As a small business owner myself this one is close to my heart. I have contemplated this post for a while. Is it desperate of me to tell you how you can support me? Or is it just that I see people who want to support but aren’t sure how. Does it mean you have to shell out money to your friend? No way. You can absolutely support your friend’s small business in little ways with big meaning.
like and comment
Many small businesses rely on free marketing due to our smaller budgets. Where do we find free marketing? Social media. I know, I know. Eye roll cause you are so sick of social media turning into a scroll of advertisements BUT it’s where people are hanging out and it’s where we can share what we are passionate about. Which is more than likely our business. Sure we may share about our families as well (I certainly do), but for many of us, social media is an extension of our job. This is where we put out portfolios on display, try to spread our name and services and educate our current and future clients. So why am I telling you this? You can support your friends’ small business with two seconds of your time. Less than. Don’t just scroll past that post. Like it, comment on it. Engage with them and the post. This costs you no money and a fraction of your times. You already scrolled past it. Just give it a quick double tap. How does this help the small business? When you like and comment that post will be visible to more people. I won’t get into algorithms, cause unless you care it’s quite boring. Just know that when you engage you help your friend be more visible to more people.
spread their name/share their posts
Ever heard the word referral? Yeah it’s a huge one for small businesses. Back to that small marketing budget. Wink wink. As a family photographer, I rely heavily on my name being shared via word of mouth. By spreading the name of your friends’ small business you are advocating for them as a person, business and service. Social proof is a huge piece of the very confusing puzzle that is bringing in new clients and customers. So how can you help support the small business in this case? Talk about them, share their name in conversations when someone is looking for XYZ product or service, you can post about them (especially if you have used their product or service… boom you are an influencer), share their posts on social media, see someone on social media asking for a referral? Drop their name in the thread. Every time you share their name may not equal a new customer, but at least more people are finding out that they exist. And again, this costs you nothing.
words of encouragement,
Ok, well I’m a words of affirmation person. So maybe this one only applies to me. Again, is this desperate? I don’t care. Running a small business is a rollercoaster. We wake up in the morning jazzed about our job, motivated to do all the things, by 1pm we are questioning every life choice, considering throwing in the towel (because who would hire me anyway), and an hour later we love what we do, the freedom that we have and the fact that we get to pursue our passions and make money while we do it. Point is, small business owners could use your words of encouragement. A simple “I see you, and I love what you are doing. You are killing it. I’m so proud of you friend” goes a long way. They may work from home or not (doesn’t matter), they are busting their ass every day pushing the needle forward on their business without coworkers or bosses to give them a high five. (Hey non business owners, if you are busting your ass at work and not getting high fives maybe consider a new job…. only if you want high fives). Your words carry a lot of meaning and we appreciate your two cents. See what I did there?
treat them like the business that they are,
I’m just gonna come out and say it. In bold capital letters so you don’t miss it. THIS IS NOT A HOBBY. It’s a business. What may have started as a hobby has turned to a business. Or maybe it was always a business. I don’t care if that business is run out of a tiny apartment or has a brick and mortar store front. It’s a business. It has overhead. It costs money. We have invested in education. There are supplies and subscriptions. We pay for licenses and taxes. At the end of the day we hope to stay above the red line. Don’t say things like “wow that’s quite the hobby.” It’s a business. I even sort of hate the word side hustle cause it implies a lack of seriousness…. validity… what’s the word I’m looking for? Whatever. They are a professional. They own a business. Treat them like a business owner. I’ll get off my soapbox now.
hire them/buy from them
Last one and it’s the only one that costs you money. If you can swing it, hire them for their service or buy their product. Pay them full price, don’t expect anything for free and never ask for a discount. If they want to (or can, sometimes they can’t afford it) offer you a discount they will. But if they don’t, don’t ask for the “friends and family” rate. Cost of doing business, friends. When they do something for free or discounted, it costs them money and time. Which are both super valuable to the small business owner. Can’t hire them? That’s totally fine. I gave you a handful of other ways you can support them that will cost you nothing.
That’s it. Just a few easy ways that you can support your friend with a small business. I don’t care if they are a photographer, blogger, influencer, flourist, hair and make up artist, maker, wedding planner, MLM product slinger, they are a business owner. Encourage them, support them, and help spread their name.