a review
Just to be clear, if someone starts a business that they know nothing about, that isn’t the time to leave a review. However, if you see that your friend is killing it in their business but not getting many quality reviews, it can be very helpful for you to leave one. You don’t have to lie or pretend to be a former client either. If your friend is a Travel Agent you can say:
“Mary is a wonderful travel agent. She really goes above and beyond for her clients. I can’t wait for her to plan my 10-year anniversary trip.”
See, easy-peasy and it only takes a few minutes if your time. If it’s a handmade item, you can say something like “I’ve seen this product in person and the quality is amazing.” Don’t pretend to be a client, just be a friend!
In my photography business, I have been fortunate to have many clients leave wonderful reviews. However, I’ve also had many clients who raved about their session and promised to leave reviews and never found the time. As a small business owner, it can be very hard to get reviews no matter how hard you work. Leaving a review is a great way to help any small business owner.
5. Encourage them
If you do nothing else on this list, do this. What small business owners need the most is an encouragement. When I started my photography business in 2012, I had no idea what I was doing. The first couple of years were the most difficult. I felt like I would never make any money and that I was wasting my time.
Every single small business owner feels like this from time to time. One of the best things that you can do for a friend who is a small business owner is to check in and encourage them.
There you have it, how to support a small business without buying anything. Do you have any other tips to support your friends’ and families small businesses? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
If you want to support my small businesses, I’d love for you to follow me on social media!
Amy Fillinger Photography
Teal Pineapple Travel
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