I’m sure we all know a family member, friend, or a friend-of-a-friend who has their own business. The whole ‘shop local’ and ‘shop small’ trends are becoming more and more popular which means more and more people are taking the leap and building a business for themselves. One thing I often hear is that a lot of people don’t know how to support a small business if they can’t relate to it. One example would be baby accessories; if you don’t have babies yet yourself or perhaps all the babies in your family have grown, it might seem hard to help support this type of business but in reality it really isn’t! Even if you can’t relate to the business itself, there’s still several ways you can help support them and they might be easier than you think!
Just because the business doesn’t resonate with you, doesn’t mean that others will feel this way! If you know the business owner personally and want to support them, try asking for some business cards to keep on hand. You never know when the opportunity to hand one out might pop up! Recently, I went back to my day job as my maternity leave had ended and a good friend of mine made me a brand new (and stylish!) lanyard for my work identification cards. It just so happened that a few days after I was back a co-workers lanyard broke and she was complaining that she was going to need a new one; I overheard and enthusiastically showed her mine and wrote down my friend’s business name on a sticky note so she could look her up. Opportunities like these happen more than you realize and having the ability to say “Oh I know someone who specializes in that” is a great way to help promote small businesses!
In a world where social media presence is everywhere, just the simple task of liking, commenting, and sharing someone’s post is a huge way to show your support! Many of us makers feel like we are small fish in VERY large sea; sometimes it feels overwhelmingly impossible to grow a business but by liking, commenting, and sharing someone’s social media posts, you’re increasing their chances of being seen! You know never who is looking and word of mouth – or in this case social media – is a very powerful tool to use and it doesn’t take much time or energy to do so!
Never feel hesitate or feel weird about showing up to a vendor show just to say hi! I’ve done a few shows this past year and it always puts a smile on my face when I have friends or family members pop by just to say hi and ask how the day is going! I would rather see a familiar face and know they aren’t going to buy anything than not see anyone at all. Just because you aren’t financially helping, doesn’t mean you aren’t helping!
It takes a lot of nerve to start your own business and the fear of failure can sometimes take over. If you know someone who has a small business, it’s nice to just check in every once in a while. Ask them how it’s going or if they’re doing any upcoming shows; get them to talk about their business to you because the more you know about it, the easier it will be to tell others about them! And always remember, when you help to support a small business, you’re supporting someone’s dream! You’re allowing them to put their child in extracurricular activities or helping put food on the table. You’re letting them know that what they’re doing means something and that alone is enough to keep them going!