If you are running a business, you need to know where your competitors are at. Identifying and analyzing your competitors’ strategies helps you keep up with the trends in the market. However, it is just as essential for members to support small businesses in the community. This is especially true for the kind of economic climate we are experiencing these days. The world was struck with a pandemic about two years ago, and we are still dealing with the standard operating procedures imposed by the authorities to bring things back to normal. Many entrepreneurs are striving to stay afloat and sustain their business initiatives.
A study conducted by the Young Entrepreneur Council asked the participants about the importance of supporting small businesses. The study also inquired how to support small businesses. In this post, which has been inspired by these kinds of studies, we will discuss several practical ways to support small businesses. Towards the end, we will also mention the benefits of supporting small businesses for the community.
Here are 10 simple ways of supporting small businesses to benefit your community and economy in these tough times.
1. Let Them Know That They Are Not Alone
The first simple step that you can take to support small businesses is to reassure them that they are not the only ones struggling to sustain their business. If you are an entrepreneur yourself, you must be in an excellent position to understand the struggles, hurdles, and challenges faced by all entrepreneurs and new business owners. There is nothing more comforting for struggling business owners to hear that they are not alone. If they feel overwhelmed, let them know that it is supposed to feel that way. All successful entrepreneurs go through a struggling phase to identify their paths and formulate their strategies. When you visit their office or outlet and see that they are not well established yet, the best thing you can do is say consoling and supportive words to them. Pointing out the faults of a new business is not good ethics.
1. Start Small When Purchasing a Product or Service For the First Time
Supporting small businesses is crucial to the economy. If you are a business owner yourself and want to help other small organizations within your community, you can begin with making small purchases from them. This will give you a chance to get to know the terms and conditions of the other party and get familiar with their procedures. It will also keep the doors open for you to buy the same product or service from alternate businesses, just in case your contract with the small business does not go well. At least you would know that you put in the effort to support small businesses and struggling entrepreneurs in your community.
3. Hire Small Businesses as Your Consultants or Vendors
Another way to support small businesses is to hire them as your vendors. As long as you make your selection carefully, you can get great specialists and consultants to help you develop effective strategies for your business. Some new consultants are really experts in their field. They have years of experience successfully working as consultants for other people’s companies, but their own business has not kicked off yet. They can provide you quality service with great value and even give you discounted prices as you will be one of their first few clients. Taking this path can be mutually beneficial for both parties. You will get the consultancy your business needs while getting their first good contract and client that will help them build their service portfolio.
4. Collaborate With Each Other on Business Initiatives
It is paramount for individuals and organizations to support small businesses by collaborating on their local initiatives. There are many simple ways of doing this. If you want to support a small boutique within your vicinity, you can choose to host a drop-off point for them to load and unload their stock. If you find a local fresh juice supplier, offer them to share their booth space so that they can share the rent with you. The more you connect with the small businesses operating in your community, the more you will come across ways to support small businesses. Ideas and opportunities come to those who look for them. Some might say, ‘Why support small businesses when there is not much profit in such initiatives?’ But if you think differently, you can come up with ideas to support small businesses that can result in mutual benefits for both parties.
5. Create or Join Entrepreneur Groups
There are many opportunities for businessmen and entrepreneurs in this digital age without organizing too many in-person meetings or gatherings. You can quickly build an online community and invite everyone in your professional network to join. This can also be a fantastic way to support small businesses. When new business owners join such communities, they learn from the experiences and comments of well-established and successful entrepreneurs. They get a chance to interact with people in a similar situation as them. These communities can bring lots of benefits for all their members. Some find quality clients by participating in such communities, while others get to expand their business network for future expansion opportunities. You might even make strategic partnerships with those you click within such online communities.
One way of creating such a community is to create a Facebook group and invite your friends, colleagues, and business partners to it. If you keep promoting your group on social media, it won’t take too long before people start joining in. Make sure you keep the group active by regularly making posts, at least until the other group members start interacting actively.
Buying from small businesses is not the only way to support them. You can also support small businesses by boosting and promoting their products and services on different social media sites. Show off the brands’ products that you buy from on your social media profiles. Help them in their marketing efforts by sharing their social media posts. Do not make your posts too pushy, though, as that might make your audience or followers start thinking that you are being paid for the post. This will reduce the authenticity of the impact you can make in supporting small businesses and their brands. Supporting small businesses can be like a delicate art that needs to be practiced with care.
7. Mentor the Upcoming Businesses in Your Field
Another method to support small businesses is to approach trade associations and other entities and offer to mentor small businesses that are still new in their field. This is a way to leverage your expertise to help others. It is also a good strategy to expand your business network to grasp future opportunities faster than others. Since new and small businesses are still learning how to penetrate the market, they will not become a threat to your business growth. In fact, they might reveal innovative ways for you to solve problems in the industry. Being the first to suggest these ways and implement them effectively will establish you as an authority in your sector.
8. Refer Your New Customers to Small Businesses
You might come across new businesses with small-scale operations but big in networks and connections. If you support small businesses going through this phase, it will be highly beneficial for your business to capitalize on their connections. If you refer your new customers to the small businesses that you know of, you might get a lot of spin-off customers recommended to you from them. This can be done in many different ways, like affiliate marketing for them, sending introductory emails to your customers on behalf of a small business, or simply giving a chance to new business owners to make direct handshakes with your existing clients.
9. Offer Discounted Services to Small Businesses
You can support small businesses by offering discounted services to them. One example can be providing digital marketing services at a cheaper rate. This will help them promote and grow their brand and let them avail your services at an affordable price. As they grow their business, there is a high chance that they will continue using your service and might be able to pay a higher price for them later on. Using this strategy will definitely make you win in the long run.
In the current pandemic, this can also help these small businesses to cope with the lockdown policies that have made it difficult for many marketers to approach their customers.
10. Pass Around the Business Cards of Small Business Owners
If you are running a small business yourself, you can get in touch with other small business owners and pass around each other’s business cards to support each other’s initiatives. It always helps to have other businessmen and marketers have your back. If you are running a retail business, for instance, you can leave the business cards of other businesses by your front door.
Benefits of Supporting Small Businesses
Here are a few benefits of supporting small businesses.
It benefits the community by making more products and services available for the residents.
It helps sustain these businesses and thus keeps employment opportunities open for numerous community members.
It encourages more people to start a business.
It helps you grow your professional network productively.
When you support small businesses in their struggling times, they will support you to build sustainable income streams.
We, at Strikingly, also love to support small businesses. Our website building platform is built with the struggles of small businesses in mind. Using our features, you create a full-fledged, professional website to promote your brand without hiring any web developer. You don’t need to be a programming or coding expert to build a website on Strikingly. All you have to do is create your account with us, select a suitable website template, and insert your website content using our drag-and-drop editor interface.
We long to see more and more users grow their business and prosper in their initiatives. If you want to be part of our community, you can also take the first step of building a simple website with us. We promise it won’t take much of your time, and your website will be up and running in only a couple of hours.